March 30, 2014 • Cee • Reviews

E. Lockhart - The Boyfriend List1The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
March 22, 2005
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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Fifteen-year-old Ruby has had a rough ten days. During that time she:

* lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
* lost her best friend (Kim)
* lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
* did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
* did something advanced with a boy (#15)
* had an argument with a boy (#14)
* had a panic attack
* lost a lacrosse game (she’s the goalie)
* failed a math test (she’ll make it up)
* hurt Meghan’s feelings (even though they aren’t really friends)
* became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
* had graffiti written about her in the girls’ bathroom (who knows what was in the

But don’t worry—Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.



First sentence: “Before anyone reading this thinks to call me a slut—or even just imagines I’m incredibly popular—let me point out that this list includes absolutely every single boy I have ever had the slightest little any-kind-of-anything with.”


I think it’s safe to say that I’m a huge fan of E. Lockhart, especially after reading this book. I don’t usually find contemporary YA that focus on typical high school dramas appealing, but I enjoyed The Boyfriend List more than I expected and that pleasantly surprised me. The book makes me reminisce my own high school experience. It was in no way full of the dramas that the main character, Ruby Oliver, faced, but I could identify with what she felt. I really enjoyed this book so much that I couldn’t do a conventional review. Why not a list-type one that tells you what you will probably do when you read The Boyfriend List?

1. Make a “boyfriend list.

Or at least, think of the boys (or girls) you would include in your list. Any person who you had “any-kind-of-anything with” like “boyfriends, kind-of boyfriends, almost-boyfriends, rumored boyfriends and wished-he-were boyfriends [you’d] ever have.” You really can’t read this book without making this list. You need to reminisce all the good and the bad, the funny and the embarrassing moments that occurred with that person. It’s not all pretty, but it makes you think about the kind of kid/teenager you were.

We all have anecdotes involving these type of people on our “boyfriend” list. I’ll share some!

  • There was Bill, whose friend threatened that he’d set us up in elementary school, but it never happened. I still wonder if Bill liked me?
  • There was Gabriel, who I had a massive crush on in middle school and would follow him whenever he walked to the bus stop.
  • There was Joey who was the sweetest and funniest, and was the first guy to ever ask me out, which I playfully declined because he said it jokingly so I didn’t know if he meant it.
  • There was Calvin, who I used to know in elementary school as the kid who slobbered a lot. I had French class with him in high school. He and I constantly bickered/traded witty one-liners back and forth, and were told by a mutual friend of ours to stop “flirting.” Imagine a look of horror (with a mixture of blush) on my face. 

All these memories gets me all nostalgic.

2. Lecture all of Ruby’s former friends about what it means to be a friend.

Case in point: this letter I wrote to Ruby’s former best friend, Kim.

It continues to baffle me that Ruby’s other friends took Kim’s side and refuses to listen to Ruby’s side. Why aren’t they giving her a chance to explain? How is it okay for Kim to start dating Jackson, Ruby’s ex-boyfriend, when they had only been broke up a week? How is that not betrayal on Kim’s part (especially considering Ruby isn’t over Jackson)? Just no. No, no, no, no. A friend wouldn’t go out with a friend’s ex-boyfriend in the first place without permission. They’d be respectful of their friend’s feelings. Otherwise, that person is not a friend at all. I guess good riddance for Ruby that her former best friend showed her true colors. Though, it’s sad to see friendships end because of boys.

3. Tell Ruby that Jackson is an asshole and defend her against him.

Jackson is an asshole. Why would anyone want to date someone who:

  • is constantly jumping from one girlfriend to the next?
  • is always disregarding everybody’s feelings?
  • has a girlfriend but asks his ex-girlfriend to “hang out” or go to the dance as “friends”?
  • seems pretty manipulative?

I can’t say I don’t understand why Ruby continues to like Jackson despite his behavior towards her. I’m sure all of us had pined after a boy (or girl) who did questionable things that make us reevaluate our relationships. It’s not fun when that person we like (or love) constantly belittles our feelings and leads us on. Saying that “you’re being oversensitive” or “you’re getting worked up for nothing”? No. I’m pretty sure most people have legitimately reasons to get “worked up” about something their partner did or didn’t do, especially when they haven’t showed as much interest or put a lot of effort in the relationship like we have. I felt what Ruby felt too when I was dating — all the insecurities and the questions that suddenly come to mind when the guy becomes evasive.

One of these days, Ruby will realize that Jackson was not worth her time.

4. Appreciate footnotes and/or despise them.

Appreciate footnotes:

  • It’s an excellent way of telling another part of the story that isn’t absolutely imperative to mention in the general arc of the story.
  • You get more information out of it.
  • It’s a great way to interact with the book.

Despise footnotes:

  • You have to work a little harder when reading since you have to move your eyes to the bottom of the page and then back to the place you left off.
  • It breaks the flow of the story.
  • It distracts you.
  • You sometimes forget where you are in the story.

I, personally, love them.  I love the idea of conveying more information about the story.


See, The Boyfriend List made me think a lot of my own experiences. Although certain situations irritated me, it was a realistic depiction of what could happen in any teenager’s life. In this book, you’ll find assortments of lists, memories of past “boyfriends,” footnotes, backstabbing friends, thoughts of insecurity, high school drama, and other goodies. It’s a great book that will make you reminisce about your high school days (y’know, if you aren’t in high school anymore).

Things you should do right now: Read The Boyfriend List and make one of your own (just make sure nobody finds it). 



7 Responses to “REVIEW | The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart”

  1. Cassie G says:

    I read this such a long time ago, but I loved it, and I still have my copy from high school. I feel like just because it was a “high school drama” book, a lot of people categorized it badly and thought it would just be nonsense fluff, but I loved it, and I definitely agree with you on your points!

    Glad to see you liked it! (And this new cover is sooo different from the old one!)

  2. I loved your letter to Kim!! And this review is really fun too! It makes me want to read this series all over again. Ruby is definitely one of my favorite characters ever.

    Oh yeah and I learned my lesson with “boyfriend lists” the hard way. I had a list of boys that were pretty much just guys that I had any-kind-of-anything with, and when I was a freshman in college these 2 really immature guys were in my room and they found it. And then they proceeded to tell the whole dorm how they found my “sex” list and there were 30 guys on it. I was like NO!!! There was a guy on there that I just slow danced with in 8th grade!! We never even held hands! It was NOT my favorite college moment, that’s for sure!

  3. Damn it Cee now I want to read this!

    I love the way you reviewed this, it made me want to read this even more. And footnotes? YESSS. I’m probably gonna get really pissed at some characters haha and although I don’t know if I’ll like Ruby, I still want to give this a go and just enjoy a contemporary.

    Also did Nikki make your headers for you? Or did you make them? Either way they’re TOO CUTE.

  4. This is one of my favorite books of all time! I had forgotten about the footnotes, though. I read it for the first time on my Nook, and reading the footnotes was a constant move of tapping the hyperlink to view the note, and then going back to the text. I kept accidentally going back to the wrong spot and got kind of frustrated. However, I loved the footnotes as they worked with the story — I’ll just read the print book next time!

  5. Kelly L. says:

    Eeep, I love your review Cee! I will probably do all four things you’ve mentioned, especially #2. My #1 will be empty – kind of. :P

  6. Lisa says:

    Another good book to put onto the 200 mile long wishlist that I have!….ugh! AWESOME review!


  7. Great review! Looking forward to read this book in the future!

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