My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Initial reaction: I really liked this, and found many moments where I just wanted to give Ruby Oliver a big hug. She goes through a lot of ups and downs in her relationships in the course of the work, and I definitely felt the bumps in the road along with her. That’s not to say that I thought this work was perfect. There were aspects of it that I couldn’t completely throw myself into, and I think I may need a little while to think about how to best explain those. Still, I’m all for continuing this series. I’m too invested in Ruby’s story to stop.
“The Boyfriend List” is a young adult chick-lit novel with a lot of heart, showing the journey of one young woman who endures a rough week of navigating her relationships, family life, and ultimately trying to find ways to be honest with herself as well as the people around her. I did not expect to enjoy this novel as much as I did, but it was well worth the journey. It’s a tough read in spurts, and I’ll admit it takes the reader out of the comfort zone of one of your typical cutesy reads and showcases some of the flaws that the heroine has while running her through some rough patches.
Ruby Oliver is a sweetheart, and its easy to get to know her through the course of the novel. Though when we meet her in the beginning of the novel, she’s had one of the worst weeks of her life and suffers from panic attacks, thus needing to see a shrink to deal with her respective problems. One of the requirements in her therapy sessions is to craft a “boyfriend” list. So she crafts a list of every boy she’s had a relationship with (even those whom she’s never exactly talked to, but still had an impression of some sort with). We learn a lot about Ruby’s respective relationships, and in the moments they go wrong, they go VERY wrong.
But Ruby is a resilient young lady. While things in her life seem to hit the wall many a time, and she’s both betrayed and inadvertently hurts quite a few people along the way, she finds a way to push through, both in her therapy sessions and in her life. This book presents many lessons on the art of acceptance and letting go. That’s a lesson that even adults have a hard time swallowing, so with some of the things Ruby faces in this book – I wanna hug her, not just in light of the tough times, but how she ultimately learns to rise above it.
I did have a few qualms about “The Boyfriend List” in retrospect, though. I kinda wish the ending of this book had a little more closure. I kept thinking there would be a little more resolution, but alas that point didn’t really tie off as well as I was hoping. I’ll admit I was also frustrated at how transparent the other characters were at times), but ultimately, I think for what the novel was showing in its real approach to issues in dating, relationships, friendships, and self-acceptance, it worked.
I think teens will certainly enjoy this eye-opening read, and I definitely enjoyed what it brought to the table. I found it cute, funny, eye-opening, and with a strong backbone to the themes it tackles. Certainly recommended, and I can’t wait to read more in E. Lockhart’s respective series.
Overall score: 4/5