Book Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Title: The List
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Genre: Contemporary, Teen Issues, Realistic Fiction 
Publisher: Push (an imprint of Scholastic)
Publication Date: April 2012
Pages: 332
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (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.

My Review:

The List offers a snapshot view into the lives of eight students from the same high school. Each year a list goes up at the start of homecoming week – a list no one knows who complies but lists the prettiest and ugliest girl from each grade. This book chronicles the events in their lives for one week.

Conceptually I loved this book. It deals with so many issues facing teens – eating disorders, virginity, first loves and heartbreak, sisters, families, popularity and self-image. This novel tries to tackle so much. And to me, that was what let it down.

At only 332 pages, it means that each girl’s story gets more or less 40 pages. As a snapshot into their lives it’s enough to see what’s going on at that one moment but I guess I’m greedy. I wanted to see the fall out. I want to know what happens to these girls on a long-term basis. One week’s glimpse into who they are and the problems they face isn’t enough to satisfy me.

As well as not getting to see enough of each girl, there were just too many characters to keep track of and get to know. Each girl had a family, friends, sisters and boyfriends. It was just too much to delve into properly. I would have loved this book so much more if there were less story lines and more time shown.

I thought that the author did a fantastic job at showing how much appearance and public image is important to high school students. As well as how rumours spread and the origin of the rumour doesn’t matter – as soon as it’s in the public realm, it’s as good as gospel. As far as being realistic – this book was brilliant. I could relate to  each of the eight girls. I had been there myself or had a friend who was when I was in school. But there was just too much tried to be condensed into the book.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Advertisements