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.
Where do I even start?!
I remember the first time I read this book, I was in my senior year of high school…. Or was it my junior year? Honestly I don’t remember, but what I do remember is that I liked it a lot.
I’ve been on a bit of a reading slump and oh boy has it sucked, but this book achieved to get me out of that slump. The first thing I have to say about The Boyfriend List is that it’s freaking hilarious! I was laughing, rooting and booing at all the things. I know the title of this book sounds silly, but The Boyfriend List is much deeper than you think. Ruby’s sessions with her therapist made me realize a lot of things about myself and it made me think about my life choices. Weird right? A rather interesting outcome to a book that looks like it would be really silly. I don’t remember this happening the first time I read it, but I was a bit of an angsty teenager in high school (sad to say I was a little bit like Kim, for example: Everything had to be perfect and I followed all the rules).
Ruby’s story made me realize that my high school experience could have been much worse. I was never a leper but I was publicly targeted for being the only Christian girl at a school where most of the kids were catholic. They took every opportunity to shame me and pick on me and condemn me for being different. I connected in that way with Ruby because she too was shamed for what others students saw as different, and if she didn’t fit into their cookie cutter mold, she was someone not of worth.
As I read the Q&A at the back of the book, it made me realize why The Boyfriend List impacted me so much the second time around. Ruby is going through a process of grieving for both the relationships she once had with her now ex-best friend Kim and her now ex-boyfriend Jackson that have now ended. I’ve had friends like Kim before and it really hurts when they betray you like that. It’s the worst.
Anyways getting to angsty here (that is what high school books bring out in me lol), The Boyfriend List may be about high school drama and at times seems a little childish, but once you digest what is being cleverly communicated to you through the pages of the book, you realize that there is more truth to Ruby’s life than we would like to acknowledge. I will continue to read Ms. Ruby’s adventures, and I thank Ms. E. Lockhart for writing books that send a message we should all be listening to.