Monday, July 23, 2012

The List ~ Siobhan Vivian

Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Pub Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Scholastic / Push
Pages: 332
Author website:

GoodReads: An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.

It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.

 "The perception of beauty is a moral test." Henry David Thoreau
Eight girls.
One list.
Pretty or ugly.
For Danielle, Abby, Candace, Lauren, Sarah, Bridget, Jennifer, and Margo their lives will never be the same. Who will rise above the list? And who will overcome it? 

Originally, I thought reading a book from eight different POVs would not work, but it did. Granted, i did have to post-it note the list page so I could refer back to it! Each and every reaction was different; some expected, and some not so much. For most, the list is petty, frivolous, and a status symbol. But for others it has devastating effects: eating disorder, failing grades, broken relationships, and loss of friendships. Family relations are strained for some of the girls. But for one girl, she shines and grows as a result of the list. Is it for the better though?

I thought this was a great book. If not for list copycats sprouting up in school, I'd put this on my "Should be Read in School" shelf-but no. Reading it, I felt like I was back in high school dealing with the cliques, the popular crowd, the outcasts, etc. 

The only character I truly felt connected to was Bridget. Of them all, the list had the most impact, and as a result, her story arc felt the most real. Then there is Candace. She who is pretty on the outside, but so so ugly on the inside. It may be mean, but I enjoyed her fall. And lastly, Jennifer and Margo. They used to be BFFs and now they aren't, and on opposite sides of the list. What was the real reason for their split?

There were a couple issues I had with the book overall. The biggest though was the clothing. Wool skirts? Cardigans? I had trouble buying into the wardrobe choices for these girls. The only one who actually made sense was Sarah: jeans, black tshirt. 

The ending left me with my jaw dropped. I didn't expect it at all! But I thought it was utterly beautiful. One of my favorite book endings ever.

"She's surprised by the weight.
Obviously the rhinestones wouldn't be diamonds, but X had always assumed the tiara would be metal.
It wasn't.
It was plastic."

Beautiful. And sums everything up perfectly.

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