Author: Siobhan Vivian
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publisher: Push (Scholastic)
Hardcover, 332 pages
Date Published: April 1, 2012
Description (Taken from Goodreads):
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.
Vivian’s take on such a cruel act is told with realistic voices and saddening honesty. It’s in human nature to feel pain, but it should not be human nature to inflict it upon others…but it seems that it is. High school can be beyond cruel and The List highlights how superficial and judgmental it can be. Vivian presents readers with eight girls and eight different perspectives, so, while quite an ambitious undertaking, it does fall short at times.
It’s impossible to adequately flesh out eight main characters in 300 pages, so I was okay with some characters sticking out more than others. I even felt a connection to some of them, but I wish there was more to the plot. I also wish the adult characters had more of a role in the entire situation; especially the principal who was involved from the moment the list went up. Instead, she has a couple of scenes with some stern glares and empty threats.
Despite all that, The List is still a quick read that shows how hard high school life can be and how objectified women, no girls, can be. The ending is a bit abrupt and leaves so many loose ends, but I still enjoyed the overall story. The ugly girls, the pretty girls, the popular girls, they all have something in common: they’re insecure, they’re self-conscious, and they want to be accepted even when they pretend they don’t. It’s a universal story that all young women can relate to.
Opening line: 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. ~ pg. 3
Favorite lines/passages: And while she certainly isn’t happy about it, ugly is something people say about each other, and say about themselves, without even thinking. The word is so generic, it’s almost meaningless.
Almost. ~ pg. 22
And another one:“Something terrible happened to all of you girls. Someone took it upon himself or herself to single you out, give you a label, and present you as nothing more than the most superficial, subjective version of yourselves.” ~ pg. 78-79
3.5*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.
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