Book Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Posted April 4, 2014 by Kara in Uncategorized / 4 Comments

Book Review: The Boyfriend List by E. LockhartThe Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Series: Ruby Oliver #1
Published by Delacorte Press on September 26th, 2006
Genres: contemporary, young adult
Pages: 229
Format: Paperback
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E. Lockhart's spot-on dialogue and descriptions of painfully but hilariously relatable situations make this young adult novel an addictive read.
Fifteen-year-old Ruby has had a rough ten days. During that time she:
* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* had a panic attack
* lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
* failed a math test (she'll make it up)
* hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the
But don't worry--Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

I’ve been in a reading slump since the beginning of 2014.  It’s marked mostly by days-long bouts of not reading a word, and also a serious lack of attention span.  I just can’t seem to get into anything I’m reading, really, and have abandoned at least 8 books so far this year – probably more, but I stopped counting.  Ruby Oliver and all her shenanigans was the perfect remedy for this.  The Boyfriend List is hugely hilarious, sometimes painful, and exactly what I needed to bring me back to my love for reading.

Ruby Oliver is a protagonist that belongs in the ranks of Georgia Nicolson and her ilk.  She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks and is prone to long, wordy tangents that sometimes spiral out of control.  She is me when I was 15 years old – neurotic, a worrier, and painfully oblivious to the problems of those around her.  She is also adorable and charming and really, really funny.  

The things Ruby goes through, while wildly blown out of proportion by Ruby (though who can blame her? Your friends leaving you, your boyfriend being a bucket of scum, and the whole school labeling you a ‘slut’ is some actually serious shit, especially to a sophomore in high school,) is all so realistic that it’s almost hard to read sometimes.  Who hasn’t had a vicious rumor about them spread around by their classmates?  Who hasn’t had first kiss anxiety, or maybe crushed on the same person your best friend liked?  But in the background, there is also a severe feeling of not being enough.  Not being cool enough for your classmates, or rich enough for your school, or just plain enough for your parents to listen to.  

The writing itself was also wonderful.  I loved that Ruby addressed the reader on more than one occasion.  And I also really enjoyed the footnotes put in every few pages – sometimes long, off-topic tangents, other times little notes to add context.  However, I did struggle a little bit with the timeline.  Ruby covered her visits with her psychologist, things that happened far in the past, the Incident that caused the panic attacks in the first place, and of course, present day.  It was hard to follow and sometimes it pulled me out of the text, trying to figure out when everything happened.

Bottom line, though, The Boyfriend List was awesome, Ruby Oliver is awesome, and E Lockhart is a genius.  My only regret is not reading these books sooner.



4 responses to “Book Review: The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

  1. YESSSSSSSS. I am so very happy you loved this because Ruby Oliver = love. I was a bit annoyed by the footnotes until one of the guys on her list was literally a footnote in the chapter he named after him and then what they were meant to do hit me. It’s been three years since I binged on the Ruby Oliver books and it’s still a fresh memory. <3 You have the next three books in your life already, yes? You should!

    And if I remember right, you wanted to kick Jackson’s ass, yes? I will happily help you do so. I’ll hold him down.

  2. Amy

    I have been going through a rough patch with reading lately too. I didn’t read anything for almost a week, and then when I tried, I got through a few chapters and decided I wanted to go to bed. This sounds like such a great book and maybe just what I need right now. I had actually not heard of this book before. Now I NEED to have it!! Awesome review!

  3. I loved this series! I don’t know that I would ever read it again, but I devoured them when I finally got around to reading them. I’m glad you liked it, too.

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