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."
My Review: The List fell short for me. It was a highly anticipated book when it came out, and I can see why: the synopsis and cover make it look REALLY intriguing. So when I picked it up, I thought I'd be in for a brutal-yet-amazing read, possibly like Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (my review of that here). Unfortunately, The List came nowhere near that!
I think what the problem is is that Siobhan Vivian tried to do TOO MUCH in one book. I mean, her portrayals of beauty and how teenage girls see it and live it WERE accurate, I'm not going to deny that. She was correct in showing how some people care so much, how some don't, and how some are affected in totally different ways. Unfortunately...that's where it ended.
There were 8 POVs in this book and I think that was way too many. Normally, multiple POVs don't bother me---but Vivian stuffed so many characters in this book that she wasn't able to properly dedicate enough time to each character and they all fell sort of flat. Also, I kept getting confused as to what grade each girl was and what each girl's situation was.
Vivian tried to do too much, and her book suffered for it. She didn't really go DEEP into the issues of beauty and self-worth that today's teens struggle with. She just skimmed the surface with each girl, and we never really got to get inside the girls' heads and emotions and really FEEL what they were going through.
Also, the ending was just very blah. I get that the ending is realistic---I mean, not everyone's story ends with a happily-ever-after or with everyone learning some sort of moral---but this ending was so abrupt and random that it felt like the rest of the book had been ripped out.
There's not much else to say. It was a relatively short book, made all the shorter by the fact that I was never really invested in any of the story lines. Even the story line of who created The List was dulled down and not really played up. So...this is a book I'd suggest passing on, if reading about beauty, self-image, and social issues like that is what you're looking for.
Cover: I do however like the cover. I can practically feel the poor girl's shock and dismay as she stares at the list, so at least THAT'S realistic.
Overall Grade: C-