Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The List

Every year at Mount Washington High School, a list is posted with the names of the prettiest and the ugliest girl in each grade. No one knows who makes the list, but it changes high school for each of the girls who is singled out. Siobhan Vivian's novel, The List, spends a week in the life of the eight chosen girls.

At first I had a hard time distinguishing between the eight different narrators, and kept flipping back to the front of the book where the actual list appears. After reading a chapter about how each girl discovers she was on the list, however, I was invested and eager to know how it would play out. Siobhan Vivian is such a great writer; I loved Not That Kind of Girl, and The List is another title I will be recommending to others. One of the best things about her novels is the feminist approach she takes to discussing current high school issues. There's no one doing it quite like Vivian.

That Cover Girl has an interesting interview with Vivian about how the cover came to be. Since it was the cover was the first thing that hooked me about the novel, I was excited to learn more. I love the expression on the main girl's face, and that although I've read the book, I can't tell which character it is, or if it is an unnamed girl who didn't make the list.

Vivian's in-depth treatment of each character endeared them to me, although my favorite had to be Lauren, a home-schooled sophomore who is named prettiest. Unfamiliar with politics of high school, the list ensures that she is instantly popular, but her awkward attempts to keep up with her new clique made me cringe and hope that she could find her own place in Mount Washington.

There is great potential for discussion here, particularly between parents and daughters. I highly recommend checking this book out.

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