Molly's Reviews

The Boyfriend ListThe Boyfriend List
E. Lockhart
Delacorte Press, a division of Random House Children’s Books Inc

Engaging Read ... Recommended …. 4 stars

The past ten days have not been good ones for fifteen-year-old Ruby Oliver. It is no wonder Roo, Ruby Oliver, Tate Prep Sophomore, has begun to suffer anxiety attacks. She has lost her thirteenth boyfriend, Jackson, together with all of her best friends, Kim, Nora and Cricket and has dropped from being a ‘social butterfly to a social misfit.’ She drank her first beer AND got caught by her mom. She had an argument with a boy, did something suspicious with another, AND did something advanced with yet another. Not only that, Roo lost a lacrosse game, failed a math test, became a social outcast, hurt someone's feelings, in addition to had stuff written about her in the girls' bathroom. Roo’s Mom, Elaine is a health nut stage performer who tries to force her family into eating all kinds of health foods, thinks Ruby should see a psychologist to help her deal with her panic attacks. The family lives on a houseboat in Seattle where dad works from home and Roo’s brother is driving her mad. It is while seeing the psychologist that Ruby talks about her home life and the experiences she has had with all her boyfriends. And, it is because of her shrink, Dr. Z that Roo is in the midst of much of her turmoil. Dr. Z is the one who suggested Roo set down the boyfriend list : Roo wrote the name of every boy she ever liked and then she threw the list into the trash. When the list becomes public Roo begins to realize just how much she needs help to sort out the mess. She reveals, that boys were denying that they had ever gone out with her along with the fact that her best friend stole one of her boyfriends. Ruby reveals that her parents fight a lot over her, and they're way too protective of her.

Writer Lockhart's "The Boyfriend List" is a whimsical, albeit perceptive appraisal of Ruby's, teen life. Roo is a charming character. "The Boyfriend List" portrays the development of self-understanding, pain over loss of friendship, at times inconstant social life, and the progression of loss and gain of one teenaged girl. Angst filled Roo deals with her problems in much the same way real teenagers do. Teenaged readersl will to relate to one or more of Ruby's fifteen boyfriend anecdotes. The tales themselves are replete with the naiveté and ineptitude that is elemental to most teenage relationships.

First person narration along with format used in "The Boyfriend List" occasions interesting reading. Each name on Ruby’s list of fifteen boyfriends is detailed in a separate chapter. Roo’s experience with each particular boy, along with the elemental story of Ruby's relationship with her boyfriend and ensuing move from popular to school slut reputation is slowly revealed within the recounting of the various boyfriends. Ruby's is a particularly heartfelt voice sure to touch the heart of every girl who has ever had a crush or a boyfriend.

Excellent choice for upper middle grades to Young Adult reading pleasure, Therapist ‘books on hand for clients to read’ and Parental ‘trying to understand my kid’ reading shelf.

Brought back bittersweet memories not only of my own teenaged angst, but that experienced while raising teens of my own. Happy to recommend.




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© 2005 by Molly Martin