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The Boyfriend List

The Boyfriend List is a YA contemporary novel by E. Lockhart, and the first of the Ruby Oliver books.

Fifteen-year-old Ruby Oliver has had a traumatic last few days.

Her boyfriend, Jackson, of six months dumped her. Her best friend dropped her. The whole school, including her other friends, hate her. She had her first ever panic attack.

And all of the events are related, in ways we’re not elaborating on here.

Ruby’s whole life is shattering around her – and she doesn’t know what to do.

So what do Ruby’s parents do? Send her to therapy!

The Boyfriend List is one of those books that you don’t want to give too much more than necessary away in the premise. I’m a bit late jumping on the bandwagon with this series, but I got the opportunity to read the latest Ruby Oliver book – Real Live Boyfriends – and knew I would not dive into it until I read the first three. I’m a stickler that way. So the rest of the week will be dubbed “Ruby Oliver Week”.

I have to say The Boyfriend List exceeded my expectations. It’s different than most boy-obsessed, contemporary YA books in a few ways. One is the non-linear way in which the story is told. E. Lockhart switches time periods in a way that creates almost a puzzle – a bunch of Ruby Oliver puzzle pieces that we get to fit together to create an overall story that is surprisingly poignant, inspiring, and relatable. Another way E. Lockhart makes it different is by having Ruby's first-person narrative be peppered with footnotes, which are both enlightening to her overall personality and usually causes a good laugh.

Oh, and talk about relatable? Ruby Oliver meets that description without a doubt! She’s in a highly dramatic yet far from unrealistic situation involving backstabbing, a broken heart, crush confusion, crazy parents and misunderstandings. It’s all painful and portrayed in an honest, blunt way with a good dose of humor and wit to bring a sense of fun.

Before I was even done with The Boyfriend List I was so happy to know that there were three more books to read featuring Ruby – I absolutely loved her! Following her romantic entanglements and sudden outcast label, I was riveted, glued, and adoring every second of it. If you’re like me, you root for Ruby to realize how great she is and how crappy her boyfriend and friends have been to her. It’s a novel of self-growth.

E. Lockhart is excellent at showing the bad side of high school through a good girl’s eyes. It’s illuminating, insightful, empowering, sensitive, and touching in a raw, non-gushy way. Not to mention often hilarious.

What an amazing start to a series!

To see what I think of the second book, The Boy Book, return to the Bibliophile Support Group tomorrow!

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