Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Blurb: Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a break—she’s had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days 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),
drank her first beer (someone handed it to her),
got caught by her mom (ag!),
had a panic attack (scary),
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)
and 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.
I can't help it, I simply adore E. Lockhart's YA books. As far as girly, chick-lit books about relationships go, hers are the best. And this is coming from a person who isn't into chick-lit.
Just like in The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, E. Lockhart explores the challenges of being a teenage girl. In “The Boyfriend List” we learn about Ruby Oliver through her relationships with boys (not necessarily her boyfriends), how these relationship affect her life and if they are at all healthy and constructive.
Ruby is not a perfect character – she makes mistakes, she hangs on to boys for all the wrong reasons, she doesn’t appreciate her real friends enough. In short, she does everything that other teenage girls do. But in the end, through looking back at her dating history, analyzing her own family dynamics and talking to her therapist, Ruby learns how to be more assertive, get what she wants from her relationships with boys and simply becomes a more self-aware person.
I can not praise Lockhart’s writing style enough – it is funny and clever. I like how the author deciphers relationships through Ruby's experiences. I love that the underlying message of this book is for girls not to become complacent and emotionally dependent on boys, that dating a popular guy is not the most important thing in the world. It is a sad thing to say, but I feel like many grown women need to read this novel, just to get a better understanding of their dating patterns and mistakes. Many still have no idea how to get what they want out of their relationships with men. This book is better than any relationship self-help book out there.