Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Date Published: March 25, 2014
Pages: 336 (Paperback)
Age Range: 14+
An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.
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 become the center of attention, and each reacts differently to the experience.
This book is not what I was expecting when I first heard about the plot line. I expected a book about beauty, the societal pressures of beauty, two POVs (at the most), and some feel-good lesson at the end that makes you want to rub your makeup off of your face and sing about how everyone is gorgeous. However, this book didn't fit in almost any of those categories. One thing that really made this book stand out, is the fact that this book is from a million different POVs. I easily lost track of who was who, and was constantly referring to the list in the beginning of the book. About midway through the book, I started to remember who was ugly, so that helped me categorize the characters.
The array of characters that we have throughout this story is so diverse that it's almost shocking. We have an amazing rainbow of different colors- each bringing something unique to the overall feel of the book. I tip my proverbial hat to Siobhan Vivian for that, because it is a truly commendable feat. Besides having a diverse character list, each of the characters gets equal plot time- which was also a feat. You get to read enough, and relate enough, to each character to actually connect with them as a person. Of course, I didn't like most of the characters because of how they acted, or how they treated each other, or how they thought- but I did like every character because of the role they played- we need "evil" characters to make this book believable.
The plot behind this book is scarily real. I'm homeschooled, but I can totally believe that lists like this are circulating in public schools today. Besides being a real plot, the girl's reactions to the list are realistic. Already, society as a whole (both male and females) have a twisted, skewed look on what the ideally beautiful person should look like. Again, I want to stress the fact that while men don't have the publicity that females do, they too have an impossible image to strive towards. Anyway, the anorexia and bulimia nervosa, the catty behavior, the insecurity, all of these things were... almost natural behaviors to the list. And that is terrifying.
I actually really liked the lessons in this book, and the roles of the characters, but this book fell kinda flat overall. It was a good, quick, read, but it wasn't anything to write home about. I think I'm going to try reading the Burn for Burn trilogy that Siobhan Vivian wrote with Jenny Han because they are two amazing authors squished together in one trilogy that I've heard pretty decent things about. Yes, please!