Thursday, April 26, 2012

Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Title:  The List
Author:  Siobhan Vivian
Pages:  332
Genre:  Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher:  Push
Obtained:  Purchased
Summary:  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 between the two.

The Dish:  Siobhan Vivian has crafted a remarkable and haunting story that will stay with readers long after they've closed the book.  I know that's what happened to me after I finished it and woke up the next morning still thinking about it.  With Vivian's easily flowing prose, I was carried through The List and then left to ponder on all eight girls.

The characters are phenomenal as readers see them transition over the course of a single week starting with the Monday when the list is posted.  A week seems so short a time to explore an entire book, but Vivian makes use of these 6 days in exploring the lives of all eight girls on the list.  It's amazing at how much one label can change the way people think about a person and what that person thinks about themselves.  For some of the girls, the change is almost instantaneous while for others more gradual, but by the end of the book, each of them is not the same girl at the beginning whether better or worse.

What I really noticed was the behavior of the people surrounding the eight girls whether family, friends, or boyfriends and how that shifted as well.  Those closest to the girls suffered an impact as well, not always from knowing about the list but in seeing how the girls change.  I was moved by several side characters and their actions towards their friends on the list.  It was fascinating to learn how they viewed being on the list and how those views changed throughout the week.

The List is definitely a contemporary story to have in a collection, and I'm eager to see what new stories Siobhan Vivian will share with her readers.


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