The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

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Published in 2006 by Penguin Random House

Genre: YA fiction, YA contemporary, YA social issues, YA romance

Themes: friendship, love, relationships, romance, mental health, anxiety, panic attacks, self-discovery, family

How am I sorry? Let me count the ways… 6. Like a neurotic teenage girl, traumatized by recent social debacles, who doesn’t know a friend when he looks her in the eye, and gives her a ride home, and offers to ruin his reputation for her.

My synopsis: Ruby Oliver isn’t a popular girl – she’s not unpopular either – but by the end of this book, she might just be a little bit notorious, and it all started with The Boyfriend List (well, not exactly – it starts out sooner than that). On her way to recovering from recent social debacles and resulting panic attacks, Ruby chronicles her life in a sort-of diary filled with crazy confessions, self-doubts, witty retorts, and an imaginative sense of humor.

E. Lockhart is one of my favorite contemporary authors (along with John Green and Jeff Zentner) – the voice she gives her characters is just so unreliable but yet strangely and uniquely lovable. The Boyfriend List is only the third book I’ve read written by her (I loved We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud) but since I read those two, she has been on my author radar.

Just like her previous works, I absolutely adored The Boyfriend List – it’s genuinely funny and absorbing! Even though it’s targeted towards younger audiences, I found Ruby’s dilemmas still completely understandable and relevant. Like Ruby, sometimes I find myself just a little bit too judgmental, pretentious, and oversensitive – but that’s okay, we all have our moments. At the end of the day, we all just want people to care for us and somehow feel that we matter.

The Boyfriend List can be a little deceptive; sure, it’s a list of boys, and the book does go through the entire list in chronological order, but that wasn’t the main thing. I think that it was more about Ruby’s journey to more clearly defining herself, finding true friendships, and growing out of her little world (we all can be so stuck in our own little bubbles sometimes, don’t you think?).

And I have to admit, I found Ruby’s observations about boys hilariously accurate.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed The Boyfriend List, and am anxious to read the other books in the Ruby Oliver series.

Have you read a book by E. Lockhart, what did you think? What/who are some of your favorite contemporary reads/authors?

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