Review Detail4.0 27
The variety in opinions on this book makes perfect sense, though. How you feel about The Boyfriend List will likely have a direct correlation to how you feel about the MC, Ruby Oliver. Ruby has a very distinct way of expressing herself and somewhat controversial opinions. If she annoys you, the book will be utter hell. However, if you think she's hilarious and makes good points and maybe reminds you of your high school self, you'll think she and this book are the best ever.
Though I did not personally identify with Ruby, I did think that she was funny most of the time, with occasional forays into whininess or melodrama, though these fit her personality and her situation perfectly. The Boyfriend List revolves around a series of panic attacks Ruby had, leading her parents to send her to a therapist. Her therapist asked her to draw up a list of boys for them to discuss. Thus the list was born, ultimately with some Harriet the Spy kind of consequences.
What Lockhart got just right is the teenage drama. Ruby feels so much like a teenage girl, with her own misconceptions, weird slang and inability to deal with being a social outcast. Having a boyfriend matters so much. Her own world matters so much, and she has a lot of trouble seeing past her own issues. Her parents fight all the time, but she can't really see that until therapy, and the same goes for her friends' issues too. Ruby has blinders on, and it's wonderful to watch her gain new perspective on the world in her conversations with her shrink.
The romantic drama herein depicted may seem a bit like the absurdity of Gossip Girl or Glee, where the same twelve characters keep swapping boyfriends in an endless spiral of jealousy, betrayal and infidelity. However, Tate, Ruby's school, is this tiny prep school full of rich kids (except for Ruby, who's on scholarship); there just aren't that many fish in the dating pool. I went to a very small college, and one guy dated three girls out of the twelve on my freshman hall, so that kind of stuff does happen, though there was no drama with our instance. They're stuck in a small school with lots of hormones and not many people with whom to exercise them.
The other awesome thing about Ruby Oliver is that it's not romanticizing teens or trying to depict them as innocent or sex as awful. Ruby discusses sex openly and with overt fascination. She and her friends discuss boys and all of their exploits and that's just so much how life goes down; we all share the details with our best friends.
Now, this really does not affect my opinion of the novel or mean anything to those who have not read this book, but I still need to get this off my chest: Kim and Jackson are major d-bags. Jackson especially. He's a serial boyfriend, dumping one girl and immediately lining up the next (or already having her waiting). Kim may be a big proponent of "The Rules," and, yes, Ruby broke them too, but Kim stepped out of line first. She can talk about fate or how it only just happened all she wanted, but she is lying. Ruby needs to get those two awful people out of her heart entirely and out of her life as much as is possible at Tate.
The Boyfriend List is a humorous, sassy contemporary, sure to delight those who delight in misadventure, pop culture references, and romantic drama.