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The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver Quartet Series #1)

The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver Quartet Series #1)

4.2 174
by E. Lockhart

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From E. Lockhart, author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestseller We Were Liars, which John Green called "utterly unforgettable," comes The Boyfriend List, the first book in the uproarious and heartwarming Ruby Oliver novels.

Ruby Oliver is 15 and has a shrink. She knows it’s unusual, but give her a


From E. Lockhart, author of the highly acclaimed, New York Times bestseller We Were Liars, which John Green called "utterly unforgettable," comes The Boyfriend List, the first book in the uproarious and heartwarming Ruby Oliver novels.

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the boyfriend list:

• “Spot-on dialogue and details make this a painfully recognizable and addictive read.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
“Lockhart shines at depicting the all-encompassing microcosm of school social life.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lockhart has created a fun character in the spirit of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones….The snappy dialogue makes this story a winner.”—School Library Journal
“An ingenious way to look at one teenager’s life….The book is spectacular, with a well-constructed story and deep, emotional significance.”—The Romantic Times
“Breezy and genuine, with a tender understanding of who really walks the halls in America’s high schools. The Boyfriend List made me laugh and, yeah, I was kind of attracted to Kim.”—Ned Vizzini, author of It’s Kind of a Funny Story
The Boyfriend List is a wonderful comic exploration of the maddening (but hilarious) world of mothers and fathers, the gut-wrenching politics (and excitement) of multiple crushes, and the complications (and kinship) of friendship. Ruby Oliver is a winning girl (even if she doesn’t realize it) we’d all befriend in a heartbeat (as long as she doesn’t have her eyes on our guy).”—Jill A. Davis, author of Girls’ Poker Night
“Ruby Oliver’s list of boyfriends is a wonderful and tragic document of our times. I felt kind of bad for some of the guys on the list, but at the same time, while I read, I kept wishing I was on it.”—J. Minter, author of the Insiders series

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly
In hopes of discovering what is causing her panic attacks, Ruby makes a list of every boy with whom she has ever been involved. "Spot-on dialogue and details make this a painfully recognizable and addictive read," said PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In this sequel to The Boyfriend List, Lockhart continues to expertly capture the sentiments and voice of a teenage girl. Main character Ruby Oliver narrates the sweet story of her junior year of high school, covering all the major topics in the process. She deals with avoiding ex-boyfriends, making new friends, fighting with old friends, and coping with parents. Between all this, Ruby makes time to visit her psychologist, which provides the reader with a bit of catch-up and another view on her life. Wholesome and generally cheerful, Ruby is easy to relate to, making her an ideal heroine. She's self-analytical, which works to her advantage, and her conflicts are universal and important without being earth shattering, making this novel a pleasurable read. KLIATT Codes: J--Recommended for junior high school students. 2006, Random House, Delacorte, 208p., $15.95 and $17.99. Ages 12 to 15.
—Joanna Solomon
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Ruby, first introduced in The Boyfriend List (Delacorte, 2005), continues to narrate the events in her life at Tate Prep. Interspersed throughout the story are excerpts from The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them, a journal written by the teen and her friends in years past. Ruby is now in her junior year and discovering that there is life after a boyfriend breakup and the loss of previous friends for not following "The Rules for Dating." She discovers that she can make new friends, reconnect with some of her old ones, and simply accept that some people are lost forever. She continues therapy with Dr. Z. and gains control over her panic attacks. The story is both humorous and witty, and the language is realistically raw. Sections such as "The Care and Ownership of Boobs" are particularly funny. Teens will relate to the situations that Ruby finds herself in and learn from her skills about how to cope with the "minefield" of crises that today's teens face.-Sheilah Kosco, Bastrop Public Library, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After being dumped by her boyfriend, rejected by her girlfriends and humiliated by her classmates, Ruby Oliver, a 15-year-old moderately popular girl turned pariah, reassesses her history and her actions. Ruby's tool for this task is her newly made compilation of "all the boyfriends, kind-of boyfriends, almost-boyfriends, rumored boyfriends and wished-he-were boyfriends" in her life. It's a clever gimmick and author Lockhart uses it as a prism through which Ruby, with help from her therapist, can view her life and herself. Slowly, Ruby and the reader begin to understand that she's not the total victim she appeared to be initially, and while she hardly deserved the cruelty that's been heaped upon her, she had a distinct hand in her fate. The issues Ruby deals with are serious, but the first-person narrative is amusing and the overall tone is light. Although the gimmick gets tedious and repetitious in spots, Lockhart shines at depicting the all-encompassing microcosm of school social life, and wisely eschews an unrealistically happy ending, instead offering hope and honest growth. (Fiction. 12-14)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Ruby Oliver Quartet Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.19(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

1. Adam (but he doesn't count.)

Adam was this boy that I used to stare at in preschool. His hair was too long, that's why. It stuck out behind his ears and trailed down his neck, whereas all the other five-year-old boys had bowl haircuts. I didn't have too much hair myself--it didn't grow fast and my mom was always trimming it with her nail scissors--so I was a little obsessed with hair.

Adam's last name was Cox, and after I had been eyeing him for a couple of months, I named this stuffed bunny I had after him. All the grown-ups laughed when I said the bunny's name was Cox, and I didn't understand why.

Pretty soon, Adam and I were playing together. Our parents took us to the zoo, and we'd spend time after school in the nearby playground, drawing with chalk and walking up the slide. I remember we went swimming a few times at the YMCA, and hung out in a plastic wading pool in his backyard. His cat had kittens, and I got to help name them because I came over the same morning they were born.

And that was it.

We were only five years old.

When I was old enough for kindergarten, I started at Tate Prep and he went somewhere else.

Doctor Z looked down at the Boyfriend List. She didn't seem too impressed with my Adam Cox story. Or maybe it was the list itself she didn't think much of--though it had taken me a lot of work to do. I started the night after our first appointment, in bed in my pajamas, writing on this thick, cream-colored stationery my grandma Suzette got me. It says Ruby Denise Oliver on the top in this great curlicue font--but I never use it, since anyone I'd want to write to has e-mail.

My first draft, I only wrote down Jackson and Cabbie. Then I added Gideon at the beginning, with a question mark next to his name. Then Michael, the guy who was my first kiss--putting him in between Gideon and Jackson.

Then I turned off my light and tried to go to sleep.

No luck.

Well, I wasn't sleeping well lately anyway--but I lay there with this feeling that the list wasn't finished. I remembered that I'd told Doctor Z about Angelo already, so I turned the light back on and squeezed him in between Jackson and Cabbie.

Oh, and I had mentioned Noel to Doctor Z, too--though we were only friends. I stuck him in right after Jackson, just to have somewhere to put him. Then I rewrote the list in nice handwriting and managed to get myself to sleep--but in the middle of the night I woke up and wrote down two more boys and my History & Politics teacher.

Then I crossed them all out.

At breakfast the next morning, I jumped up from my cereal bowl and put one of them back on.

At school, the hallway by the mail cubbies suddenly seemed like an obstacle course of old crushes and rejections. Shiv Neel. Finn Murphy. Hutch (ag). All three in my face before I even got to my first class. I pulled out the list and wrote them down.

All day long, I thought about boys. (Well, even more than usual.) And the more I thought, the more I remembered.

Adam, the mermaid.

Sky, the jerk.

Ben, the golden boy.

Tommy, who surfed.

Chase, who gave me the necklace.

Billy, who squeezed my boob.

Never in a million years would I have expected the list to be anywhere near so long. But by the end of the day, there were fifteen names on there, and the list was all scribbly-looking, with arrows zooming around to show what order the boys should really go in.

It was a mess, so during geometry I recopied it on the stationery in my best writing and threw the old one away.2 Then I tucked it into a matching envelope to give to Doctor Z.

"Why did you stop playing with Adam?" Doctor Z wanted to know.

"I told you, I started a different school."

"Is there something more?" she said, looking at me over those red-rimmed glasses.


I had liked making the list, it was kind of fun. But ag. What was the point of talking about something from ten years ago that wasn't even important? Zoo trips with Adam Cox and his mom weren't exactly significant to my mental development.

Not that there was anything else I wanted to talk about.

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.

And Jackson. I wanted Jackson back.

And my friends.

"Did you ever see him again?"

"Who?" I had forgotten what we were talking about.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

E. Lockhart is the author of the highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller We Were Liars and the Ruby Oliver quartet (The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, The Treasure Map of Boys, and Real Live Boyfriends), as well as Fly on the Wall, Dramarama, and How to Be Bad (the last with Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle). Her novel The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award, and winner of a Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver Quartet Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 175 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
The additional title of THE BOYFRIEND LIST is (15 guys, 11 shrink appointments, 4 ceramic frogs and me, Ruby Oliver). It's very enlightening, entertaining, and oh-so-paramount to the book. This is the life and times of nearly sixteen-year old Ruby Oliver, former girlfriend of Jackson, former best friend of Kim, former semi-popular Sophomore high-school girl. Now just a girl with panic attacks, a Xerox-copied "Boyfriend List" circulating through school, and a shrink named Doctor Z.

Ruby's life used to be pretty normal, until her boyfriend broke up with her to date her best friend. Then the panic attacks started--shortness of breath, a tightening sensation in the chest, dizziness and nausea--that had her parents shipping her off to a psychiatrist to work out her "issues." Those issues would mainly be, in chronological order:

1) Adam
2) Finn
3) Hutch
4) Gideon
5) Ben
6) Tommy
7) Chase
8) Sky
9) Michael
10) Angelo
11) Shiv
12) Billy
13) Jackson
14) Noel
15) Cabbie

It might sound, in retrospect, like a lot of guys in a short period of time. But Ruby's made a list of every boy who has ever meant something to her, and these are the fifteen guys that make up the list. In THE BOYFRIEND LIST, we learn about all the guys in Ruby's life, from Adam to Cabbie and everyone in between--and the result is a laugh-out-loud coming-of-age story that is well worth reading.
dholland08 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved, loved, loved, The Boyfriend List! It had me laughing out loud and I couldn't put it down. The main character, Ruby, has been having a tough week. Her boyfriend of six months dumped her, she has been labeled a slut by her entire school, and lost all of her friends. So after having five panic attacks, Ruby ends up at a shrink's office. The shrink, Dr. Z, has her write a list of all the boys she's ever dated or had a crush on or kissed. By making this list and reliving her past experiences with boys, Ruby starts adressing some of the issues in her life and finding herself. The story is told in a series of shrink appointments with Dr. Z, flashbacks to her experiences with the boys on her list, and the events leading up to her panic attacks. E. Lockhart tells this very interesting story with humor, wit, and sympathy. She is an author comparable with Meg Cabot, but she has a writing style all her own. Details about Ruby's life make this story come alive: that's she's a vegetarian, that she lives in a cramped houseboat with her gardener father and theatrical mother, that she wears glasses. By the end of the story Ruby feels like your best friend. I know I was rooting for her the whole time, feeling for Ruby during all her misadventures but also laughing because of them. The Boyfriend List is a great book and a pleasure to read; it's a very accurate depiction of high school life.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
The whole mess started with Finn. But it started a while ago. Before Finn was all cute and tall and athletic. Well, technically it might have had more to do with Kim. But Finn is definitely involved. So is Jackson. And his four ceramic frogs. Tommy Hazard, as usual, is blameless. Angelo and Noel aren't really involved. But they might have helped make everything worse. When it's all said and done Nora, Cricket and Meghan are all not speaking to her. Kim isn't either but that isn't really a surprise. And that's almost all before fifteen-year-old Ruby Oliver starts having panic attacks that lead to her eleven shrink appointments. The first step in stopping the panic attacks is probably understanding what happened. Which requires looking at how things started (with Finn, obviously) and where they wound up (losing her best friend Kim, again duh). And a good way to figure things out is by making lists, right? It's not like one list could make Ruby's life even worse by ruining her reputation and making her a social outcast. Right? Wrong. One list can actually make Ruby's life even worse by ruining her reputation and making her a social outcast in The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (2005) by E. Lockhart. The Boyfriend List is the first book in E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series. Deceptively slim at 229 pages (paperback), The Boyfriend List is a complex story told out of chronological order. While Ruby's life is essentially falling apart around her she also starts seeing Dr. Z and looking at her past interactions with boys to see what, exactly, happened. Lockhart moves seamlessly through distant and near past as she moves the story toward Ruby's immediate present (the point from which she is narrating). The resulting story is satisfyingly complex while still being straightforward. Despite what the title might suggest, this isn't a book about boys. It's about friendships and social interaction. And, okay, yes it's also about boys. Lockhart brings humor and compassion to a book that is simultaneously zany and deeply authentic (I think, more on that in the Exclusive Bonus Content). Even more impressive: She does it all while creating a convincing cast of oddballs, smarties, and other likely suspects who are all fun to read about--even if some of them might be jerks (like Jackson). All in all a delightful book. Possible Pairings: Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson, Vibes by Amy Kathleen Ryan, The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, Absolutely Maybe by Lisa Yee
xobookwormxo More than 1 year ago
I must say, this book rocked! E. Lockhart could not have done a more splendid job. The Boyfriend List wasn't confusing, it was packed with humor, and a great read. The characters are seriously really funny, especially main character Ruby Oliver. She's an average, everday teen. Except for the fact that she gets panic attacks, earns a name she doesn't deserve, and has some issues, not to mention TONS of drama going on in her life. I like how she's so easy to relate to. Not that it matters, but I liked how Ruby had glasses and lived in a boathouse. Just these little things added a lot to this book. Ruby Oliver isn't perfect, which makes this book perfect! With snobby girls and rumors spreading, The Boyfriend List is a perfect example of what high school is really like. Ruby must naviagate a pretty ugly rocky road in order to survive high school. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that this book was amazing. I suggest you go out and buy it ASAP! This book won't let you down. Her parents, friends, boyfriends, shrink, Ruby herself, will not leave you disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love books with first person point of view! e. lockhart was really into the catchy dialogue and ruby's sarcasm. The book was flawless!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reccomend this book. Very funny, to the point. It also "takes you along for the ride" meaning when Ruby Oliver (protagonist) is angry, you are as well, or when she is happy, you are feeling the same exact thing. Great for teens, pre-teens, and even adults!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the boyfriend list! It was a little inapropriat but thays okay! I am 12 and i read this book! It was in the high school library because i needed something more advanced!!! Read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this on my NOOK and I loved it!! Read it in less than a day!! Couldnt put it down so neither shoukd you!!!
Allison Hiestand More than 1 year ago
This book is totally relatable to any teenage girl. One of the best books out right now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was interesting and entertaining. I wasn't bored at all when reading it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was ssuch a funny easy read she is such a great auther i look foward to reading more of her books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a seventeen year old girl and can relate so well with this. It is absolutely amazing.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
15-year-old Ruby Oliver understandably starts having panic attacks when her first real boyfriend dumps her for her best friend and her other three best friends stop talking to her (in dramatic, public, and spectacular fashion, naturally), all within a relatively short period of time. Her parents start taking her to a therapist, Dr. Z., who tells Ruby to make a "boyfriend list", a list of every guy who Ruby has ever had any sort (real, imagined, less-than-24-hour, or slightly longer) of relationship with at all. Told from Ruby's point of view, readers hear the blow-by-blow account of each and every boy, from the one she used to play in the splashy pool with when she was four (Adam, the mermaid) to the one who dumped her out of the blue and mere days later was discovered at a party, stark naked with her former best friend (Jackson, the actual boyfriend...not that Ruby was at the party, mind you, but an oh-so-helpful acqaintence gave her a detailed description of the event after). An entertaining look at one girl's journey to self-discovery that leaves readers wanting more--which is good, since it's the start to a series!
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
Truth be told, the only other E. Lockheart book I’ve read is We Were Liars which COMPLETELY blew my mind. I adored everything – EVERYTHING – it had to offer and so, I had HUGE expectations going into The Boyfriend List. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have, but can you really blame me? Ruby Oliver is just your normal standard high school girl. She wonders if her face looks ugly in her glasses, if she’s pretty enough and just like everyone else, she’s looking for her Mr. Right (The One or Tommy Hazard) Well, maybe she was a normal girl. In the last few weeks, relatively normal Ruby Oliver with her popular boyfriend and awesome circle of friends has become a social leper. With her panic attacks, her boyfriend dumping her for her best friend and all her best friends dropping her like a hot potato, the only place left for Ruby is on her therapist’s couch. Oh, and, there’s a list that Ruby wrote that aided her fall – no, crash – down the social ladder. A Boyfriend List. A List of ALL the boys she’s ever been associated with, ever liked or ever done anything with. And it’s public. There are a lot of things I liked and disliked about this book, so let’s go. What I DID NOT Like about The Boyfriend List: 1. RUBY’S TERRIBLE “FRIENDS”: When you’re growing up, you make a lot of friends, dump a lot and find the few special ones that you keep. I GET that Ruby is still in the first and second phase BUT I HATED THESE GIRLS. OH GOD. Their friendship moral compass and their decent human being compass were so off, I WANTED TO STRANGLE THEM. 2. THE RANTING: There were SO MANY important messages this book had to give its readers, and they COULD have been properly delivered IF there wasn’t SO much of Ruby Rants. In fact, she blabbered on and on so much I even forced myself through some of these chapters. Sigh. 3. THE FOOTNOTES: For some reason, I’ve never been able to appreciate footnotes. They pull me away from the point that was being made in the actual story and IT MAKES IT SO HARD TO CONCETRATE. I didn’t like the footnote format of the book, ESPECIALLY IN RANT FORM. SIGH. 4. Ruby’s Parents: I have SEEN not so strict parents, and parents involved in theatre but they are NOT LIKE THESE. I SERIOSULY think that Ruby’s parents were THE BIGGEST reason she was having panic attacks because they were so all over the place, and they NEVER listened to Ruby or ANYTHING. I really did not like them What I LOVED about The Boyfriend List: 1. Noel, Gideon, Angelo & Shiv: YES, I’M TALKING ABOUT BOYS! This is, after all, The Boyfriend List. I went in hoping I would find at least ONE boy that I liked, but instead, I FOUND FOUR SWOONY BOYS! *Throws party* Each of them had their positives and negatives, but I really really liked them! #swoon 2. DON’T BE A PUSHOVER: I have seen so many people be pushed over (I will sadly admit that I’m one of them) and this was one of the BIGGEST lessons that Ruby learnt. If you’re waiting for someone to call, or wondering why a guy kissed you, asked you out and never spoke to you again and waited and waited for THE OTHER PERSON to do something, then you’re like Ruby (and me.) I loved how this was put across, and just the general importance of teenage girls receiving this message. 3. The Ending: There was this note of maturation that hit Ruby at the ending, which completely changed the tone of the book for me. I WAS SO GLAD she was taking c
BoundWithWords More than 1 year ago
In this book we get to know why Ruby's life is such a mess, the whole book is make in the form of lists (of the 15 guys that Ruby liked on her life), at first this format was kind of disjointed because we would start remembering something about Ruby's childhood and then go back to present day and then go back to the time of the debacles that put gave her the panics attacks. But I got used to it and about halfway through it was already really easy to put things on order on my head. We also, by the end of this, get to know about the whole debacles (as Ruby call it) and this book is kind of a more introductory one, Ruby progress a little from the start to the end of it, but it's definitely the one more immature and more full of unnecessary drama - I don't mean this as a bad thing, on the contrary, Lockhart deals with teens dynamics as a master and I could totally recall similarities with fights I had with my friends when we were younger.
BoundlessBookaholic More than 1 year ago
I’d never read the Ruby Oliver novels before, and I was definitely missing out. The first book starts out the series with a bang. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars. I think Ruby is a great character, even if she is kind of neurotic. I love all the lists found throughout the novels. I love making lists, and this made me bond with Ruby even more. I can’t even imagine having all that stuff happening to me all at once. It’s no wonder she’s having panic attacks and needs to see a shrink. Doctor Z was a great secondary character. I loved learning about how Ruby was involved with the various boys on her list. The boy stories were pretty hilarious and interesting. I read this book in one sitting and I knew I had to read the rest of the novels right away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book i read it and i thought it wuz amazing people older than 13 should read it not any younger # unrated
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
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I read this book at the beginning of my freshman year of high school and found it to be a hilarious read
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