Book Review: The List

The List by Siobhan Vivian review
It happens every September - the list is posted all over school. Two girls are picked from each year. One is named the prettiest, one the ugliest.

The girls who aren't picked are quickly forgotten. The girls who are, become the centre of attention, and each reacts differently to the experience. 

The List takes you into the lives of eight very different girls struggling with issues of self identity, self esteem, and the judgements of their peers. Prettiest or ugliest, once you're on the list, you'll never be the same.

We're back with another YA review and I have mixed feelings about this one. The high school setting may deter readers who are much older than the intended audience but for people under 30 I'd say the themes in this book are fine. The List throws together just about every high school stereotype you can think of and pits the 'ugly' girls against the 'pretty' girls.

On the 'ugly' side there's Danielle the athlete who worries that her boyfriend with dump her now she's on the list, Candace who is pretty and popular but finds herself on the ugly list thanks to her less than attractive personality, Sarah the alt girl who breaks the rules and doesn't care what all the mainstream kids think and Jennifer who has been on the list every year she's been at high school but who now just might get the Homecoming Queen title. On the 'pretty' side there's Abby who can't deal with having an ugly sister and cares more about the list then the fact she's failing classes, Lauren the new girl who is catapulted into popularity, Bridget who has an eating disorder and believes her weight loss has made her more attractive and Margo who was a dead cert for Homecoming Queen until her ex best friend entered the running. It delves into the lives of the eight girls on the current list and how they react to it.

Initially I liked the idea and most of the characters that we're introduced but as the story went on it became more about Margo and Jennifer's relationship and when stripped back it was just about how all the girls wanted to be pretty and accepted. I expected more from a YA book about this topic and it could have been so much more but it felt like it took too much on and failed to pad out any of the stories. What you were left with was a half baked story for each girl and a shallow outlook on beauty.

Whilst I did find this a fairly easy and pleasant read I just wanted it to send more of a positive message to the audience that it was written for and that's where The List failed.


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