Nobody knows who writes "The List" each year. The Tradition has been passed on for years. The week before Homecoming "The List" appears with the names of the ugliest and the prettiest girls in each grade. Nobody has ever claimed to have written "The List." Years before the seal of the school was stolen and is used to officially emboss "The List." Each year it is passed on to someone else in secret. That person doesn't know who was the list maker before them, but then it is their turn to make "The List."
For the 8 girls on The List life changes dramatically during the week before Homecoming. This year Bridget Honeycutt is chosen as The Prettiest for the junior class. Immediately the pressure is on Bridget to look her best. This manifests in an eating disorder that she thought had been put behind her over the summer. But she is determined to fit into that smaller dress size by the end of the week. Jennifer Briggis becomes the first four-peat girl as ugliest. Her former best friend Margo was chosen as prettiest which puts her in the top running for Homecoming Queen. When Sarah finds her name on the ugliest list she is determined to fight back. She decides to not bathe for the entire week much to the disgust of the student body that have to be in classes with her. Each girl handles their fame or rejection in her own way, unfortunately letting The List change them whether for positive or negative. With one girl determined that this will be the last List EVER.
There were a few things that I disliked about this story. The cursing, the sexual situations, and the drinking/smoking. BUT, I think the story brought out a lot of how fragile young adult self-image can be. And then to have their flaws or assets brought out in public like "The List," how damaging it can be even to the most put-together teen. This was not a "feel-good" story, it didn't end with everyone experiencing their "happily ever after." High school is messy, egos and self-image are fragile and the author was able to show that in this story. And there were moments when friendships and relationships weathered the storm which made the story more palatable for me.