So, yes, I’m posting a recommendation for another lighthearted type of book today. It’s another young adult novel, too: The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver.
Admittedly, The Boyfriend List has been around for quite a while (it was published in 2006), but I didn’t come across it until sometime last year, and I didn’t get the chance to read it until just recently. It was also just recently that I found out how many novels are in the Ruby Oliver series; as of 2010, there are four novels, plus a short story in a multi-author anthology.
And I’ve decided, judging by The Boyfriend List, that the other three Ruby Oliver stories need to be added to my “to-read” list.
The Boyfriend List follows has a timeline that covers quite a lengthy span; everything from Ruby’s first friend-who’s-a-boy (when she was a fairly young child) to her most recent date (when she’s 15) is covered, though not necessarily in a chronological order. The reason she’s discussing so many times and boys in her life? She’s been having panic attacks, and her therapist believes discussing the boys could help Ruby discover what’s causing the attacks.
I admit, my reactions while reading this novel varied greatly. There were times when I was cringing because of what Ruby was doing, and times when I smiled along with her as things went right. I found her to be a fun, easy-to-relate-to character, even if I did sometimes shake my head at what she thought was a good idea. But most of all, I liked that Ruby allowed herself to learn from what had happened to her; by the end of the novel, she’s much more aware of the effects her actions have not only on herself, but also on the people around her.
While The Boyfriend List does have it’s fair share of drama (well, a little more than it’s fair share, if I’m being honest), it is, overall, a fun, light kind of read. It sets up the premise for the rest of the novels in the Ruby Oliver series well, and leaves Ruby in a good place in her life. Not all of her problems are resolved by the end, and Lockhart leaves her readers with a good level of mystery regarding where Ruby’s life is going to go from here on out. But Ruby seems happier for that, and I believe that suits the novel well.
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.