treasure-map-of-boysBy E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $15.99, 256 pages

The Treasure Map of Boys is the third installment of E. Lockhart and, in this reviewer’s opinion, a good place to stop this series. The protagonist is Ruby Oliver, a sixteen-year-old junior high school student who experiences panic attacks and general teen drama. She sees her shrink, Dr. Z, once a week. Only this time, Dr. Z tasks her with an assignment to create a treasure map of her relationships. So, she creates this Treasure Map of Boys, which ultimately leads to great heartache. In over-analyzing her relationships with boys, she alienates her female friends and decides who was a good friend to her, even though she wasn’t the best a friend could be to them. The story lacks character credibility and moral fiber. Ruby’s thoughts are often those of a vulnerable thirteen-year-old girl, but her actions are those of a self-centered, self-destructive twenty-three-year-old. The footnotes and lists are distracting, and the smaller storylines are often not followed through, leaving the reader hanging with too many loose ends. When it all ends, you are left swimming in thoughts of age-appropriateness, ethical harangues, and what ever happened to the recipient of the thrown carrot cake-that one with cream cheese frosting on the back of her head?

Reviewed by M Chris Johnson