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Friday, November 30, 2012

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Summary on GoodReads.

In The List, Vivian integrates the voices of the eight girls who will bear the prettiest and ugliest titles for one whole year. How you’d you react to be named the ugliest girl in school when you are obviously pretty? Why be named the prettiest when you are not … well, not ugly but not that pretty either? How far would you go to keep your just gained “prettiest” title? Who is taking upon herself to teach these girls and – maybe - the rest of the school a lesson?

Oh yes! Who is the heartless evil bitch who writes the list? Because from the beginning, I made up my mind that the list must have been written by a girl (or a bunch of them). There’s no way that guys have the heart and the stomach to come up with that kind of list and live with the results.

The opening of the book is very powerful and I immediately felt drawn to the book. In fact, it has a compulsive readability that I couldn’t fight. It was also very interesting to read about what these girls thought about themselves, their new acquired titles, and what they did to own such labels. The book is easy and fast to read and I liked Vivian’s writing style. It felt like a breeze of fresh air to read about the pretty and ugly concepts in this way.

On another note, once the narration at the beginning ends and the voices of the girls take over, I was confused by who was who (who was pretty and who was ugly). But cleverly, the actual list is posted at the beginning so I just went back to the list to set my characters straight!!!!

What I didn’t like: duh! I just gave it 3-stars so obviously some things didn’t work for me, for instance, Sarah’s (one of the ugliest) decision to make a statement about her given title and then change her mind at the last minute. I mean, of course last minute mind-changing is okay, but I didn’t see a reason for it other than going on with her original plan might have made her the ugliest girl in school forever…. Like Jennifer, who’s been holding that title for four years in a row!

In general, I didn’t like the sudden transformations of the girls (Candance, for instance) from being/acting one way and at the end of the book kind redeeming herself by becoming… Well, good. Why? What made her change her personality?

Some other details left me hanging. The girls’ issues were not followed to an end but rather left open; I wonder if this was on purpose to give room for a second book?
But in general, the book is a good read and the concept is one that I very much enjoyed.

Different opinions here and here.