Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Title: The Boyfriend List
Author: E.Lockhart
Publisher: Corgi
Released: January 1st 2005
Pages: 256 (Paperback)
Buy: Amazon

15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver.

Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it's unusual, but give her a break—she's had a rough 10 days. In the past 10 days 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)
* drank her first beer (someone handed it to her)
* got caught by her mom (ag!)
* had a panic attack (scary)
* 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)
* and had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys'!?!).

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

Wow. Okay, so I have walked past this book a gazillion times in my school library, and recently I have started to come across some pretty good reviews of it - so I took it out. Now I'm just sat here wondering what took me so long. The Boyfriend List is a more mature version of Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicholson. It's witty, hilarious, and just a fun read - it's everything you want in a book and much, much more.

The story follows Ruby Oliver as she goes to therapy sessions with Doctor Z, and tells her life through The Boyfriend List - a list Doctor Z made her construct of all the guys she has ever liked, no matter whether she dated them for months or just watched them from afar. And although her life seemed outwardly perfect, problems have occurred, and now she seems to have fallen out with most of her school, including her best friends. So what's a girl to do?

I think what I firstly loved about this novel was how Lockhart tuned in to how teenage girls think. In the best possible way, you'd think a teenager wrote it - for me, reading it was almost like I had a friend sat next to me, telling this all to me herself. I just found it easy to read - the language wasn't so advanced that you had to carry around a dictionary, but it wasn't dull or boring. Lockhart found a nice equilibrium between making it a fantastic book, whilst making it accessible to a variety of teenage girls.

I thought the characterization was brilliant and believable. A lot of adult authors tend to create characters that are just a tad bit unrealistic - however, Ruby was exactly how a lot of people my age are. She wasn't knowingly beautiful, like some characters are, or one of those girls who insist they aren't gorgeous, but they obviously are. She was average - she liked some things about herself, but not others. Lockhart made her likable - yes, she did make some stupid mistakes, but I found I could relate to a lot of her situations, and found myself learning along with her. I also found that a lot of the other characters in the book reminded me of some people I know - how we all have that friend who is either this or that, or does this hobby or whatnot. Lockhart captured the essence of teenage friendships and relationships in Ruby's story.

In a way, I felt like The Boyfriend List told the story of a lot of people's teenage years - we get obsessed over guys, swoon over them in school corridors, and overthink any tiny message they send us. I found like I could relate to it so much, and I think that most girls, no matter their experiences or personality, will be able to understand at least a little about what Ruby talks about. I've said this a million times throughout this review, but Lockhart's writing is just so accessible to everyone - it is an amazing talent to have, and I really need to get my hands on the sequel! So if you've read Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, then you've got to pick up this!
Rating: 4/5

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