Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

The List 
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Release date: April 1, 2012
Published by: Push
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a story about eight high school girls and a list of the prettiest and ugliest.

This list can define who you are within the social hierarchy of school. Some girls dream of being on the list of beautiful people; others find it an insulting and objectifying tradition.

Abby, Danielle, Lauren, Candace, Bridget, Sarah, Margo and Jennifer all have different ideas about the list and what it means for their lives. All hope to be more than just their standing on the list. The big question is will they allow a label to define who they are? Or in the world of high school, do they really have any control over that at all?

Follow the eight girls from Monday, when the list is published, through Saturday, when homecoming occurs, and see how each life is affected by the labels of ugliest and prettiest.

I have to say that while I liked this story, I was very depressed by the time I hit the ending because Siobhan Vivian really captures some of the harshness (and truth) of the world of high school (i.e., Now that you’re popular, let me be your friend and now that you’re a loser, please don’t hang around me anymore.) While this is definitely a contemporary story, it’s not light-hearted or fun. Instead, it will really make you think about what labels do to people—good or bad. Even though the story’s timeline only covers six days in these girls’ lives, the fact is that the list has hidden ramifications in each girl’s life—some of them quite dangerous.

At first I was a little fearful to take on eight characters—I wondered how I’d every keep them straight!—but the author helps because #1 the character development rocks and #2 each girl has her own chapter, so, for example, you can focus on just what is happening to Lauren on a particular day. I think this organization also helped me connect to each character and her personality and life because I was able to walk in each one’s unique shoes for extended periods of time. I don’t know about you, but I love “solid” characters—when I feel emotionally connected and invested in what each person thinks, feels, and does.

This story doesn’t really follow one plot; it is more of a character study based on how the list affects the lives of these girls. All the actions lead to the final day which is the Saturday of homecoming. Some of the girls’ stories will make you sad, some mad, some will inspire you and some will make you despair, but all the stories will make you interested. This is a worthwhile read!

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