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The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
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The Boyfriend List (2005)

by E. Lockhart

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ruby Oliver (1)

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1,066617,857 (3.66)33
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Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Although The Boyfriend List didn't blow me away, I'm pretty sure my teenage self would've eaten this up. It's a convincing story of the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl involving girl-girl friendships, the first forays into romance and boys, and the blossoming of her sexuality -and trying to understand all of this as well as coming to understand oneself.

Ruby Oliver
A nice girl whose teenage voice and the situations she finds herself in feel authentic. She's honest but has a hard time seeing the truth of things. She's a terrible judge of character with an inability to express how she feels to the people who've wronged her so she comes off as a doormat with a bad reputation. Instead she internalizes her frustrations, turning her anger inwards resulting in several panic attacks in the 10 days of hell she experiences.

The Parental Units
Ruby's dad -Mr. Positive and the calm, rational one. Advocates forgiveness and understanding.
Ruby's mother -Mrs. Negative and the attention-seeking, loud and irrational one. Advocates expressing anger, jumping to conclusions and making judgements.

Together they're combustible, in an irritating I-hope-you-get-divorced kind of way. Arguments are the soundtrack to Ruby's home life. She has to put up with them interfering in every facet of her life, over-analysing her behaviour and each giving her conflicting advice. The reason for their unnecessarily overwrought reactions seems to be the mother's need to exaggerate with her father responding by trying to calm things down. These two alone are enough to send Ruby running to a therapist.

The Therapist
Mostly unobtrusive though her therapy-talk became annoying really fast. I hated the leading questions and nudges for Ruby to come to conclusions on her own, even knowing they were necessary, because quite frankly Ruby wasn't so good at it. I pretty much wanted to take her to one side and point out where she was going wrong. But I'm impatient like that. It's an agonisingly slow process, getting to know oneself.

The "Friends"
Paraphrasing Noel's words: Who needs enemies when you have Ruby's friends. Users and abusers, the lot of them. Respect and loyalty disappeared as soon as it was inconvenient. In a crisis you find out who your real friends are. In Ruby's case, she was surprised to find an acquaintance she previously assumed to be a whore that she used as transportation to and from school, actually saw Ruby as her one and only friend, and therefore valued her more than the rumours of Ruby's supposed wrongdoings. Outcasts she'd once thought creepy and weird turned out to be good people who came to her rescue in different ways. This opened her eyes to people, possibilities and opportunities beyond her small high school, helping her take that crucial first step away from her old clique-lifestyle.

The Asshole
Jackson is the reason for this whole mess. His selfishness, immaturity and treatment of girls, is appalling. Girls aren't tissues to be used and disposed of in preference for a fresh one. The lies this guy tells, and his cowardly behaviour, is disrespectful and so shameful it's practically criminal. He deserves a taste of his own medicine. However, he and Kim appear to be a match made in heaven. They're both as bad each other. I really hope Ruby gets over him quickly, he's too toxic to moon over.

The Guys You Want To Know
Even though Ruby's sworn off the male species for now, when she's ready there are interesting, mature, and above all, good guys for her to hang out with and get to know:
1) Noel - supportive and unafraid of non-conforming, he's the same age as Ruby and goes to the same school.

2) Gideon - older, an unlikely love interest who freely shares his wisdom with Ruby, inspiring her.

3) Angelo - considerate and polite but goes to a different school.All three show a maturity, kindness and understanding worth exploring further. Noel especially, is good friend / love interest material. He intrigues me.


Some negatives:a) What's with all the footnotes? They're extremely important to read but they disrupted the reading flow and I gradually stopped referring to them.

b) There were times I was a little bored of the angst and the chick-litty-ness of it all. It's not my genre, I admit. Friends' high-rated reviews spurred me on to read this, ones who also share my propensity to avoid chick-lit.

c) I'm not sure why the word "shattered" was used so much, and in sometimes strange contexts, at least strange to me.

d) I turned the last page thinking there would be more to it and actually thought, "Is that it?" Perhaps I just needed a better closing paragraph.
Despite these I'm a little curious what Ruby will do next in her various relationships.

2.5 stars. ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
While I was stressed out about packing for a move, I wanted an easy-breezy, humorous read. The Boyfriend List is a great beginning to the Ruby Oliver series. Ruby is an engaging narrator who slowly opens herself up the prospect of analyzing herself and her relationships (family, friends, and every boy she has ever remotely been in contact with over the course of her life.) The form of the book helped me empathize with Ruby and her situation. The footnotes were also a glorious joy, though a bit cumbersome to navigate for the Kindle version. I will definitely be checking out other books in this series to see how the characters continue to develop and evolve. ( )
  muppetish | Sep 5, 2014 |
I've had the worst cold, and I needed something fun and light to read. I found that in "The Boyfriend List" which I read in one sitting.

Ruby's story is very refreshing because it's so realistic. As an only child that tended to over analyze and then become very sensitive to the people around me, I felt that I had similar experiences in high school that Ruby experienced.

Overall, I'm so impressed with E. Lockhart's writing style. It's funny, witty, and poignant. I work with high school students and understand why high school feels like their whole world because it is. It's hard to explain that soon they will see that the world is so much bigger than their small high school. ( )
  megmo07 | Sep 27, 2013 |
15-year-old Ruby Oliver understandably starts having panic attacks when her first real boyfriend dumps her for her best friend and her other three best friends stop talking to her (in spectacular, public, and dramatic fashion, of course), all within a relatively short period of time. Her parents start taking her to a therapist, Dr. Z., who tells Ruby to make a "boyfriend list", a list of every guy who Ruby has ever had any sort (real, imagined, less-than-24-hour, or slightly longer) of relationship with at all. Told from Ruby's point of view, readers hear the blow-by-blow account of each and every boy, from the one she used to play in the splashy pool with when she was four (Adam, the mermaid) to the one who dumped her out of the blue and mere days later was discovered at a party, stark naked with her former best friend (Jackson, the actual boyfriend...not that Ruby was at the party, mind you, but an oh-so-helpful acqaintence gave her a detailed description of the event after). An entertaining look at one girl's journey to self-discovery that leaves readers wanting more--which is good, since it's the start to a series! ( )
  beckymmoe | Apr 20, 2013 |
Re-read.

I adored this book. I really enjoy Lockhart's breezy writing style, and I completely identified with Ruby, the protagonist. The characters are believable, the plotting leisurely but engrossing, and the writing matches Ruby's style exactly. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. Lockhartprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carlino, AngelaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siegfried, MandyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my dear old high school friends, who were (and still are) excellent and hilarious-and who never did anything like the bad stuff people do in this book
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Book description
Ruby Oliver is a teenage girl who is in high school. She is the only child and her parents worry about her a lot. All of her friends are rich. She lives in a boat house type of thing.

She has a lot of stress because she broke up with her boyfriend and all her friends are mad at her. All of a sudden she got a panic attack while eating dinner with her mom and dad. Her parents where arguing while she was having the panic attack and she got even more mad. Her mom got nervous because they have a friend who has panic attacks and he never comes out of his apartment. Thats when she meets her therapist Dr.Z

(third summary, Liliana) Ruby had a crush on her friends brother but nothing ever happened. She wrote Ruby loves GVD for Gideon Van Duesen on her shoe. Her friend Nora saw it and she freaked out because it was her older brother. She had promised Ruby she wouldn't tell Gideon but someone did and he asked her if he could see. She got shy and said no but then he tackled her down in the grass and saw. He didn't get bothered by it, in fact he thought it was sweet and said he rather have had her write it than any other of Nora's friend.

As Ruby talks about other boys and what happened with them she seems to remember everything about Jackson(her actual boyfriend). She remembers the first time they went on a date to a hamburger hangout place for juniors and seniors. She remembers when his ex-girlfriend called him and she happened to pick up. And she just remembers how good he made her felt and now wishes they were back together.

(3rd summary Martha)
well right now ruby is talking about Tommy hazard. he was her and her best friend Kimmy imaginary boyfriend. he was the perfect guy for both of them. but for ruby her Tommy changed through out the years while Kimmy's stayed the same. and they always compared Tommy to the real life guys or boyfriends they had. but for some reason they would never stand up to Tommy's standard. they would call them the right now not the right one. and in the book it was time for Halloween. where ruby and her class went to the boys and girls club to volunteer in a Halloween party for the kids. there she meet Finn who was Kimmy's boyfriend. through out the night ruby and Finn hit it of. also because they were wearing kinda the same outfit. she was wearing a kitty costume while Finn was wearing a "panther" which looked like a kitty to ruby. for some reason Kimmy got kinda mad or jealous. which brought it down for her to get into a fight with her boyfriend Finn. when this was happening ruby's parents were going to a Halloweens party. but her mom didn't know what to wear. but his dad did not want to wear what her mom wanted them to wear. they wanted to wear a taco. her being the filling of the taco and him being the shell.

(fourth summary Liliana) The list has moved on to Tommy Hazard. Tommy Hazard has it all. He is prince charming for ruby and her best friend kim. He like the both girls but they don't seem to care. Tommy spends every moment he can with ruby or kim or even both at times. This Tommy character is an imaginary boy that ruby and kim have made up. They made him up because they wish a special boy like Tommy would come into there life.

Tommy changes over time for Ruby. Sometimes he is a california blonde surfer. Other times he's this quiet boy that ruby talks to. For kim he's always been the same. Clean cut guy that's always there for her. He was the one kim went to when she would break up with her boyfriends.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385732074, Paperback)

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
   boys'!?!)

But don't worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:25 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A Seattle fifteen-year-old explains some of the reasons for her recent panic attacks, including breaking up with her boyfriend, losing all her girlfriends, tensions between her performance-artist mother and her father, and more.

» see all 3 descriptions

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