Sunday, March 18, 2012

Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Push
Age Group: Young Adult
Category:  Contemporary
Release date: April 1st, 2012
Pages: 332 (ARC)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Source: Publisher

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.

It's not hard to say that high school can be a beauty contest.  Anyone who's been to high school would know that.  Really, life has turned into a beauty contest itself, but sometimes kids can be more cruel.  Someone is always judging someone else.  When a list appears in the hallways of Mount Washington High, feelings of excitement and dread hang in the air.  Sure, there's a pretty list, but there's an ugly list too.  This story shows what it's like for both sides, how being viewed a certain way can even affect the way you view yourself.

The more you read, the more you realize that the book is about struggle with body image, losing friends, peer pressure, and learning how to accept yourself.  Even the girls voted the prettiest had their own issues to worry about.  I'm glad that Siobhan chose to write about girls of all different types, because no matter what we all look like on the outside, we all really just want to be treated well by others.

I read this book throughout the week, taking small breaks to do other things, which really made me a little confused because the characters seemed to blend together if you don't read the book all at once.  After all, there are 8 girls to keep track of, so it's understandable.  Once I got deeper into the book, I didn't have much of a problem remembering who was who.  Sarah stood out from the beginning for me, because here was this punk chick who doesn't take anyone's shit, yet we learn how fragile she is behind the wall she builds between her and her peers.

The List shows how easily people follow along with the crowd.  Everyone in the school views these people as either pretty or ugly based on one anonymous person's opinion, and as I realized the other day, many people see that if one person says something rude, they all think it's alright for them to repeat these things.  even one of the pretty girls feels so much pressure to be beautiful that she starts showing signs of becoming anorexic and bulimic.  No one seems to have it as easy as everyone else thinks.

So, each chapter is about a different girl and the book is cut into sections from Monday, when the list is revealed, all the way until Saturday, when the Homecoming dance takes place.  I will say that when you find out who made the list, you may be surprised.  I definitely enjoyed the messages that The List held, as I too know what it's like to be the "ugly girl" in high school.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like it's written in a really interesting manner. I like the idea of the different chapters following different girls. I may have to add this to my list of contemps to read this year.