By Wong Si Jia
Title: The Treasure Map of Boys
Published by Pansing Distribution Pte Ltd
No. of Pages: 244
Available at major bookstores
The third installment of the Ruby Oliver Novels series, The Treasure Map of Boys, delves back into the school life of protagonist Ruby Oliver, following her journey from the previous volumes, The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book. This time, however, Ruby is without the stability that followed the ending of the latter. Recurring panic attacks, relationship problems and friendship issues form the bulk of her struggles.
Peppered with witty remarks and dry humour, the narrative gives readers a glimpse into Ruby’s unchanging nature. Genuinely honest, yet self-deprecating and unsure, she is someone to whom most youths can relate. Her numerous love interests are also well-represented, boasting a cast of different characters, from the good-looks-bad-personality jock to the average Joe with a heart of gold. These portrayals add a touch of realism, and some readers may find themselves resonating with the failed romantic disasters of teenagehood.
That is as far as The Treasure Map of Boys gets, however. Ruby’s boyfriend troubles seem trivial in light of more pressing issues, such as her anxiety, which makes the entire premise seem superficial. Additionally, the candid psyche of Ruby can get on one’s nerves, as she comes across as immature and obnoxious in many situations where the lack of sympathy is justified for actions that she brought upon herself.
All in all, The Treasure Map of Boys leaves much to be desired for readers who are seeking more sustenance in a story, though it’s acceptable as a casual read.