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Monday, April 30, 2012

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
ISBN: 9780545169172
Publisher: Push
Released: April 1, 2012
Page #: 333
Source: My public library

"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. Each one has a different reaction to the experience.

Abby's joy at being named prettiest 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 isn't something 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.

With The List, Siobhan Vivian 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 ben the same."
First Lines:

"For as long as anyone can remember, the students of Mount Washington High have arrived at school on the last Monday in September to find a list naming the prettiest and the ugliest girl in each grade.
This year will be no different."
Page 3

8 girls. 1 list. Lives changed - both for the better and the worse. While I was reading this book, I tried to imagine what it would look like from my high school. And it's hard! I couldn't even think of who would qualify for either - prettiest or ugliest. Just too hard.

Every year, a list is posted the week of Homecoming. It's anonymous, but everyone knows about it. Everyone talks about it. And everyone judges people based on it. This book is about those eight girls and the week after the list is posted - how their lives are affected and the choices they start to make based on their new status. One thing everyone wants to know: Who makes the list?

Not to start this review on a bad note, but I had a hard time with eight different viewpoints. It helped that the characters were so vastly different. But I was constantly flipping to the front of the book to remember which grade which girl was in. Toward the end, I mostly had it figured out... but it was a lot to keep up with.

I thought the most interesting character was Sarah - she was the Junior chosen for ugliest. She had already been sort of an outsider... a rebel. But once this list is posted, she decides to go on a hygiene strike. I guess to show them just how ugly she can get. I think we all knew "that kid" in school who would do anything to prove a point. I just thought it was interesting to see into her point of view on the whole list situation.

You would think that only the girls listed as ugliest would have concerns about their new social standing. But really, it was much more widespread than that. Being prettiest could backfire - and hard. I was sort of glad to see both sides of the fence... though I wasn't expecting to see eight sides of the fence :). And I really liked how things tied up in the end. It felt like the world might start to make sense again for all of these girls - in different ways. I can always appreciate a good wrapped-up ending.

I have read other books by Vivian, and I have loved them all. I would say this book is very interesting, but it wasn't my favorite thing by this author (Same Difference was my favorite, for sure). But do give it a try. I look forward to reading much more from them.
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