Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
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.
I’d never read any of Siobhan Vivian’s books before this, but when I first heard about it early last year I thought it sounded really interesting and have wanted to get my hands on it for a long time. When I finally did, I was really excited, but by the end I was slightly disappointed. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it also wasn’t as amazing as I expected.
With eight main characters, it’s a little difficult to keep track of them all, let alone for the author to flesh them all out, so the book suffers slightly as a result. Some of the characters and their stories are engaging and interesting, but others are just chapters I need to get through.
I didn’t have a clear idea of who wrote the list, so I was definitely shocked when it was revealed, but not necessarily in a good way. It kind of made me mad that the person behind it did what they did and chose who they chose. I guess it kind of made sense, but at the same time it seems like it was quite out of character. The character wasn’t a favorite of mine to begin with, but I was very disappointed when I found out that it was them. Sure, if they hadn’t had done it, there wouldn’t have been a book, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s sad the person felt it was necessary to continue it in the first place. OK, really difficult to keep from using the correct pronoun and accidentally revealing the person’s gender, but I think I managed to keep from letting out any spoilers. I hope, anyway. If I did, I’m sorry!
It’s certainly interesting to look at the way the list affects the uglies and the pretties of the list, though. It’s certainly an interesting concept for a book, and I think Vivian did a decent job of it, but it could have been done a little better. In the end, this was an okay book, but I feel like it could have been even better. I had trouble really figuring out what message the book was trying to convey, or if there was even one to begin with.