The List: A Book Review


The List

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Summary: It happens every year before homecoming—the list is posted all over school. Two girls are picked from each grade. One is named the prettiest, one the ugliest. The girls who aren’t picked are quickly forgotten. The girls who are picked become the center of attention. Each one has a different reaction to the experience. Abby’s joy at being named to the list is clouded by her sister’s resentment. Danielle worries about how her boyfriend will take the news. Lauren is a homeschooled girl blindsided by her instant popularity. Candace isn’t ugly, not even close, so it must be a mistake. Bridget knows her summer transformation is nothing to celebrate. Sarah has always rebelled against traditional standards of beauty, and she decides to take her mutiny to the next level. And Margo and Jennifer, ex-best friends who haven’t spoken in years, are forced to confront why their relationship ended. The List deftly takes you into the lives of eight very different girls struggling with issues of identity, self-esteem, and the judgments of their peers. Prettiest or Ugliest, once you’re on the list, you’ll never be the same.

{kindly taken from Siobhan Vivian’s site}

My Thoughts: This was the last book of my book order {the other two were The Secret Cellar and Wish You Were Eyre} from way back in November. Yes, I’m just getting to it now. That’s the way I roll :) Anyhoo, I ordered this on the base of an intriguing summary and some good reviews. Was it flat-out amazing? No, but it really makes you think about how society views pretty vs. ugly and how it affects teenage girls. Not to mention that the plot is really engaging!

The list is a Mount Washington tradition. Each year, an ugly and pretty girl are chosen for each grade. Mean, right?! Obviously, though, this sets up a great story because we can go into the lives of each girl chosen. The author was really good at making me want to read on. Her style of writing was engaging, and the plot was fast paced.

With so many characters, I was a bit worried about the development of each girl. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad, but the ending felt abrupt and their individual “stories” didn’t feel wrapped up. So, up to the last couple of chapters, it was going really well! :) I liked most of the girls, or at least getting to know what was going through their heads. However, I disliked a handful of the secondary characters. They needed to go, like Lauren’s mom and Andrew.

The ending was a huge letdown for me. I was led into thinking that there would be a big confrontation between all eight girls on who made the list and why. Instead, the last chapter just told us who won Prom Queen. What happened to Bridget and Lisa? What about Sarah and Milo? Candace and Lauren? I had so many questions when I finished; whether that was intentional or not, I couldn’t tell. Overall, though, I have to admire Siobhan Vivian for writing about such a controversial topic, and delivering a solid story at the same time.

Pros: Engaging plot up to the end and mostly developed characters.

Cons: A lackluster ending.

Heads Up: Language, for sure, and high school partying.

Overall: I give it 4-ish stars {****} and I recommend it for ages 13 and up.

Have a terrific night!

Bella :)


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