Select one of the keywords
The Boyfriend List    by E. Lockhart order for
Boyfriend List
by E. Lockhart
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2005 (2005)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

The cliché, when it rains it pours, is very applicable to the life of fifteen-year old Ruby 'Roo' Oliver, a sophomore at Tate Prep, currently under the care of a psychologist due to anxiety attacks. Dr. Z recommends that Ruby make a list of boyfriends, so she does just that, beginning with Adam in preschool. Over a ten-day period, Roo's losses include #13 on the list, Jackson, who started the whole debacle - she also drops 'from social butterfly to social misfit'; and loses her best friends, Kim, Nora, and Cricket.

Ruby talks about her home life and her experiences with all her boyfriends. She reveals that her best friend stole one of them, and that some boys deny they even went out with her. Mom and Dad argue a bit, but love each other. Mom (Elaine Oliver) is a health-food proponent, and a stage performer, (sometimes an advantage, sometimes a disadvantage). They live on a houseboat in Seattle, a unique setting for a gathering-place. The book's footnotes can be distracting - they seem to be a writing tool, providing Ruby's afterthoughts, and clarifying information, such as, what Roo looks like - 'no zits, boobs that already flop around ... good muscle tone from swim team and lacrosse ... cute gap between front teeth'.

Since Ruby is 'Roo', her friend Kim is called 'Kanga'. Together they begin 'The Boy Book', a 'Kang-Roo Production', which includes 'Rules for Dating in a Small School'. They invented the perfect-boyfriend-image - 'a blond-haired California surfer ... a smile that showed his slightly crooked front teeth ... carried a novel in his back pocket ... never obnoxious, tough, but on the inside he was vulnerable and kind.' Ruby has a revelation and says, 'Dr. Z thinks I have panic attacks because I don't express myself ... It happened thirteen days after Jackson broke up with me and started dating Kim.' The Spring Fling is one of many debacles Roo faces, one where she graduates from 'just being a leper to being a leper and a famous slut'. Ruby foolishly throws the crumpled list into the wastebasket, and somehow it gets copied and distributed to all of the students' cubicles.

E. Lockhart's The Boyfriend List is capricious, yet sensitive in an assessment of Ruby's life. Roo is an endearing character, once the reader makes her acquaintance, and becomes used to the author's writing style - one in which it is as though the main character is narrating everything in one breath. Lockhart depicts a teen girl's social life, a journey of self-discovery, a broken heart, and the progression of loss and gain - a fun read.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews