The Treasure Map of Boys, by E. Lockhart
I read this book because my book group chose it for this month. We didn't have much time between book group meetings, because they very kindly moved up the meeting by one week so I could attend. (Otherwise I would have missed it because of my impending surgery.) What I didn't know until I read the reviews was that this was the third in a series!
I'm one of those people who really, really likes to start with the first book in a series. So after I got over my unsettled feelings I finally settled into the book. I put down The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver to read this, and it was much, much more readable than that tome. I usually love Kingsolver but it's taking me forever to slog through The Lacuna.
I don't read much young adult (YA), but from what I understand from my middle-grade writer husband, YA is often full of a lot of angst and dysfunctional relationships. Ruby Oliver, the protagonist, struggles with making and keeping friends and has a lot of stress around relationships with boys. In the book preceding this one, Ruby's boyfriend Jackson takes up with one of her friends, and she becomes what she believes is a social pariah. (It's not really as bad as she makes it out to be, though.) In this book, Jackson is back in the picture again, possibly. Reading this book made me SO GLAD I do not ever have to do high school or junior high ever again.
Ruby's parents are well-meaning hippies, and she actually does have some friends worth keeping. The stories about her teachers and baking were amusing...also her time working in the Birkenstocks store at Pike Place Market. (After reading about her adventures fitting bare feet into Birkenstocks, of all sizes, shapes, and smells, I realized that I could NEVER do that!)
But who goes to the Pike Place Market to buy supplies for a bake sale? That seemed completely unrealistic for local Seattle high schoolers! Ruby is a smart, well-meaning girl, and she really doesn't want to screw up her friendships, but somehow she has a knack for that.
After I said that I don't read much YA, I now realize that this is actually the fourth or fifth YA book I've read all year...and it was fine but it's my least favorite. The others--Wonder, Marcelo in the Real World, and Shine--focused on much more serious issues, and this was like marshmallow fluff in comparison. It was a good distraction from the current stress in my life...a cute read...but not sure I will be reading any more of the series. There's just not enough here to draw me back in.
Now I'm back into The Lacuna for awhile...but when I go into the hospital I'm planning to wade into something much lighter!