point does this just become an E.Lockhart fan website? Probably at about 1:00 a.m. when I finally put down The Boyfriend List. Don't be surprised if the next book I review is by Lockhart as well. Eventually I am going to be tracking down her college essays to review, because I really love her that much!
Ruby Oliver is a sophomore whose world has suddenly collapsed. Her boyfriend broke up with her, her best friend and everyone else hates her, and she keeps having panic attacks. When her new therapist suggests that she make a list of all the boyfriends (real or in her head) that she has ever had, the story unravels and the reader learns where things went wrong for our girl Roo.
Ruby is one of the most likable heroines I've come across. She is popular enough, but is also never quite comfortable at the tony Tate Prep. Her parents are loving, but overwhelming and neurotic. Her friends can actually be very cruel to her. There are so many aspects of Ruby that are relatable, that make the reader cringe in recognition. These traits can be reassuring, as well. Ruby likes making out with boys, and would sometimes prefer to do that than to actually talk to them. She realizes that going on a date can be hanging out in your sweatpants, eating lollipops. She knows that there is a world that is bigger than her high school, even if it doesn't feel that way.
The real reason I would pass this book along to my older students (there are some healthy sex references in the novel) is that E. Lockhart's words are exactly what I would want my students to read while nursing a broken heart. When reflecting on her first boyfriend, Ruby says, "I still think about him every day. When I see him, my heart jumps up in my chest. I long for him to talk to me, and whenever he even says hello, I feel a thousand times worse than I did before. I wish he was dead. I wish he still liked me" (197). Those last two sentences pretty much sum up everything there is to say about a breakup. Wouldn't it be revolutionary if all fourteen-year-old girls knew this is what breaking up feels like? It's my new mission that they read something by E. Lockhart and learn this.