Sep 20, 2011

Audio Review - The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver #1) by E. Lockhart
July 2005 by Listening Library

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.

My daughter read this series when she was in middle school and loved it. Yes, I am that old. When this audio book was at the library, I jumped at the chance to read. I've heard a few bloggers say how much they loved it so it was a no brainer.

Ruby made a big fat mistake. She listed all the crushes, dates, and boyfriends she has ever had on personalized stationary, and instead of taking that list home or shredding it, she crumpled it up and threw it in the bin at school. Yeah, we all know what happens from there. The list is printed and plastered all over school humiliating Ruby. She's fifteen-years-old, did they really think those were all the boys she slept with? Why, yes. Yes they did. To make matters worse, her BFF Kim (insert sneer) and her ex (as in two days ago ex) are already swapping spit. Ruby takes us back in time to her first crush all the way up to today where she is the black listed hussy of Tate Prep.

You can't help but feel sorry for Ruby. She's lost all of her friends, her BFF is now with her two-day-old ex boyfriend, and she's dubbed the town slut. Ruby does make some bad choices, but she is a level-headed girl that doesn't deserve the crap she's been served. Her friends ain't no friends at all and I wouldn't exactly be devastated if her ex-boyfriend and new girlfriend (her old BFF) fall off a cliff. By the end of the story, I felt a connection with Ruby and was proud that she recognized that she needed to make some changes for herself.

I loved the voice of Ruby Oliver brought to us by Mandy Siegfried. Her name should ring a bell for you. She was the reader for Laurie Halse Anderson's masterpiece, Speak. Siegfied has such a fresh, young voice. My daughter did comment that she didn't picture Ruby's voice sounding like that, but I thought it was a perfect match.

They story jumps back and forth from past to present and structured around this boyfriend list. We learn about the demise of poor Ruby's reputation, her complicated relations with boys and friends, and how her family life has played a part in her relationships. This is a smart, snarky, and at times, emotional read with lessons for every teenage girl around every corner. How many girls did we know in high school that had that reputation? Looking back now...I wonder how many of those were undeserved.

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