I am not sure why, but this book took me completely by surprise The reviews for this book rated it highly and I knew the narration was reported to be fantastic But I still got my socks knocked off This book hooked me from the beginning What this book is about at its core is a young girl sopho in high school navigating the social mine field of high school and trying to make sense of her female friendships and her relationships with boys The setting is perfect a private school, a scholarship student, a boat house for the main character s home, some very involved, loving but extremely quirky parents, and lots of mistakes, missteps and misunderstandings All together, it makes a book that is incredibly funny and enlightening E Lockhart really really really hits on what it is like to be a 15 year old girl Relationships with other girls are so intense at that age, love affairs in a way but they can be treacherous And relationships with the opposite sex is a complete mystery, every step brings a new learning moment This book could just be light and funny and it is definitely that But it also has serious character growth that brings readers along for the ride Through Ruby Oliver s examination of her boyfriend list, she examines what it means to be a true friend, what is the meaning of popularity, how girls get labeled slut, the true actions of betrayal, and that it feels good to have one s boobs fondled Yup, all important topics E Lockhart has a serious talent of leading Ruby and the reader down the path of enlightenment but doing it in a very fun way for the reader, for Ruby it is actually quite painful and embarrassing so that it doesn t feel like I was learning Side note, there is even a beautiful feminist discussion on the effect of labeling a female, how men do not get labeled in a similar way, and why this is E Lockhart does this brilliantly by having a teacher discuss this topic in a class presentation, so that it does not come off preachy at all I have a soft spot for this particular issue and I thought it was really well handled What was surprising for me was that I ended up identifying with both Ruby Oliver the lead in this story and her parents I hope that I am not quite as boundary ignoring, invasive and quirky as Ruby s parents were but through them I saw two people who truly loved their daughter and wanted to stay involved in her life I saw myself talking to my teenager, trying to appear hopelessly I am sure cool, try to convey love and yet respect those important boundaries Raising a teenager is such hard work This book is a tad bit mature for my 12.
5 year old but in a few years I cannot wait for her to read it and then I will ask her, How did this make you feel And she will roll her eyes and walk away But I will smile, because in a way we will have shared a moment I recommend this book for anyone who has been a teenager, who has a teenager, and who likes to laugh.
I remember being 12 years old and thinking I was pretty much awesomeness personified for reading books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights when all the other kids were reading Roald Dahl Since then I seem to be going backwards and reading all the books I should have read prior to my 16th birthday, like Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging and also this one And I love them It just goes to show how a book doesn t have to be a couple of centuries old and a household name to be awesome.
I loved Ruby Oliver and, as a former clueless adolescent myself, I also understood her She doesn t colour over the truth, in fact her voice is refreshingly honest and so so funny E Lockhart, for me, seems very good at portraying the newfound sexuality of a young girl, like with the realisation that, not only does Ruby not slap him and yell ewww when Cabbie feels her up in the cinema, she actually likes it shock, horror I think this is a great novel for teenage girls and boys too, if they so wish , it addresses the slut issue with humour and without being all up in your face feminazi It made me laugh and held underlying messages it was always going to be a winner It s probably a 5 star read if I m honest but I always like to wait until I ve readwhen it s only the first in a series Either way, thank you Tatiana for the reviews that made me read this great book.
I like this book so much for being a fun, frothy, escape about gossip and boys But I LOVE this book for transcending all of those things When I first read the title The Boyfriend List 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver, I expected that this book would contain a few swoon worthy boys and that our heroine Ruby would experience some drama fueled teenage angst trying to decide which one to date I even jokingly proclaimed myself Team Noel within minutes of the starting the book fully expecting that I would spend the next day or so regressing into teenage girl hood and gossiping about these characters Now I feel like a shallow jerk for expecting so little from E Lockhart, the brilliant woman who brought us Frankie Landau Banks So often, girls are encouraged to be nice and get along to not make waves, to make do with whatever life throws our way, to never give voice to our negative feelingsMy problem is I can think whatever I think girl power, solidarity, Gloria Steinem rah rah rah but I still feel the way I feel Which is jealous And pissy about little things Even mild discontent is often viewed as bitchy or whiny These expectations are so pervasive and ingrained that we often place them on ourselves I know I ve been guilty of it of quashing my anger, jealousy, and hurt beneath a pleasant mask, even as it all multiplies and festers inside Because that s what happens when you don t acknowledge a negative feeling, in my experience it grows exponentially until it comes out one way or another.
In Ruby s case, she starts manifesting those feelings in a very physical way panic attacks Her parents, who are both clueless and over involved, sign her up immediately for therapy The novel itself is a written account of Ruby s thoughts about a list that her therapist asks her to create of all the boys that she s ever been involved with But the boys aren t the real story it turns out that Ruby s best friends have stopped speaking to her and she s become a leper at school The story unfolds organically from one flashback to another with the list and the scenes in the present providing a really nice anchoring framework It feels fluid but logical at the same time.
I am just so impressed at how much depth this fluffy little story had to offer Ruby s struggle to acknowledge and justify her own feelings and to eventually give voice to them is a subtle one But as someone who has fought that battle, I really felt the weight of it I ve been there so afraid of my own feelings that I couldn t even acknowledge that they existed When I was in that place, it felt like voicing those things giving them a name would only make themhorrible,real.
This isn t a triumphant feel good story, but a quiet one about one girl s first small steps toward emotional honesty, with other people but mostly with herself And E Lockhart gives us so muchthan just Ruby there s Kim, who holds her feelings inside until they erupt in vicious outbursts there s Ruby s parents, who are engaged in a constant power struggle that they never discuss openly and there s even Nora at the end, who seems to want to forget that anything happened.
I ve already downloaded the next three books and I simply cannot wait to continue I know from experience that once you ve given voice to your feelings once you ve felt that relief and that realization that the world is in fact not going to end it s almost impossible to go back to holding them in I can t wait to seeof Ruby s journey in these books.
Perfect Musical PairingCyndi Lauper When You Were MineWoohoo I get to match one of my songs so soon This is one of my absolute favorites I ve got it on right now and my girls are having a dance party It was written by Prince and Cyndi Lauper covered it but kept the male female designations the same This is my song for Ruby and Kim because I know that Kim was awful and malicious, but I kind of hope they make it up by the end of the series after a few cathartic talks, of course.
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I m not sure why it is so hard for me to articulate my E Lockhart appreciation It may be because every time I think of the Ruby Oliver books I pretty much do this Weeks later these books are still bringing a smile to my face I loved the underlying themes of self discovery and self respect E Lockhart has this fantastic way of making universal experiences so poignantly personal I adored Ruby Her adventures will always have a special place in my book lovin heart.
I ve had a good run with young adult high school based books lately, so my hopes were high for this one Sadly they were dashed by girlish kissing fantasies and daisy filled daydreams Okay, it wasn t exactly like that, but near enough compared my teenage years.
This certainly has a charm that will appeal to a lot of people maybe those who aren t as jaded, sarcastic and generally inappropriate as I am See, my biggest problem was being unable to relate to any of the characters Granted it s been awhile since I was at school, but I still feel 16 17 in my head so whatever I spent my days at abandoned factories with lots of boys, covered in mud and playing truth or dare The first penis I saw was a result of that game and in fact wasn t just one penis, it was 6, all flapping about as their owners tried to win a race with their trousers round their ankles Oh, those were the days.
So you see, I wasn t like Ruby That was my point I got distracted by the willy Olympics I should probably mention the book again.
Yes, so The book I will say this was well written and had some really sweet, humorous moments A lot of people will be able to relate to Ruby, just not this pervert.
I can sum up my entire experience reading The Boyfriend List in one word cathartic If you don t already have a shrink, you ll probably realize you need to get one after reading this book or if you re broke like me, the Ruby Oliver books will do just fine The Boyfriend List isn t your usual contemporary romance I admit that halfway through the first chapter I declared myself Team Noel still shipping those two after the book was over buton that later but really this book is all Team Ruby.
Fifteen year old Ruby Oliver is having a horrible week Her boyfriend of six months broke up with her, her best friend started dating her now ex boyfriend three days later, she has become a leper or a loner, and her once perfect reputation has been completely tarnished Ruby, unable to deal with the current situation of her life, begins expressing her pain and worry in the form of panic attacks Before she knows it, she s sitting in Dr Z, her therapist s office, and being told to make a list The Boyfriend List Ruby s story is told through her multiple shrink appointments, stories of fifteen guys she s ever liked kissed dated, and flashbacks of her life before it became a disaster From the surface, The Boyfriend List seems like a fluffy and fun read which it is But its also so muchThe depth of emotions conveyed and character personalities utterly astounded me Lockhart writes from a fresh, realistic voice that is easy to relate to Ruby, despite being the main character, is far from perfect She continually makes the same mistakes with guys, she fails to see true friendship when it s in front of her eyes, and she yearns for her own Prince Charming called Tommy Hazard Yet, Ruby is like every other girl in the world Who hasn t made mistakes with guys Who hasn t been able to reach their hand out to friendship even when it s right in front of their face Who doesn t dream about The One or their Mr Right Every girl, no matter what age, will be able to inexplicably relate to Ruby and the debacles she finds herself in.
Although Ruby s story is primarily told through the list of boys she writes, it is mainly about friendship, honesty, and truth Through her appointments with Dr Z, Ruby is able to uncover the raw truth behind every one of her problems whether they be regarding her best friend Kim, who holds her emotions inside until they burst her parents, who are stuck in an ever raging power struggle or even herself, who is unable to rectify the mistakes she has made and be open with her feelings More than just a book, The Boyfriend List is like The Ultimate Girl s Guide to Life While reading about Ruby, you will find yourself feeling as if you are reading about yourself Ruby s mistakes are your mistakes Ruby s friends faults are your friend s faults Ruby s relationship with her parents is bound to be at least remotely similar to your relationship with your parents It still shocks me how Ruby s story can correlate so perfectly with that of my, or any other girls, own The Boyfriend List is a must read for every girl out there It is sarcastic, funny, and emotionally cleansing It is written in a fun and engaging manner, Ruby s voice is relate able and refreshing, and most importantly, the ending is realistic and full of promise forIf there s one thing I ve learned from this book, it s that bottling up your emotions is definitely not the solution So, with my new found sense of emotional truthfulness I tell you this read This Book NOW There s no way you can t fall in love with it Therapy how people used to work through problems before Facebook existed Nowadays people tend to talk about how much their life sucks on a social network until enough people pop in to console them Ruby has a therapist, half the world has a Facebook, and I just have Goodreads Reviewing as therapy Everything you absolutely didn t want to know about my life made available for you to read about in print This book made me feel a little bit disturbed about my own high school existence The end notes at the end of the book had the author relaying this In high school, I used to keep a list of all the boys I ever kissed There were little hearts dotting the is and everything I so can t relate to that Unless there was a book for how many times you d cut class to go drinking or hook up with a guy If that was the case, I could have filled a few books on cutting, not hook ups I didn t actually hook up quite enough times to fill volumes or anything.
It s all too possible that my now fading memories of high school are muchbadass than reality actually was but for the most part, my life in high school was muchlike Perfect Chemistry than it was Ruby Oliver s life I didn t have cutesy friends who pondered things like boob grabbing and such That said, I do applaud the author for trying to portray the thought process of girls Even though I couldn t personally relate to the majority of the book, it was a fun and cute read The scenes with Ruby s parents were funny because my parents have had some of those moments This book also makes me wonder what it would have been like if I was parenting girls instead of boys This is exactly how a conversation would go in my house between my husband and teen son In fact, I can positively say that this exact conversation has happened before I honestly don t think Ruby Oliver was ever going to have this conversation with her parents I came back to addto my review after realizing that all I did was talk about myself and not the book It s as if I was channeling a Ruby esque therapy session Something else that also popped into my head tonight is that maybe I honestly can relateto Ruby than I d originally thought If anything, I probably actlike a teenager now than I did when I was actually a teen At this stage in my life, there s less to be afraid of and if I m caught dotting some letters with hearts, who cares I really should get back into letter writingtalk about a lost art form Yes, rambling is my weapon of choice today What can I say about the book itself It s quirky The footnotes are hilarious Normally, books written in alternate formats such as letter, diary, etc are a deterrent for me I thought the use of a therapist format in this book was creative I have no clue how book 2 is going to goif it follows the same pattern or not We shall see.
Ruby is a characterI say, thirteen is too many dogs for good mental health Five is pretty much the limit More than five dogs and you forfeit your right to call yourself entirely sane All the grownups laughed when I said the bunny s name was Cox and I didn t understand why.
Why is being a fifteen year old girl so traumatic, you ask Some things that instantly come to mind crippling insecurity and faltering self esteem, arbitrary but vitally important social rules, the need to fit in and be validated, bottled up feelings always on the verge of exploding, carelessness bordering on cruelty, and finally, those alluring, mysterious, and incredibly frustrating boys Ruby Oliver is fifteen and, as the title suggests, is going through a tough time those statements are practically synonyms Within a few days she goes from a reasonably popular and happy girl to a social pariah whose boyfriend has dumped her for her best friend, whose friends have turned away from her and she alienated those who did not , and the whole school thinks she is a slut And she is getting all the blame not the boy Never the boy So now she has panic attacks and a poncho wearing shrink And she just wants things to go back to normal I just wanted the panic attacks to stop And the hollow, sore feeling in my chest to go away And to feel like I could make it through lunch period without choking back tears.
I expected a light hearted fun teen high school drama with plenty of boy crushes, silly shallowness, teen girl gossip, and all sorts of hilarious misunderstandings And, of course, some ceramic frogs But the author of also fifteen year old Frankie Landau Banks delivers quite a bitHer book has an unexpected depth that is not in any way suggested by a ridiculously adorable ceramic frog book cover She writes a story that also encompasses the dangers of emotional lying to yourself, masking your feelings, and emotional passivity It s a story of friendship and betrayal and unfairness But it s not a love story It s not a coming of age story about finding yourself, either It s a story about heartbreak because of losing things you love It is about learning to DEAL WITH plenty of nasty things life sends your way and keep yourself together, especially during the frogless days.
Ruby s story is far from the way too commonreader please insert yourself herewish fulfillment fantasy For one, Ruby has plenty of faults that are real and not cutesy or charmingly imaginary she can quite often be clueless, shallow, self absorbed, and mean My problem is I can think whatever I think girl power, solidarity, Gloria Steinem rah rah rah but I still feel the way I feel.
Which is jealous And pissy about little things.
There is no fairy tale ending no cute previously misunderstood boy swoops in to rescue her from her troubles and make everything better she does not do anything special to make everyone adore her she does not discover the true meaning of life or have a life changing epiphany she does not become a markedly better and very grown up for her age person her friends don t magically understand her point of view and welcome her back with open arms.
What Ruby does learn is that some honesty and self assertiveness goes a long way She sees how many people around her keep their true feelings bottled up including her friend Nora and her own seemingly outspoken mother Ruby is able to analyze her dating patterns and learn from them a bit She learns that at least for a time being it is possible to step outside the boundaries of the shallow self contained rich private school world She learns that sometimes fair is just not going to happen and you just need to move on She learns that even though your friends can be unfair and cruel, you still miss them and love them She misses the things she lost, and knows that the new things she came to appreciate cannot replace the losses She learns that the happy ending is not always in the works for you, and that s okay In short, she gets some not very fun lessons in adulthood Things do not get magically great for her in the end, but they do get better This book is written for teens, but it s not juvenile It does not gloss over the uncomfortable subjects we get frank and positive expressions of teenage sexuality including a footnote about oral sex and some quite long boob squeeze , we get a couple of f bombs and a scene of underage drinking without serious consequences The writing is very good Overlying all the serious messages is the clear, snarky, and hilarious voice of Ruby, quirky and generously endowed with a sense of humor There are smart references, a healthy dose of self deprecation, funny anecdotes in the footnotes, adorable love notes from Jackson, and caring, well meaning but absolutely clueless parents arguing whether Ruby has an eating disorder during her panic attack It s a refreshingly honest and funny book with a believable and relatable imperfect protagonist, with the writing that keeps you engaged in the story until the end A light read with surprising depth 4 stars And I already got my hands on the next story in the series I was hoping there d be a set of guidelines handed out in Sex Ed class, but Sex Ed when I finally got to take it was all about biology and birth control and nothing about anything that actually goes on between people Like how to tell what it means when someone forgets to call you when he said he would, or what to do when someone gropes your boob in a movie theater.
Ruby Oliver IsAnd Has A Shrink She Knows It S Unusual, But Give Her A Break She S Had A RoughDays In The PastDays Shelost Her BoyfriendOn The List , Lost Her Best Friend Kim , Lost All Her Other Friends Nora, Cricket , Did Something Suspicious With A Boy, Did Something Advanced With A Boy, Had An Argument With A Boy, 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 Lists