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Literature: Ruby Oliver Quartet
The Ruby Oliver Quartet is a series of young adult novels by E. Lockhart. It follows the high school career of Ruby Oliver, a neurotic, hyperverbal girl who starts seeing a shrink after being backstabbed by her best friend. Over the course of the series, she attempts to sort out her various issues with school, friends, family, and boys, all while trying to retain her sanity.

Books in the series:

  • The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Ruby Oliver
  • The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them
  • The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, and Gideon—and Me, Ruby Oliver
  • Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver

This series provides examples of:

  • Almighty Mom: Ruby’s mother.
  • Alpha Bitch / Girl Posse: Heidi, Katarina, and Ariel make up a girl posse of alpha bitches. Kim and Cricket are eventually added.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Jackson’s younger sister Dempsey.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: During The Treasure Map of Boys, Ruby wishes that the bad feelings between her and Jackson would go away. Jackson proceeds to flirt with her at every opportunity, which messes up her truce with Kim and later causes Noel to shun her.
    • Also "Just once, I'd like to see a situation with too many guys."
  • Because I Said So: Ruby’s mother, quite frequently.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kim.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Boyfriend List ends with Ruby still ostracized but slowly working towards regaining her life and gaining friendships with Meghan, Noel, Hutch and Nora.
    • The Treasure Map of Boys ends with Ruby losing Nora’s friendship and ruining her reputation at school again; however, she and Noel finally begin a relationship.
  • Brand X: Averted for the most part. While Tate Prep itself is fictional and the author occasionally takes creative liberties with certain locations in order to serve the story, she uses real places in Seattle for the story (such as the B&O).
  • Break Up to Make Up: Ruby pines for Jackson in some way, shape, or form throughout the first three books. With the help of her friends and therapist (not to mention her increasing feelings for Noel), she eventually comes to terms with the fact that Jackson was and always will be a jerk, and when he asks her out again at the end of The Treasure Map of Boys, she shoots him down cold.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Noel and Ruby.
  • Class Trip: The latter half of The Boy Book takes place during November Week, a yearly event in which students go on various outdoor trips—like kayaking and mountain-climbing—for the week. Oddly, November Week isn’t mentioned at all in Real Live Boyfriends, despite the month of November coming and going during the book.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Noel gets this way if he thinks Ruby likes another guy.
  • Dating Do-Si-Do: Pretty much everyone at Tate, but especially Ruby.
  • Demoted to Extra / Put on a Bus: By the fourth book, a number of characters have disappeared from the series, mostly because it's primarily focused on Ruby and Noel's relationship. Kim and Cricket are hardly mentioned; Jackson has graduated and is now attending Cornell; Hutch spends the semester in Paris.
    • Angelo is non-existent after The Boy Book.
  • Disappeared Dad: Meghan’s dad died when she was young; Noel’s parents are divorced.
  • Ditzy Genius: Although Meghan is an intelligent student, she never really seems to realize that almost every girl in school hates her.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Various guys, like Finn to Kim and Angelo and Gideon to Ruby.
  • Drama Queen: Ruby's mother.
  • Dude Magnet: Ruby and Meghan. Both of them are a bit oblivious about it.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Ruby, especially in The Boyfriend List. This improves as time goes on.
  • Female Gaze
  • Footnote Fever
  • Forbidden Fruit: By the time Ruby realizes her feelings for Noel, Nora, who happens to be one of Ruby’s only friends, has already declared that she likes Noel, and Ruby is now unable to act on her feelings without risking her friendship with Nora.
  • Former Friend of Alpha Bitch: Ruby and later, Nora, to Kim and Cricket.
  • Friendless Background. Hutch, who is a 'social leper' at Tate.
  • Friends with Benefits: Ruby and Angelo hook up a few times in The Boy Book, but it trails off relatively quickly.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Ruby with Jackson and, later, Noel.
  • Heroic BSOD: While Noel is visiting his brother in New York City, his brother's boyfriend dies in an accident right in front of him. He proceeds to push Ruby away and attempt to ignore his feelings about the matter.
  • Hidden Depths: Ruby initially judges Meghan pretty harshly, but eventually sees what a kindhearted and loyal person Meghan really is, and by the second book the two have become friends.
  • Invisible Parents: Aside from Ruby’s mother and father, most of the parents in the series are either rarely mentioned or just never seen.
  • Karma Houdini: Kim gets away with destroying Ruby’s reputation, although she does end up getting dumped by Jackson in The Treasure Map of Boys.
  • Love Triangle: Ruby ends up in more than one.
    • Love Dodecahedron: Meghan/Finn/Kim/Jackson/Ruby/Noel/Nora. And that's without even mentioning things like Ariel and Noel hooking up, Jackson cheating or Ruby's various boyfriends.
  • Lust Object: Ruby has a couple of these, mostly Gideon and Angelo.
  • Mars and Venus Gender Contrast: Part of the point of the entire series.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Ruby attempts to give Nora advice about her feelings for Noel, despite having recently realized her own feelings for him.
  • Meganekko: Ruby
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Noel thinks this about Ruby twice, once in The Treasure Map of Boys with Jackson and once in Real Live Boyfriends with Gideon. It does not end well either time.
  • Not Good with People: Hutch, who is even more of a social outcast than Ruby. He does eventually befriend Ruby and Noel.
  • Oh Crap: Ruby gets a pretty big one in The Treasure Map of Boys when Ariel catches her and Noel kissing.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Downplayed with Ruby’s parents; neither of her parents ever seem to notice the true amount of crap that their daughter has to deal with, but Ruby's mother does bring up that Ruby has stopped hanging out with Kim and Cricket.
  • Precocious Crush: Ruby has a vague one on one of her teachers, but it never goes anywhere.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Ruby's parents.
  • Second Love: Noel for Ruby, Finn for Meghan.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Ruby is implied to have suffered this in regards to Jackson and Kim.
  • Sex With The Ex: Ruby with Jackson, though only as far as kissing.
  • Scholarship Student: Ruby and Finn.
  • Shipper on Deck: Nora does a little of this for Ruby and Gideon, and Meghan for Ruby and Noel.
  • Slut Shaming: Ruby is on the receiving end of this trope. Her Boyfriend List is Mistaken for Evidence of her slutty ways, and Ruby's ex friends write graffiti about it in the girls' bathroom at Tate.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ariel acts this way during The Treasure Map of Boys after she and Noel hook up.
  • Temporary Love Interest: During The Boy Book, Ruby hooks up with Angelo a few times. In Real Live Boyfriends, while she and Noel are broken up, she briefly dates Gideon. Of course neither of these last more than a few chapters.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted with Ruby and Meghan, both of whom are in therapy for the duration of the series.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: A chemistry class incident in The Treasure Map of Boys ends with Ruby in a wet white T-shirt and an orange bra very visible underneath.
  • With Friends Like These...: Kim and Cricket are horrible friends to Ruby and Nora. Ruby herself can also be a pretty bad friend, although it's not at all out of malice and more because she has a tendency to get involved in things she shouldn't out of a desire to help others. Nora in the latter half of The Treasure Map of Boys treats Ruby pretty badly.
  • Your Cheating Heart: This seems to be a chronic problem with Jackson. He cheats on Kim while she's on an exchange program in Tokyo, and it's implied that he cheated on Ruby with Kim; it's never confirmed either way, but Ruby views it as a probability.
The Rowan Gant InvestigationsLiterature of the 2000sThe Ruby Red Trilogy
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alternative title(s): Ruby Oliver Quartet
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