The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart Review {with Audiobook Notes}

Posted March 13, 2014 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 7 Comments

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
Series: Ruby Oliver #1
Published by Ember/Delacorte
Publish Date: March 22, 2005

229 Pages
Source: Ebook – Library, Audiobook – Library
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N

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 boys’!?!)

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

My Thoughts: A while back I noticed that my library had both the digital and audiobook formats of this book available while I was browsing SO! on a whim, I downloaded both for my reading and listening pleasure. I’ve seen so much about Ruby Oliver everywhere around the internet and blogosphere – I figured it wouldn’t hurt to see what this gal had going on for myself. 

Oh my goodness gracious, Ruby Oliver. Bless your heart. 


Ruby is urged by her therapist to make a list of all of her boyfriends. Alright. Okay. Well, Ruby decides to do this on personalized stationary and probably goes a little too far with her list – meaning she puts a few more people on there than are truly necessary. In a moment of “what-was-Ruby-thinking” – she balls the list up and throws it away at school. IN THE SCHOOL TRASH CAN. Naturally, her boyfriend list with her name on it is found and the worst is presumed about Ruby: she’s the school slut. 

Great. Just great. 

And all of this happens around the same time Ruby has just lost her first boyfriend Jackson (a couple of days ago) and her best friend Kim (because Kim is now dating Jackson, who became her ex-boyfriend a couple of days ago). DRAMA. Ruby Oliver’s life is TOTAL DRAMA. 

So, to recap: Ruby is now the school slut – thanks to the list – but she can’t lean on her friends because she doesn’t have any friends anymore, nor does she have a boyfriend. She can’t really lean on her family either because they’re pretty certifiably crazy odd. 

Basically Ruby Oliver simultaneously broke my heart and made me laugh the entire time she told me her story. 


The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart was refreshingly funny to read and listen to with plenty of charm, humor, and the reality of being a teenager in high school. Ruby transported me back to my teenage days – feeling “less than” everyone else, feeling like my family was different, feeling like I didn’t have a boyfriend when all of my friends did, feeling alone when there was a friend-fight, that sort of thing. 
E. Lockhart nailed this character, I think, and while it makes me really happy because the book was so entertaining, it kind of broke my heart a little because the book was so doggone realistic to how people are often treated when presumptions are incorrectly made and when teenagers make silly mistakes. Being a teenager can be so hard

Ruby is so anxious – man could I relate to that! I still can relate to that. But I completely understand why she would be such an anxious young lady. She has an unusual family situation – living as part of an unusual family in a non-wealthy part of town and yet still attending Tate Prep, which is a pretty nice private school. Ruby is sent to a therapist, which sounds like a great idea but actually is the contributing factor to this huge social fallout – if the therapist hadn’t required or suggested this Boyfriend List, it wouldn’t have been created. Had it not been created, it wouldn’t have been haphazardly thrown away in the WRONG PLACE. Had it not been thrown away in such a public place, it wouldn’t have been found by Ruby’s peers and used against her. Ruby’s decision to throw the list (on personalized stationary, Ruby, really?) in the trash at school is just one of MANY not-great decisions Ruby makes throughout the book…but that’s one of the things that I found charming about her. She makes her mistakes, she takes a deep breath, and she keeps going. 

If you’ve read this one, you know that it contains footnotes – reading the book digitally means that they are still accessible. On my Kindle, they look like a pop-up box that appears over the text of the book whenever you touch the tiny number that indicated a footnote is present. KNOWING ME, you guys, I was audiobooking and reading simultaneously, so it took me a second to figure out why the audiobook and the book didn’t always match up – this is because in the audiobook version, the footnotes are seamlessly integrated into the narrative. They just appear as part of the story; I suppose that’s the only way or the best way to add footnotes? This was my first experience with them in Kindle + audiobook. Either way, they were great – pop culture references, additional information about secondary characters, additional information about events Ruby briefly mentions, etc. Very cool addition to make this book/series stand out (I assume the footnotes carry over into the subsequent books). 

Audiobook NotesThe audiobook format of The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart is published by Listening Library and is 5 hours, 48 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Mandy Siegfried, who is no stranger to narrating young adult audiobooks with titles on her resume belonging to such authors as Laurie Halse Anderson, Aprilynne Pike, and others. This was my first experience with her reading and she was absolutely perfect for the part of Ruby Oliver. She sounded exactly the way I imagined Ruby would sound, and I will most likely continue this series in audiobook format (with print readalong) if I am able to. 

I recommend E. Lockhart’s The Boyfriend List to fans of Young Adult Contemporary Fiction with plenty of humor and a quirky female lead. I’ve seen this series compared to the this series but I don’t want to make that comparison at all. I agree that both have quirky and funny female leads but both seem different enough that I can enjoy them both without feeling like I am reading the same thing twice. 

**Sidenote: I like the cover I have pictured above WAY better than the cover with the frog on it. The white covers with the little figurines are kind of odd and creepy to me, although I can’t really describe why. 


The Boyfriend List will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Contemporary
Romance: No clue how to categorize this!
Quirky, Funny Female Lead

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
is currently available for purchase.


I KNOW some of you have read this. 
What did you think? 

If you haven’t read it, is it on your to-read list? 
Such a fun, quick read. 



About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


7 responses to “The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart Review {with Audiobook Notes}

  1. I've read and enjoyed E. Lockhart but I haven't read this one and it sounds like I'm missing out! I do so adore a quirky character, especially when there's plenty of humor. I'm in. Yep.

  2. This made me think of an episode of Sex and the City where Miranda got an STD and she had to make a list of all the men she's slept with. It ended up covering a couple sheets of a legal-size pad. I don't think she lost it, though!

    I hadn't heard of this book before, but it sounds cute Actually, I haven't read ANYTHING but Lockhart yet, but I plan to get to We Were Liars soon.

    I've never thought of audiobooking and e-reading simultaneously, but now I want to try it out. I have several books with both the Kindle and Audible versions – I love how Audible sometimes give great discounts when you already own the Kindle version – and I'm going to give this a shot.

    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

  3. I just did not love this one when I first read it, and I think I need to give it another chance. It's been a looong time and maybe it was just the wrong time? I'm very impressed with your reading and audio book listening skills!

  4. ha I was going to say that it seems as though the Ruby Oliver series and Jessica Darling series are two of the more acclaimed YA contemporary series. I see that you don't want to go there, though. I'm sure this series does deserve to be mentioned without reference to any other series, so I can respect that.
    Anyway, I've been meaning to read some E. Lockhart for forever now. I've heard such good things about her works. Maybe I'll start with this one? It definitely sounds relatable, and like a lot of fun, too!

  5. This book just sounds so cute! Of course I'd be rolling my eyes at her writing her list on personal stationery and throwing it away in the school trash can, but I think the rest of the story sounds great! I love footnotes, but I can see how it would be confusing when reading and also listening to an audiobook! I really need to give more audiobooks a try. I've only listened to one, and I want to start exercising more, and audiobooks would be a great way to read while I exercise! Great review, Asheley! I'm definitely going to have to pick this one up!

  6. This book is about how a high school girl named Ruby lost her boyfriend, friends, and self esteem, and how she recovered. As I got to know Ruby, I found her endearing and adorable and had to read quickly to make sure she'd be okay. This book has fun, quirky footnotes; hilarious characters such as Ruby's constantly bickering parents and her rebellious, loner guy friend; and well-drawn creeps who are some of Ruby's ex-boyfriends and former friends. The Boyfriend List is fun, entertaining, and a little different too.
    website for Halibut Fishing Alaska Guides, The Best

Have a thought? Speak your mind!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.