Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: "The List" by Siobhan Vivian

book cover of The List by Siobhan Vivian
Every year, Homecoming Week at Mount Washington High starts the same way:  The List.  The List is a tradition dating back years and years, and features the Prettiest Girl and the Ugliest Girl in each grade.  No one knows who creates the list, but the girls named become infamous.  All the girls want to be named Prettiest of course, but they don't realize the pressures that might come along with that title.  No one wants to be named Ugliest of course, as that comes with a whole different kind of pressure.  The List changes everything for these eight girls.

This book alternates between the point of view of each of the eight girls on the list.  It is a little hard to keep track of at first, but you can always go back and double check the list itself.  It doesn't take very long for the eight distinct personalities to stand out on their own and for you to recognize each girl on her own.  I liked the contrasting characters, and how each girl's insecurities are dealt with.  I think that sometimes YA literature has trouble keeping the young characters in line with their ages, and this book has to present two girls who are four years younger than the eldest...  and does so very realistically.

There are a lot of issues being presented in this book - first and foremost is bullying.  The list is offensive and abusive in itself, and then the rest of the students take it further with name calling and insulting behavior.  The new principal is the only one trying to act out against it, and I find it troubling that the rest of the school's faculty turns a blind eye to what is going on in the name of "tradition".  Each character brings their own personal issue to the table as well, ranging from an eating disorder to being a social outcast  to low self esteem.  There are even two different kinds of mother issues:  the overprotective mother and the mother who demands her daughter follow in her highly-regarded footsteps.  There is a lot going on in here, and plenty for young adults to take in and discuss with their peers or parents.  A follow up discussion is almost essential, as the ending of the book just kind of happens, without a definitive resolution to many of these issues.

Overall, I did enjoy this book.  I liked following the characters paths, and seeing how they fared from day to day.  I tend to root for the underdog, and this book is filled with them.

The List
by Siobhan Vivian
Push/Scholastic 2012
332 pages
Source:  Publisher for honest review
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1 comment:

barmybex said...

Great review - this sounds really good, added it to my ever growing TBR pile! :D

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