Cover of The Boyfriend List, with a white brunette girl (with bangs and long hair) half smiling at the viewer while holding a pair of eyeglasses

About the Book

Title: The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver #1)
The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Ruby Oliver #2)
The Treasure Map of Boys: Noel, Jackson, Finn, Hutch, Gideon—and me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver #3)  
Published: 2005
Series: Ruby Oliver
Swoonworthy Scale: 7

BFF Charm: YAY!
Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit
Bonus Factors: Bake Sale, Hair Metal, You’ve Got Mail
Relationship Status: Til Death Do Us Part

The Deal:

Ruby Oliver has got WAY too much shizz to deal with. As chronicled in the first two books, she’s lost most of her friends (as well as her good reputation) due to complications arising from an adorable jerk of an ex-boyfriend, Jackson. As the third installment of her life saga begins, Ruby is struggling with the fact that her crush, Noel, wants to get with her, but she MUST RESIST cos her semi-bff, Nora, has the hots for Noel too. Ruby’s worried that she’s not just boy crazy, but straight up crazy, esp. cos she keeps getting panic attacks and can’t seem to talk to her poncho-wearing therapist, Doctor Z. After she loses her internship at the zoo, Ruby must juggle a new job at the hippie store (I know, I KNOW, it’s tragic!), a school-wide bake sale, AND the upcoming need for a date to the spring fling, all while trying to maintain her sanity and, more importantly, her dignity.

BFF Charm: YAY!

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

Ruby Oliver is one of the most endearing and charming heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure to know… er, read. Here’s a brief but by no means comprehensive list of Why Roo Rocks:

1.  She wears fishnets. like, on a regular basis.


3.  She makes (hilarious) lists to help her figure out tricky situations.

4.  She writes letters to her favorite animals at the zoo.

5.  She tries really really hard to be a good friend.

6.  She substitutes fun, friendly words for icky words, like “mocha latte” for “adolescence.” ex: “mocha latte has come upon the sophomore boys and they’re starting to look good to us.”

Not only do I want to be bffs with Ruby cos she’s awesome, I ALSO want to show her how real friends act cos DANG, her ex-friends are atrocious!! Like, I want to form a gang with her so we can put foot cream in their facial cream and give them Kalteen bars and stuff. Ruby’s just so great, and my heart goes out to her as she endures countless embarrassments and drama and mean girl attacks and GAH.

In fact, I love her so much, I wanna get, like, matching fishnets. Except that would be creepy… right? Um?

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

Ruby spends a LOT of time thinking about boys, which is DUH normal and DOUBLE DUH one of the main reasons I love this series! Plus, when it comes to heart tingle-y moments of romantic tension, E. Lockhart’s got mad skills. For most of the book, Ruby’s hormones are focused on Noel, and even though he’s got bad hair (can we please ban hair gel from all high schools?), he’s DEFINITELY crushable. Noel is one of those cool (but not mysterious, sorry) loner guys who has enough confidence to hang out with every crowd instead of needing to identify with a single one. He leaves Ruby funny notes and poems in her cubby (more on that later), and, unlike other dudes, he’s not afraid to go for the goal, i.e. HOT KISSING.

What’s great about the romance in these books is that it’s real. It’s not a fairy tale; it’s not a melodramatic obsession. It’s awkward and sweet and scary and hella confusing, so while the lows are LOW, the highs are swoonerifically HIGH.

Talky Talk: 2 Legit 2 Quit

I have the feeling you guys are gonna stop believing my review right about now, cos I’m like, Ruby is the best! And then I’m like, the chemistry is the best! And now i’m gonna say: THE WRITING STYLE IS ACTUALLY THE BEST! And I know I sound hyperbolic but I swear, I think E. Lockhart’s style is really (no, really) my favorite thing about the whole series.

Not only are there some serious lolz, but I sort of kind of okay totally want to start using ALL of the slang and terms that Ruby and her friends make up and explain via footnotes (yay footnotes!). Such as:

*Muffin: Not exactly an insult. A muffin is pleasant. It’s just nothing to get cranked about. You never think, Oh, I’m going to drive out of my way so I can get that unbelievably scrumptious muffin they have at the bakery. No, you think, Unbelievably scrumptious brownie. Unbelievably scrumptious white chocolate cookie. You wouldn’t go out of your way for something as ordinary as a muffin, that’s what I’m explaining here.

See what I mean?! Also, fair warning, starting now I am putting the phrase, “my horizontal bidding,” into heavy rotation, i.e. “Once Tim Riggins meets me, he will have no choice but to do my horizontal bidding.”

Bonus Factor: Bake Sale

There are a substantial number of pages in the third book devoted to descriptions of DELICIOUS BAKED TASTY BUSINESS, including brownies so good, they’re dubbed “ninja brownies.” GOOD LORD I NEED A DONUT.

Bonus Factor: Hair Metal

One of my fave characters in the series is Hutch, an acne-prone loner who works with Roo’s dad and listens to heavy metal constantly. Through Hutch’s influence, Ruby learns about the healing power of hair metal which you guys is seriously one of the most important Life Lessons ever. If you don’t believe me, check out this excerpt:

Retro metal is how Hutch survived years of roly-poly-ness without becoming hospitalized for mental stress. He just rocks out on a regular basis to the likes of Poison or Van Halen or whatever, and it keeps him from going insane. It’s the secret mental health of hair bands.

Bonus Factor: You’ve Got Mail

Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly sit on a bench at the farmer's market

So, if you don’t know me v. well, what I’m about to say may shock you. But I have to be true to myself and unashamed of my passions, so here it goes: MY FAVORITE MOVIE EVER IS YOU’VE GOT MAIL. THERE! I said it! Ok!

And regardless of how you feel about that movie, I think most of us can appreciate the gentle magic inherent in old fashioned, hand-written correspondence. Like, email is great and everything, but don’t you miss getting a gossip-filled, origami-folded note passed to you by your best friend/secret crush in the middle of an incredibly zzzz chemistry class?

Ruby may not know it, but she’s INCREDIBLY LUCKY cos her school has mail cubbies, so students can leave notes and gifts for each other throughout the day. Um I KNOW. Thanks to the cubby system, there’s all kinds of exciting notes and intriguing messages in this series. P.S. HOW CAN I GET A MAIL CUBBY?

Relationship Status: Til Death Do Us Part

If Ruby Oliver was real, I’d be making plans with her RIGHT NOW to live in the same old folks home when we’re gray and wrinkly and can’t hold our own pee cos I know that, even then, in the most depressing of circumstances, she’d make me laugh. Plus we could talk about our crushes from the previous bingo session and discuss strategies for scoring a romantic date in the cafeteria! With Ruby, being ancient would kind of rule.

Y’all, if you haven’t yet met Ruby, you MUST read this series. While part of me hates to share her, I know that the world would be a better, more ninja-brownie-like place if everyone had a little Ruby Oliver in their lives.

FTC Full Disclosure: I checked these books out from the library. I received neither cocktails nor compensation in exchange for this review.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.