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New Release Review: The Boyfriend List by Renee Novelle

Looking for a light and fun New Adult read? This new release might just fit the bill…


The Boyfriend List
Renee Novelle

The Boyfriend List follows twenty-year-old Reagan in her quest for the perfect relationship after a somewhat tragic spring break breakup leaves her disillusioned about love… again.

Reagan had always prided herself on making levelheaded, practical, analytical decisions about everything. Everything, that is, except where guys are concerned. Which was proven to her, once again, when her “boyfriend” opts to take another girl on their oh-so-romantic trip to his lake house. In order to prevent future heartbreak, she creates a checklist of all the qualities she wants in a man, and vows not to give her heart away again until she can determine if they fit every last criteria.

After scouring campus with her two best friends in her tricky journey, her detective work returns a pile of unworthy rejects, and it seems as though her choices are narrowed down to only two options: the hot stranger who’s inspired her new project, and her best guy friend Ian, who she’s always kept at bay due to his perceived playboy reputation.

Reagan gets more than she bargained for with her new set of rules, however, and is surprised to find that love, and the perfect boyfriend, may have been within reach the entire time. But will Ian’s reputation ruin his chances to prove his worth? And can Reagan let go of her insecurities long enough to even give him a chance?

The Boyfriend List is a light New Adult romance about friendship, trust, and learning to let go in order to embrace what real love can offer.



The Boyfriend List had a super cute start–Reagan just found out in a very public way (thank you, social media!) that her boyfriend cheated on her. Big time. She’s sick and tired of dating losers, and decides it’s time to do something about it. So she gets together with her best gal pal Petra, they make a pitcher of margaritas, and Reagan makes The List: a list of all the things she’s looking for in a guy. A guy who will be her perfect guy, and will never, ever treat her like the lying scumbags in her past did. Before she’ll even consider going out with someone, he must meet all of her list criteria.

The reader, of course, knows that this list will never in a million years work the way she hopes it will, but thinks she’s cute for trying.

Reagan also has a best guy pal, and it’s pretty clear as soon as he appears (even if you haven’t read the blurb) that he’s probably going to end up being THE ONE. He’s cute, and a genuinely nice guy, so this doesn’t seem like a bad thing.

So far, so good. It looks like it’s going to be a pleasantly sweet, albeit fluffy read. Reagan will fumble around a bit, but eventually she’ll figure out what’s what and she’ll make her bumbling but endearing way to an HEA.

The Boyfriend List maintains that persona for about half of the novel, and then things go a little wonky. For one thing, it tries very hard to keep up the quirky and fun vibe, but it doesn’t quite do it. It feels like the novel gets that close to zany shenanigans–like when Reagan’s stalking a potential list-winner-guy and accidentally poses as a school reporter–but then suffers a near miss. It could be a really funny scene, but it just misses the mark somehow.

At about the three-quarters mark, it gets even stranger. There’s an odd connection made between Reagan’s cheating ex and her wanna-be next boyfriend Ian that makes it look like someone is out to get our heroine. Why? It’s never really explained. But suddenly there’s a villain, and he/she is really quite villain-ish, for no apparent reason. It doesn’t seem like this person even knows Reagan, so why on earth would such an effort be made to make her life so miserable?

Finally, the big dramatic climax felt way too overdone. If Reagan had just stayed a millisecond longer in the scene than she did, all the drama could have been totally avoided. But she leaves, and refuses to answer her phone, her texts, and her door–so the book continues on for another twenty-four hours longer than it needed to. The ending was back to cute, but pretty abrupt given the drawn-out drama that had come before.

(TBL also contains a pet peeve I’ve recently developed about New Adult books lately–the plucky, poor heroine with the disgustingly rich best friends. Seriously, what’s up with that? Here’s another girl who gets to live in a swanky apartment thanks to her BF’s super-rich parents, and her other best friend/boyfriend wannabe buys her a six thousand dollar present on a whim. If only! But I digress.)

In a nutshell: The Boyfriend List tries, but doesn’t quite deliver. It’s not a bad read, and entertaining as long as you’re willing to just skim the surface of things.
3 stars/ C rating.

 I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.


Maybe she needed to get some fresh air, she decided. Go for a walk, clear her head. Anything to distract her focus from her thoughts and reset her mind back on her paper.

Decision made. She shut down her computer, set aside her books and wrapped her long hair into a somewhat sloppy bun on the top of her head. Reagan had contemplated a light sweatshirt to ward off the last cold brisk of winter that clung to the night air in stubborn resignation, then decided against it. But before she’d even left her bedroom, she turned back and yanked it off her bed after all. Apparently she was having a hard time making up her mind about everything that night.

Zipping it halfway up her torso, just below her breasts, she crept quietly out the front door and turned to lock it behind her. A quick breeze whipped its way around the corner and down the corridor, and as a shiver worked its way up her spine, she was thankful she’d listened to her intuition. Maybe she should do that more often.

But just as Reagan turned to go down the stairs and head out on her walk, she was met – nearly head on – by an unexpected sight. Ian stood before her, mildly drunk but mostly sober, looking as surprised to see her as she was to see him. It was clear he’d been out for a night of fun, though she’d seen him far worse on more occasions than she could count on both hands. But it was also just as clear that, once again, he’d come home alone. She couldn’t help the little smirk of satisfaction that turned up at the corners of her mouth on that discovery, though internally she chastised herself at the thought.

“And just where do you think you’re going?” His voice danced over the words with dramatic flair, an indicative side effect of his inebriated condition.

It took her a minute to find her voice. “I need a break.” She finally explained, “This essay’s killing me and I want to clear my head.”

“Nice jacket.” He flicked the toggle of her zipper, and Reagan felt it flutter in her core. “Want some company?”

The flutter was moving faster at the suggestion. His eyes had grown dark, almost as dark as the night sky, and she thought she saw something in them that begged her to say yes. Suddenly, she wasn’t so sure she needed her sweatshirt any longer, since the temperature seemed to have risen up all around her, working a pink tint into her cheeks. She was glad it was so dark out, hopefully he couldn’t tell this time. “Aren’t you just getting in though? You’re probably tired…right?”

Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes… she chanted in her head. The truth was she very much would’ve loved his company, maybe a little too much, but she wasn’t certain she trusted herself around him yet…alone…in the middle of the night. There were too many possibilities, too many temptations that her imagination could come up with. If she acted on any one of them, and was wrong in her assumption, well the let down could be brutal at best.

“Tired? Me?” He shook his head and made a face at the suggestion. “The party was just getting boring. Too many of the same people, not worth the time.” Was he implying that she was worth his time then? Reagan certainly hoped so, considering how long they’d been friends. But she couldn’t help wondering if there was something more behind the words. “So what do you say? Can I walk with you?” And as he tilted his head in that subtle way that only Ian could, a dimple working it’s way into the corner of his cheek, she felt her breath rush out of her lungs.

He’d put the ball back in her court again. Damn him! There’d be no getting around it this time, she’d have to give him a definitive answer. And quickly.Reagan knew she should say no. There was something inside, warning her that it wasn’t a good idea. As though accepting his innocent invitation would somehow change things. Alter their relationship and shift their energies toward one another in a way that could never be put back again. But, when she really thought about it, hadn’t they kind of done that already?

And yet everything inside of her wanted to scream yes, and keep the momentum of what they’d started earlier in the day moving forward. It wanted to let him take her hand in his, entwine her fingers around his, as though it was the most natural thing in the world for them to be doing. All she could manage though was a simple nod, stiffened by the breath she held tightly in her chest. It was almost as though she was afraid to acknowledge what she wholeheartedly wanted, even to herself, because doing so would only leave her open and vulnerable to a future of regrets and failures.

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10 Fun Facts About Renee’ Novelle

1.     I have a complete and total obsession with lip gloss. I must have it on at all times.

2.     Originally, I was a performing arts major in college and received a scholarship from the dance department to attend. It was, without a doubt, the most amazing experience ever.

3.     But when I started college, I was only 15 so my perspective on the whole thing was very different. (And yes, there are future books being built around that experience!)

4.     That passion for the arts has stuck with me though, because I attend every play, musical, gallery opening, ballet, etc. that I can get tickets to. Next to lip gloss, it’s my second obsession.

5.     I absolutely live for dresses and will find an excuse to wear them every day if possible.

6.     I’m a huge foodie, and always seek out new restaurants and dining experiences to try. But I do most of my cooking at home. I love experimenting with new recipes; it’s kind of therapeutic!

7.     Getting to watch the sunset on the beach is my favorite thing about living in Southwest Florida. Such a relaxing experience.

8.     I love a fancy glass – I even drink water and juice out of wine glasses and goblets. There’s just something about transforming an ordinary experience into something more extraordinary that makes life beautiful. And the more unique the glass, the better the experience.

9.     I absolutely love having music on all the time – at the gym, in the shower, in the car, while I cook…except for when I’m writing. When I’m writing I need absolute dead silence.

10.  I don’t have any children – yet – but I have two cats that might as well be my kids! They’re my babies; I’m absolutely crazy about them.

About Renee

Formerly a freelance journalist, Novelle has found placement of her pieces in both online and print publications since 2008. Additionally, she has written multiple screenplays, and contributed her writing to many non-profit and for profit organizations. She has launched several blogs over the years, which garnered international attention.

In 2013, Novelle returned to her first love – fiction. Writing under the names Renee Novelle and R.S. Novelle, she has a publication schedule that includes Psychological Thrillers, Suspense, Paranormal Fiction, Contemporary Women’s fiction, Chick Lit, and New Adult.

Though she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Communication Summa cum laude, she considers herself a constant student of the written word. She’s an avid reader, an enthusiastic quote poster, and rarely takes “no” as a final answer. She has an unhealthy obsession for theater, dance, music and art, and strongly believes that wine is simultaneously the beginning of, and resolution to, all of life’s problems. She believes in following dreams and that in the end, you always end up where you’re meant to be.

You can find out more about her books and connect with her here:






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