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.
Siobhan Vivian is the author of THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD (April 2016), as well as THE LIST, NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, SAME DIFFERENCE, and A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE. She also co-wrote BURN FOR BURN series with her best friend JENNY HAN. She currently lives in Pittsburgh.
2.5 To say that this was one of my most anticipated books of 2012, I am really disappointed. As with Not That Kind Of Girl, I thought this book had the potential to be really good and I'm sure the author set out with the greatest of intentions... and yet this novel failed to deliver. And I think that was mostly because it tried too hard to be a number of different things and, by doing so, was stretched too thin and failed to achieve any of the initial goals.
I gave the rating that extra .5 star because the book has that compulsive readability, I can't be entirely negative about a novel that is so easy to read that you can easily lose a few hours without realising it. This is a novel about teenage girls and how different an experience high school can be depending on the way you look and who your friends are. How one moment - whether fortunate or not - can completely change the way you are seen for the next four years. I liked that Siobhan Vivian recognised that being labelled in a certain way can be a blessing or a burden, depending on the person involved.
The problem is that the author bit off more than she could chew. I don't usually enjoy books with more than one POV... this had eight. EIGHT! The eight POVs were the girls, two from each grade, who were labelled prettiest and ugliet of their year by the mysterious author of THE LIST. Vivian tackles bullying, anorexia, friend troubles, family troubles, boy troubles, being an outsider... great! Five stars for intention!! But the most any character got was six chapters from their POV and this wasn't enough to fully develop their story and an understanding of the way they felt. To fully explore all of those issues mentioned you'd need a full book on each, the idea was just too ambitious.
************************spoilers ahead************************* But the worst thing that stopped me from giving this the three stars meaning "I liked it" was the lack of closure/solutions for most of the girls. Sorry for feeling the need to include these spoilers, but the ending told us nothing about more than half the girls. Will Bridget ever recover from her anorexia? She's still starving herself at the novel's end. What will Lauren do about her mum trying to pull her out of school? Accept it or fight for her right to a normal teen life? What's next for Jennifer? Will her and Margo ever smooth things over? Is Candace finally going to stop being the bitch she's always been?
There's just not enough! And there's not enough because there's too much... which is ridiculous, I know. Too many characters with their important issues that are never fully explored and never given any kind of closure. The ending was bizarre, I kept waiting for a big come-together in the last chapter that would either give me some hope that the girls would be okay or leave me with an important message that summed up what Ms Vivian wanted to say with this book.
If I was to describe this book in one word, it would be: unresolved.
Often it pays to be just in the middle of things-to be your ole regular, average self because often it sucks to be at the bottom just as it does to be on top (no innuendos intended^^) and The List accurately portrays this reality of life and what better setting can effectively show this than high school?
Labels are annoyingly inevitable part of social life and to young people’s crucial, formative years, labels may tremendously affect their self worth. Mount Washington High School’s ominous list containing the names of the ugliest and prettiest girls of every grade has become the high school’s yearly tradition and whether the girls in the school admit it or not, this list has affected them one way or another whether they are in the list or not but worse when they ARE.
I found myself completely glued in to the novel as I curiously flip page after page wanting to know what happens to these eight girls after seeing their names in the list. I was very impressed with Ms. Siobhan Vivian’s ability to voice out the inner thoughts and inner workings of these eight different girls. I find her plotline very manipulative because I keep flipping back to the list as I delve on through each of the girls’ stories. Surprisingly, the list affected the girls in different ways- some constructively, some destructively but I was particularly rooting for a few girls like Dannielle and Sarah.
Although the story was cut short and which I actually resented a bit because I’m still looking for proper resolutions, I think the author is trying to be as realistic as possible by insinuating that these labels will not stop. It’s entirely up to us how we’ll handle and react to these labels.
With trembling hands, she quickly finishes pinning the dress and puts it on…then she twists her hair up, adds a bit of lipstick. She gets ready without looking in the mirror…. She doesn’t need to see herself. She already knows. She will never be pretty...
So here’s what happens every year at Mount Washington High School. A week before Homecoming, students walk the halls in search of The List posted and scattered around the school - pinned on bulletin boards, taped to bathroom stalls, shoved in lockers, hidden in desks. This infamous List elects eight girls, two from each class, with the honor of either being The Prettiest or The Ugliest for her grade level. Sealed and embossed with MWHS’s emblem, it’s what the students of this school expect and the girls fear the most. No.no.no... it’s not a prank... it’s a tradition...
This book is both brutal and profound in several ways. I was awed at how Siobhan Vivian was able to weave this intricate story that involves some pretty harsh realities with a right amount of levity to keep me captivated but never unhinged. There were eight different girls this story follows. With Vivian’s masterful storytelling, she’s able to capture distinct voices for each so skillfully that I was never in doubt or confused at who was commanding the stage at the moment.
Leave it to Vivian to purposefully mold her own characters according to her social interpretations and not use the commonly-used stereotypes that other authors lazily fall back on. I applaud her for making the pretty cheerleader sensitive and smart, for depicting the girl-athlete as vulnerable and insecure, the smart nerd as callous and clueless, and the social outcast as deserving of her post. She made each of these girls feel real, but more importantly she makes them her own. With Vivian, you’re either going to love or despise her cast, but you have to give her credit where it’s due… she’s going to craft her characters how she interprets the world and you can’t fault her, but rather commend her for her bold characterization.
There were several reasons I rated this five stars. First being, I couldn’t stop thinking about these girls. It was daunting to see the ramifications of The List continue to compound as the story unfolds. At first consideration, you’d think that only the girls labeled as The Ugliest will suffer, right? So wrong. It was sad to see how even the girls honored with the title Prettiest had resounding effects to their sense of self. Vivian shows the reader that there are emotional consequences regardless of which side of the coin you fall. So the moral of the story was that either column you ended up on, you’re prize is either pressure or pain. These young girls are being objectified and labeled according to someone’s f%ckwit idea of what beautiful means, and my heart just broke.
Secondly, Vivian takes a very real and current issue and brings it to the forefront – insecurity. I mean look at the magazines at the checkout stand where you see models and superstars. Any normal girl will see those images and compare themselves in some small way… are my teeth white enough, is my skin flawless, how about the circumference of my arms, are they toned enough, is my hair the right style??? Am I beautiful? Do I fit the mold? The questions can go on and on, but one thing can’t be ignored - there are many girls that fight a daily battle with their reflection in the mirror. It’s no secret, it’s a harsh fact.
Lastly, throughout the story, I was constantly trying to solve the puzzle of who was responsible for this masochistic prequel to Homecoming. I had my suspects, but I was so damn surprised at who the creator of The List turned out to be. Wow! Just.. wow! I want to hug Siohbhan for her evil genius. It’s the kind of twist that has you wanting to start all over from scratch, but if you just wait a moment and ponder, you’re left with a feeling of... Oh... that makes total sense. Crafty little author she is.
Overall, this story deserves some serious attention. It proves that Siohbhan Vivian is worthy of the title “Acclaimed Author” and like her other novels, I hope she receives well earned recognition. Great job Vivian!
Adults sometimes shouldn't review teen fiction. Or at least, we should get some teenagers to review it too.
The List by Siobhan Vivian is about eight high school girls, two from each grade, who are put on The List during homecoming week at Mount Washington High. The List is a list of the prettiest - and ugliest - girls in each grade, two for each. The book follows all of the girls through the week, narrating their reactions, the school's reactions, and the events that follow because of this list. The List is as followed:
(U) Danielle Demarco: Freshman, who is nicknamed "Dan the Man" because of her athletic ability and worries how her upperclassmen boyfriend will react.
(P) Abby Warner: Freshmen, who must deal with her unattractive older sister - who thinks The List is not an accomplishment at all - and the fact that she's failing class.
(U) Candace Kincaid: Sophomore, who despite being popular, almost immediately finds herself alone.
(P) Lauren Finn: Sophomore, the new, previously home schooled, girl suddenly finds herself with so many friends she can't remember their names.
(U) Sarah Singer: Junior, who rebels against everything those silly preps do, takes it to the next level by being the ugliest she can be for the whole week. Even if it means smelling awful.
(P) Bridget Honeycutt: Junior, who used to be pudgy, but thanks to a summer dose of anorexia looks better than ever - if you can see her from the sides.
(U) Jennifer Briggis: Senior, who been named Ugliest Girl for the fourth year in a row, and now is thinking about being Homecoming Queen.
(P) Margo Gable: Senior, who was assumed to be the Homecoming Queen, but now has to face the competition - and her guilt - from her ex. BFF.
A "List" of interesting characters, no? That's what I said too, when I first read the flap. These girls sound interesting, if not relatable. Or so I thought until I got halfway through the book. By Wednesday, it's clear who the main attraction is in this high school circus: Jennifer and Margo are center stage with their thoughts about their previous life as inseparable friends until the end of middle school and their unintentional battle for homecoming queen. After all, who wouldn't give a pity vote for the girl with the unheard of title of Ugly for Four Years?
Abby and Danielle share their ring pretty evenly, all without coming in contact with one another. Abby deals with her freshman drama of finally becoming noticed enough to be invited to a Sophomore boy's party. Trouble is, she's failing science and so is in danger of not going to the dance. Meanwhile, Danielle struggles with her insecurity that her Sophomore boyfriend's friends are making her boyfriend forget she's really a girl. Not to mention she's attracted the varsity swim coach's attention, pointing a big red arrow to the already freak flag she thinks she's flying. These girls have nothing to do with each other, except that Abby's been invited to Danielle's boyfriend's party... and Danielle hasn't.
On the other side of our three-ring circus is Bridget and Lauren, also two cast members who entertain the audience separately. Lauren - the Sophomore - who's been lonely and shy her whole life, finds herself surrounded by people now that want to be her friends. Sure the reasons aren't pure, but she's just glad these girls want to talk to her. Nevermind that her lonely mother - and somewhat sadly her best friend - sees right through their act. Bridget falls off the wagon after just starting to eat healthy again after the summer, but The List made sure she wasn't touching a crumb until the dance. This ring isn't qualified by how much these two interact, but by how much time the author spends on them. Which is sadly a lot.
And lastly, but in my opinion the most interesting, is the side show attraction of Sarah and Candace. Candace used to be popular and had to be picky with who got to hang out with her on what day, but thanks to The List those days are gone. Sarah, in her ever consisting battle to show the school she won't succumb to their social standards, decides to forego personal hygiene - from showering to changing even her underwear - for the entire week until the dance. These two characters, for me, held the greatest potential. Candace, with her struggle of maybe being a bitch isn't such a good idea. Maybe she knew that all along but it was the only way she knew how to get attention. Her range of emotion that's actually explored is slim pickings, but aggravatingly she shows promise of being a deep thinker, only for the reader to be whisked away to our three rings of plot. Sarah, with her struggle to prove something to the school, borders on psychotic and almost masochistic as she refuses to take care of her body or open up her mind to her kinda-sorta-maybe-not-really boyfriend. Their relationship is complex in the teen fiction way - he practically loves her, yet she keeps him at bay because of her insecurities - and she pushes away all contact with people with not only her smell but her snide, sarcastic, prickly attitude that would make a cactus proud. These two get the least amount of plot time, which I found disappointing.
Truth be told, I found this whole book to be lacking. The relationships the characters have are formulaic - not to mention the characters themselves are stereotypical for the YA novels of today. Once, I'd like to read a book about an anorexic girl who isn't trying to fit into a prom dress or look like the cheerleaders. Once, I'd like to read a book about a punk girl who wasn't trying to say "Screw you, World" and lifting her middle finger to the sky. Once, I'd like to read a book about two ex. friends who didn't break up because one went to join the popular crowd and couldn't bring along the other. Once, I'd like to completely follow a girl entering high school after nine years of home schooling and to not have crazy parents. This book started with promise. Promise that maybe these eight girls were something more than just what the list thought them to be. Promise that they'd find a bond of being Listed. Promise that this would be the book to show people that people are people, not stereotypes. But unfortunately, no dice. It's later discovered these girls weren't picked to make their lives different. Just because the person wanted to pick them.
Initially, I picked up this book because of all the great reviews on the back flap. The front flap summery, while interesting did not entirely convince me. What assured me of a great read were all the raving reviews about the book in the back. Sometimes though, adults shouldn't be allowed to review teen fiction because they say things that they think we think, but don't. It's not heartbreaking. It's not witty. It's not a coming of age sorta story that makes you think about your life. Hell, the characters aren't even that engaging. You read because you want to know what this girl did on this day. And it's 'cause there's eight of them that you can make a book like this. Now could there be a book about a list of girls and only follow one of them? Sure. But it'd have to be a whole lot longer than a week and a plot that would somehow relate to everything. Because at the end of this book, it isn't about the list. It's about eight people that have nothing - or a little - to do with each other. My theory? The author couldn't decide which one to follow for a whole 330-some pages.
i actually can't remember if there was a hot or not list at my middle school, or if this was just such an inexplicably pervasive phenomenon in tv shows / books / movies / various media that it felt like there was.
either way, i do not remember where i placed along that list, although i'm assuming since i vaguely place it as when i was somewhere between 12 and 14 that it was not a flattering position.
i've only read two siobhan vivian books, but both tried so hard to be and fell so short of actually being feminist that it was almost physically painful.
so if i do pick up another, it will only be due to a memory failing or act of fictional whimsy the likes of my own experience with a List.
this is part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago. this is the closest to a review i've ever gotten
2.5 stars. This book had a lot of potential, but was ultimately ruined by a focus on too many topics at once.
The List is about standards of beauty and how they play into the friendships between girls. I liked the message the author was trying to get across. Unfortunately, the author touches on too many topics without adequate development or closure. In fact, the ending barely closes off anything.
As an example, the author is clearly trying to call out slutshaming. Unfortunately, there are many instances of slutshaming within the book that aren't addressed within the narrative. Another example: there's an eating disorder storyline which is never resolved. The ending flat-out leaves it ambiguous as to whether Bridget will ever recover. Perhaps it's meant to arouse feelings in the reader, but I don't feel it works here. Rather than actively choosing this open ending, it feels as if the author simply couldn't be bothered to close off this storyline.
I had mixed feelings on the characters. Abby and her sister were likable enough. Same with Danielle and her best friend. I absolutely loved Lauren and Candace's story and their friendship development. Sarah's character was a standout here as well. She's a loner girl who couldn't care less about typical beauty. Unfortunately, a badly-developed romance took away from the impact of her story. Bridget's storyline was touching and well-developed, although again, it lacked any form of closure.
The two senior girls I found... completely unappealing. Jennifer is okay for most of the book, and it turns out that she I also was completely uninvested in Margo.
Altogether, the message of the book was good, and the author did a good job integrating so many topics and making all the characters memorable. (I didn't forget who any of them were, even two days after finishing!) Unfortunately, the storyline and pacing feel messy and abstract. This novel reads like the first draft of an incredible novel. Tentatively recommended.
“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.”
----Simone de Beauvoir
Siobhan Vivian, the New York Times bestselling author, has penned an incredibly enlightening and an entrancing contemporary young adult fiction, The List in which the author has woven a story about eight high school teenage girls from various grades who are picked up for a list that labels four of the girls as the ugliest in their high school and rest four as the prettiest, but little did they knew that before the homecoming dance, this list would actually ruin their lives and their relationships, no matter how good or bad they are labelled as.
This riveting exploration of physical appearance and the status it confers opens a cultural conversation that’s needed to happen for a long time.
Every year during homecoming week, a list is posted anonymously at Mount Washington High naming the prettiest and ugliest girls in each class. Abby, who finds it easier to get credit for her looks than hard work, and Danielle, whose swimmer’s physique gets her labeled “ugly,” are this year’s freshman duo. The list confers instant status, transforming formerly home-schooled sophomore Lauren from geeky to hot while consigning her counterpart, pretty-but-mean Candace, to pariah. But what the label mainly confers is anxiety. Prettiest junior Bridget despairs that she’ll ever be thin enough to merit her title; Sarah takes refuge in anger, vowing to earn her ugly label big-time. Jennifer, four-time “ugliest” winner, tries to relish the notoriety. Margo’s title should make her the slam-dunk choice for homecoming queen, but will it? Whether clued in or clueless to the intricate social complexities, boyfriends reinforce the status quo, while moms carry scars of their own past physical insecurities.
The issue is seldom front and center in books for teens, but Vivian refuses to falsify or avoid the uncomfortable realities that looks alone confer status, and their power is greatest when obscured by the pretense that “looks don’t matter.”
Mount Washington High school turns into a nightmare for some girls and into a boon from an evil curse for a handful of girls, every year in the month of September, right before the Homecoming day when a Homecoming King and Queen is elected. Every year from the freshmen to sophomore to junior to senior grades, two girls are picked or rather say, labelled as "ugly" or "pretty" in The List that decides the fate of the eight teenage girls on whether they would win the title or not. Little did girls like, Abby, Danielle, Lauren, Candace, Bridget, Sarah, Jennifer and Margo knew that they would make the list that year and that would completely change their personal as well as social lives and circles, for the better or for the worse, but whatever the outcome is, this list is going to destroy their relationships and friendships. But can the girls overcome this challenge or will they ever find out who is behind this social stigma?
This is the first time that I read any books by this author and before picking up a copy of this book, I wasn't expecting much from this particular book. And boy, oh boy, it surprised me a lot, not because of the author's writing style or prose, but only because of the story line that the author has flawlessly created and that gripped me through out the entire story line. The sharp edge of brutal honesty reflects from each and every pages and that astounded me on how much real the story line felt and how vividly the author captured about a fragile and young world where body shaming can ruin some one's future.
The author's writing style is okay, not that perfect or coherent, because there are eight main characters and sometimes it feels tedious to read about the drama happening in their lives. The narrative is dull yet it has that power to stimulate the young minds, and sways smoothly with the pace of the book. The one problem is that the dialogues lack the depth of emotions, although from the grounds of social morality, the whole story is going to incite anger many young teenagers and their parents and eventually finding resolutions and closure in the climax.
The characters are well developed, but since there are so many characters, somewhere in the story line, their personal stories get overlapped eventually that will leave the readers a bit confused. The main eight characters reflect authenticity and realism thorough their demeanor. Their fight and struggle to overcome from the label, be it good or bad is real to the very core and is bound to strike a chords with those who have faced the same situation in their lives. The supporting characters are good enough and peak the interest level of the story line.
The issues that this book raise are very much real and every single day, girls are becoming a victim to this social stigma. And the author deals with this cause with much sensitivity and emotions that will motivate the common people especially the parents and the teachers of the victims to curb this social stigma from spreading. The author sends a strong message through this book and it hits rightly through the souls of the people and encourages them to take a step against this issue of body shaming and labeling young girls upon their beauty, looks and figure.
In a nutshell, this is a must read book for not only the young teenage girls but also for their parents and teachers, that will compel them from their very core to understand the gravity of such a social issue.
Verdict: A book that narrates many every day fights of young and ambitious teenage girls.
Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Harper Collins India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this bool.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin (UK) Limited and NetGalley.)
“Freshmen Uglist: Danielle DeMarco – Also known as Dan the Man.”
This was a YA contemporary story about a group of girls on prettiest/ugliest list.
There were several main characters in this and it was quite hard to keep up with them all. I felt quite sorry for the girls who were labelled as ugly, especially with the treatment they then received from their friends.
The storyline in this basically followed the girls on the list from their reactions to it until prom queen was announced, and showed how things were different for the ‘ugly’ girls compared to the ‘pretty’ girls, although both seemed to have their own problems to deal with, so they really weren’t all that different at all.
The ending to this was okay, and I felt that the right person had won prom queen.
“That's how inside jokes usually are. Funny to those inside, annoying as shit to the rest of the world.” ― Siobhan Vivian, The List
This is going to be a tough book to review. I say that because for most of the book I thought it was going to be five stars. I loved it..until the end. And if you have read this I am sure you will guess my complaint because I have read several reviews that all mention what I am going to mention.
So this book is from the POV of eight different High School girls. Every year, at this school a list comes out. The list contains eight names. The prettiest and the ugliest girl from each grade. That's it.
The book is about the impact of the list for each of those eight girls..the four voted prettiest and the four voted least pretty.
I adore realistic YA Fiction and for most of it, I enjoyed this book. The characters were real and fleshed out and I was amazed at how well the author got into the heads of these young girls.
You know, connecting to characters is pivotal in any book. And I admire the writer for taking us down the path of EIGHT different girls, each so distinctive that their voices were heard clearly and the reader could feel their angst and pain.
And unlike some, I had no issue with having so many POVS. I really didn't. One of my all time favorite YA books, Lois Duncan's "Daughters of Eve" has I believe TEN..or possibly more..POV'S. So what's eight? Works for me!
What did not work for me was the ending. And I am not one to take TWO points off for an ending. But it was such a let down to such an awesome book and the last book I read this year to complete my reading challenge. I was hoping for a five!
OK..I could have understood if one or two of the girls were not touched upon. But the book does not tell us about how things turn out for ANY of the girls! Now that is not my thing. I invested hours of my day reading this. And the end is so sudden I had to go back to make sure I had not missed something.
We do not know ANYTHING. It is like the book HAD no ending. You are just reading and it stops. Meanwhile all the characters you are invested in..I mean you find out NOTHING. You do not even find out what happens at this dance the whole book was leading up to. The book ends with about two percent of the book devoted to the dance.
I do not think these type of endings are hip or cool or thought provoking at all. Not when the books seems UNFINISHED. Unless this is a start of a new series and I don't know that, (in which case I will happily apologize and bump my rating up to a five) then I don't get it.I almost feel like..what was the point?
And I do feel cheated and now the whole book feels a bit manipulative. All that fighting..everyone is mad at someone. And such deep issues are explored. Can we, the reader, not know anything about how one thing in the book turns out? It maybe one of the oddest endings I've ever read. I am not kidding.
I also felt for Jennifer and could not stand Margo even though I felt at the end the writer was attempting to give her some soul. It did not work as she may have been my least favorite character. And she gets crowned Homecoming queen. That's it. None of the other seven girls, all in the midst of deep emotional issues, are even mentioned again. What gives?
What Jennifer did was pretty horrible but she was one hurting puppy and I got that. Margo on the other hand..I could not feel anything for her but contempt.
I LOVED Laura. I want Laura as a friend! In fact she reminds me of one of my closest friends. What a beautifully woven character!
So a three rating it is. I adored the book for ninety percent and that count for something. If you don't mind having literally no ending, you will most likely enjoy the book if you like YA.
Una historia entretenida que deja un mensaje claro. Esperaba un poco más de ella, pero no estuvo del todo mal. Me hubiera gustado que profundizara más en algunas chicas, pues las historias eran muy buenas y creo que con un énfasis mayor podría haber abordado con más fuerza algunos temas complicados, que de todas maneras le aplaudo por elegir. Es de esos libros que me habría encantado que me agradaran más, pero su simpleza, cosa que es buenísima considerando la meta de edad a la que quiere llegar hizo que me faltara eso.
A light, quick read - The List follows eight girls who have been named ugliest or pretties on this "List" which has been posted around the school every year for decades. You think being a "prettiest" would be easy? Think again!
Although The List addresses several teen issues throughout the story, it ended up being a much fluffier read than I expected. With eight different points of view, we're taken into each of the four ugliest, as well as the four prettiest girls' lives spanning the week after being put on this List. Each girl has their own personal problems above now having to deal with being the center of attention. We've got an eating disorder, overprotective mother, outcast rebel, and of course plenty or romantic issues; all thoroughly interesting, some even deeply serious, but sadly most of these go unresolved leaving us with no idea of what's going to happen to these girls. I also kept wondering why the faculty had let this go on for so long, especially seeing the damage it does to the girls on it. I have a hard time believing that they simply let it be because it's a "tradition". Bullying is not taken lightly; parents would have spoken up years ago where I come from.
We've got eight lives to follow, which means a lot of POVs. I had to go back and check the List a few times to remind myself who they were, overall, though, I didn't find it was too much - having this list handy makes it easy to keep track. However, I've always been a fan of multiple perspectives. I found myself really liking the girls, too. They are a fun bunch, all with vastly different personalities that will either enamor or disgust you.
Without getting too profound, this novel is simply about the lives of these girls after they're hit with a target on their backs. Either prettiest or ugliest, this List doesn't favor anybody and consequences are dealt with. I wish it would have delved deeper into their lives, maybe have it span longer than a week, but all in all it's an entertaining read that I would be more inclined to recommend to the younger YA readers.
Llegue a este libro esperando algo completamente distinto creí que sería narrado por la creadora de la lista e interactuaría con cada una de las chicas, en cambio me encuentro con que es narrado desde el punto de vista de las 8 chicas las mas "feas" y las más "bonitas". Este libro me recordó perfectamente lo que es estar en secundaria y que el mundo a tu alrededor sea tan superficial como para que estas cosas importen, pero sobre todo toco varias fibras sensibles de mi yo del pasado sin buena autoestima en varios momentos me sentí identificada con una u otra chica, por lo cual este libro me pareció estupendo y se habría llevado las 5 estrellas de no ser por ese terrible final lo sentí tan incompleto.
Ahora quiero hablar de cada uno de los personajes y lo que me pareció:
DANIELLE DEMARCO (También conocida como Dan, el hombre.): Danielle una chica que jamás se sintió fea hasta que se lo dijeron (definitivamente me puedo sentir identificada con eso) odie ver como se iba destruyendo su autoestima, las inseguridades que sentía y al idiota de su novio que no la apoyo, ni defendió, ni le dijo que esas tonterías no importaban, odie verla hacer cosas para probarles a los demás que era femenina, cuando no se sentía cómoda con eso y me encanto que al final lograra sentirse bien con ella misma, se diera a respetar y recuperara su confianza.
ABBY WARNER (Puntos extras por superar la genética familiar.): el personaje más molesto en mi opinión la más superficial y la que cree que estar en la lista es lo mejor que le pudo haber pasado (aunque solo tiene 14 años) ni ella ni Fern me parecieron interesantes me aburrían sus capítulos.
CANDACE KINCAID (La belleza no es solo superficial.): ¿qué puede ser peor que ser escogida como la más fea? Ser escogida como la más fea por lo que eres en el interior, Candace me parece el personaje que más evoluciono y maduro durante el libro creo que es horrible lo que le paso pero también fue lo que le hizo darse cuenta de que quería ser mejor, me habría gustado saber más de lo que fue de ella después del baile.
LAUREN FINN (Todos se sienten atraídos por la chica nueva.): la inocencia personificada, ella me encanto pero su relación con su mamá me estresaba mucho, el cómo su mamá quería aferrarse a ella y haciéndola sentir culpable y siempre metiéndose en sus asuntos no se creo que yo me habría vuelto loca.
SARAH SINGER (¡Es como si ella intentara ser lo más fea posible!): Sarah también me desespero bastante, entiendo su punto de no querer ser parte de lo que todos hacen y odiar a la gente y eso pero no tienes que ser una odiosa, amargada y una perra todo el tiempo y mucho menos con las personas que te quieren como Milo que me pareció un chico super lindo (un chico que si sabe como apoyar a su novia y decir las cosas correctas) por lo cual odiaba como lo trataba Sarah y ¿Cuál era su punto con no bañarse? a nadie le importaba solo se estaba lastimando a si misma.
BRIDGET HONEYCUTT (La diferencia que se puede marcar en un verano.): El personaje que más me lastimo y la razón número 1 por la cual la novela no debió de haber terminado así. Ella representaba lo que las chicas pueden llegar a ser por tratar de seguir los estándares sociales, como un comentario puede terminar de romperte, la presión por llegar a ser lo que para los demás es alguien “bonita” cuando creo que internamente ella era hermosa, la destruyeron por dentro y si alguien se merecía un mejor final era ella.
JENNIFER BRIGGIS (¡La única nombrada cuatro veces seguidas en la historia de Mount Washington!, ¡Felicidades Jennifer!): la prueba de lo malas personas en que nos podemos convertir si nos dejamos guiar por lo físico. Un personaje lleno de rencor que no dudo en hacer a otras lo que habían hecho con ella, me entristece demasiado lo que paso con Jennifer y como no pudo seguir adelante y ser feliz se aferro a lo superficial y a ser parte de ello, se dejo llenar de odio, envidia y celos. ¿Se merecía lo que le hizo Margo? no, pero no quita las cosas malas que ella hizo.
MARGO GABLE (acamen a la reina del baile de bienvenida): Todos perdemos amigos, todos dejamos amigos en el pasado, pero ¿cómo se decide quién es el malo?, ¿el que abandono?, ¿el que puso su felicidad por encima del otro?, ¿Dónde está la línea que separa al egoísmo de la búsqueda de tú felicidad?
So, I wanted to really, really like this book, but the ending was so abrupt that I just can't. Every year in this high school, a list comes out naming the prettiest and ugliest girls in each grade. The List deals with the fallout of this list over the next week. But is it really just over the course of one week?
Being listed as the prettiest junior encourages one girl's budding eating disorder - which is also wreaking havoc on her relationship with her younger sister. This isn't something that ends with the Homecoming Dance, which is where the book ends.
One girl is flunking her Earth Science class, but takes pride in her status as prettiest. What is going to happen to her the rest of the year? Is she going to get her act together? Realize that those sophomore boys are only talking to her because she's prettiest? Or that those sophomore boys see the words "most f***able" when the page says "prettiest"?
Another girl is physically attractive, but listed as ugliest because she's so mean. Did she learn her lesson? I can't really tell. She gets kind of sad when her friends abandon her, but does this cause her to evaluate her behavior and become better person?
A previously home-schooled girl is listed as prettiest, and it freaks her mom out, resulting in a decision to sell the house they just inherited and move. Does she talk her mom out of it? Does she persuade her mother that moving is a bad, bad idea when the decision is made so abruptly and with so little information?
Or our seniors: Does the list-writer get rid of the stamp or choose the next list-writer by passing it on? She leaves the dance before giving it to so-and-so to throw out as agreed. How does the prettiest senior deal with her friends after they shifted their allegiances to the ugliest senior? Do those friends remain allies with the ugliest senior? I don't think they do, but I can't quite tell. And how does the ugliest senior deal with going back to school after getting a brief taste of popularity, then losing the race for Homecoming Queen?
While I really appreciate the issues Vivian tried to address in this book and the conclusion she tried to reach (superficial evaluations based solely on appearance suck butt), I feel that she fell short of the mark by following the characters for only a week. These are big-deal issues, and they need more time than Vivian allowed them. I was (obviously) left with a significant number of questions. While I often appreciate endings that leave some loose ends, I don't want to be so bogged down in questions about the characters' futures that I finish the book and ask, "Where's the rest of it? What happens to all these people?"
Now, I will allow that answering most of the remaining questions about eight different characters, when your book is already 325 pages long, is a lot to ask. But this just makes me wonder if, maybe, the author should have considered writing the story differently. I can almost see this as a series of 8 (characters) or 4 (class year) books, where each book follows the characters for a semester or the whole year. I just need more. Does the anorexic get help or starve herself to death? Does Sarah change her punk style (and then perhaps go back to it when she can't stand being a drone anymore)? Does Danielle's sudden return to the varsity swim team cause tension between her and Hope? How does this experience change Margo's thoughts on college? I even want to know more about Fern, and I think it would be interesting to see her applying to colleges at the same time as Margo. (In my high school, Honors/AP track students started working on applications their junior year so they could be sent by Homecoming; regular students waited until their senior year.)
So, I'll stop babbling now and summarize my point: Good idea, bad execution. Well-written, but lacking satisfying resolutions. Having read other books by this author, I'm not totally turned off her writing, but I will avoid books with too many characters. And a final note: Another uncorrected proof someone at work got for early review, then added to the book exchange in the "lounge".
*I'm in a minority here. A big, lonely minority* You know that annoying plot mountain concept? The fact that a story has a beginning, middle, and end? Here's a little demo:
Yeah, well this book has NONE OF IT. Well, maybe I'm being a bit harsh. It had a prolonged intro. I was waiting for almost two hundred pages for it to be over. Some books start their rising action at twenty friggin' pages and this book HAS NONE. You get to know the character's problems and... and... and... literally NOTHING ELSE.
Okay, I might, just might, have forgiven this author of she at least made the characters interesting, not two-dimensional wannabes who only care about this stuoid list. It was like, cliche high school, cliche relationships, cliche characters. Whatever component of this book is good must be beyond me. *scoffs*
What a disappointment! I really wanted this to be good, like REALY wanted to love it, and it had such potential! But the characters were all high-school cliches and the ending was so unsatisfying and gave literally no closure - apart from Danielle, you go Danielle!
The List is ridiculously heartbreaking. It's meant to be. But for me, it was absolutely ... gutwrenching. As someone who suffered with depression as a teenager, I knew the book would be pretty personal and touchy but ... holy crap. I was a messy puddle of emotions on my bedroom floor when I closed the book. It's like Siobhan Vivian reached into my head, gripped every insecurity I had about myself as a teenager and squeezed. Hard.
Before I get into how much this book made me feel, I'll start with something slightly negative. Only slightly. While reading, I wasn't a huge fan of the constant character changing. There are eight girls, eight separate stories and point of views. I both loved and hated certain characters, so I would feel a bit antsy sitting through ALL of their chapters because I just wanted to get to the girls with stories that I actually cared for. But after I finished the novel and set it down, it all felt really ... necessary. The characters - to me - represent every kind of girl; shy, smart, innocent, mean, etc. And to get a glimpse at how beauty is perceived on every angle was so brilliant and eye-opening, even if this is just fiction.
I already talked about how emotionally overwhelming this book was for me, but let me just clarify one more time: THIS BOOK MADE ME FEEL ALL THE THINGS. All of them. Each of the characters had distinguishing personalities and emotions and they all had battles to face when the list was put up so I was never bored, even if I didn't particularily like the character I was reading about. And the way Vivian entwined all of their stories at the very end was so powerful. Some characters had happy endings, some didn't. I appreciated that she took a more authentic approach to ending the book instead of giving each of them a light, fluffy conclusion.
Overall, if my incoherent gushfest didn't clue you in, I absolutely loved The List. It's so raw and heartwrenching and authentic. I really feel like this is a book that any young girl struggling with her looks should read. If I was a teenager when I read this, I like to think it would have opened my eyes to the fact that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of you, only what you think of yourself. I definitely recommend!
The List es una novela Young Adult autoconclusiva que cogí con muchas ganas. Es una novela de la que he oído hablar cosas bastante buenas y otras no tanto. Pero aún así tenía ganas de leerla y tener mi opinión. The List cuenta la historia de ocho chicas totalmente diferentes y con una historia propia que nos muestra cómo son y por qué aparecen en dicha lista. Lo primero que me llamó la atención y lo que, de hecho, más me ha gustado de esta novela es la lista que aparece en la historia. Es lo más original y nunca he leído una novela que gire en torno a una lista frívola y cruel, típica de los institutos estadounidenses. La lista sin duda es lo más apasionante de la novela, la que sirve de enlace entre todos los personajes y la que hace que la autora nos cuenta la historia desde el punto de vista de todas las chicas cuando aparecen en dicha lista ya sea en el lado de las guapas o de las feas. Me gusta que The List muestre la frivolidad de los institutos competitivos de Estados Unidos, muestra cómo es la sociedad y cómo es allí el instituto. Bastante diferente a España. El libro es una crítica -o así me lo he tomado yo- a dicho sistema competitivo y superficial que tanto estiman en Estados Unidos. Me ha gustado también que el libro cuente ocho historias paralelas y relacionadas por diversos motivos. El libro no es más que conocer a las chicas que aparecen en la lista e integrarnos en sus vidas durante un par de días. Lo más negativo que he encontrado ha sido que a veces se hace demasiado largo y que algunas de las chicas me aburrían soberanamente. The List tiene una trama entretenida, típicamente estadounidense, una crítica buena entre líneas y hace pasar un buen rato. No me ha parecido nada del otro mundo pero me ha hecho pasar un rato de lectura ameno y entretenido.
Tenía las expectativas demasiado altas con este libro y me ha decepcionado muchísimo. Prometía ser una historia de instituto desenfadada, sencilla, cómica a la par que dramática (lo que yo suelo llamar "libro transito" para salir de un bloqueo lector) pero no he encontrado nada de eso. Es un cúmulo de personajes e historias, donde cada capítulo es narrado por una chica diferente con sus melodramas propios. La acumulación de nombres hace que sea casi imposible seguir las diversas tramas, también demasiado pesadas. La descripción del día a día que hacen las chicas es innecesaria, muchos capítulos no aportan nada, son meras divagaciones, y favorece que se pierda el hilo de nuevo. La escritura es rápida, capítulos breves que hacen que el lector se ubique momentáneamente para volver a cambiar de protagonista enseguida. Aparte de esto, abundan los clichés, las chicas "tontitas", los "machos alfa" del equipo de fútbol, los problemas de autoestima que se sufren en la adolescencia y sus consecuencias, los adultos autoritarios, las situaciones típicas del instituto que intentan hacer reír y carecen de gracia... En fin, creo que queda bastante claro el concepto. Buscaba una comedia fácil de digerir y me encontré un batiburrillo de cosas que han hecho que esta sea mi peor lectura del año.
The whole time I was reading this book---I kept thinking about a comment that Sally Field made in an interview many years ago. She said, "I cannot live up to all the images that people have assigned to me---it would be like chasing ghosts."
Popularity, social outcasts, cliques, friends, enemies, rejection, acceptance,---are the ingredients to a well rounded high school life. No matter the social circle a young teenage girl is blessed with or cursed by, she can never experience friendships characterized by love, compassion, and understanding when she does not love her own body and mind. The greatest friend we have lies within the depths of our souls.
The List took me back---and I sit in sadness because young people need to learn early on that appearances can make for false perceptions that turn into unfortunate and harsh realities for some.
SHE CAN HARDLY BE A TRUE FRIEND TO ANOTHER, WHO IS AN ENEMY TO HERSELF. ---James Howell
Every year, 8 girls get listed as the "ugliest" or the "prettiest" girl of their year. For this years prettiest, we have freshman Abby Warner, sophomore Lauren Finn, junior Bridget Honeycutt, and senior Margo Gable. For the ugliest, we have freshman Danielle Demarco, Candace Kincaid, Sarah Singer, and Jennifer Briggis (who's been listed as the ugliest for the last three years as well, making her the only student who has been listed all four years).
The story happens over a span of six days, following the eight different girls and how the list has affected them.
For Abby, ever since the list came out and listed her as the prettiest (and for overcoming family genetics), her older sister has been distant. While the two sisters have always been so different [her older sister being scholastic and Abby being rather materialistic], they still were on good terms with her. That was before the list comes out.
For Danielle Demarco, the list has a negative effect on her. She was labeled the ugliest (and called "Dan the Man"), which only ends up having a negative effect on her insecurity. I, right off the bat, felt sympathetic towards Danielle (and the other "uglies") because no girl should ever be called the ugliest of her year, and then be ridiculed for her features. Danielle is athletic, really strong, and is really muscular. [However, when you read the book, you'll later find out that she was listed as the ugliest for an even dumber reason. When Danielle was listed ugliest, it all goes sour for her. Her relationship with her boyfriend (from camp) becomes distant and she became too fixated on trying to understand why she was on the list and why her boyfriend was distant, rather than her swim.
For sophomore ugliest, we have Candace Kincaid. She's not ugly on the outside, but she is on the inside. While the first chapter that she was introduced in showed how "shallow" she is, I never truly understood why her friends were so quick to complain to others that she was so "mean" and insufferable. Shallow, yes. Ugly on the inside? Not really. In the span of the book, her arc demonstrates that she's not that bad of a person. (By the end of the book, I really liked how far her character developed).
For sophomore's prettiest, we have Lauren Finn (listed and described with "everyone's hot for the new girl"). Having been homeschooled, Lauren didn't have that many friends. It doesn't help that her mother is extremely protective (and that she calls her mother "mommy"). Her grandfather has died, leaving her mother and her a house to live in. While I didn't mind Lauren's character often, I minded her mother a lot. She was controlling, made too many quick assumptions, evasive and was too close-minded. By the end of Lauren's arc, I found myself annoyed with how it ended for her. Her character arc was the one that needed most improvement.
For junior's ugliest, we have rebel Sarah Singer. Pissed that she's on the list (not because she cares about the list, but because at this time, she's insecure about her boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend), she decides to prove to the school that she can get uglier by not showering at all and wearing the same clothes everyday. I felt sympathetic for Sarah (as I did for Danielle) because she was insecure when it comes to her boyfriend, and the list just made it so much worse. [Spoiler: she was listed because the girl who listed her hated her rebel, tough girl act and wanted to call her out on it.]
For junior's prettiest, we have Bridget Honeycutt. Having been slightly overweight, she ends up with an eating disorder over the summer after trying on a swim suit and, to her horror, finds out it does not fit her. Too ashamed to not put it back (and because her mother's impatiently waiting for her), she buys it. She ended up starving herself, running whenever she gets hungry--and by the time she came back to school, she's skinny. The list doesn't really impact her life, because she was more fixated on her weight (something her sister, who's best friend with freshman's prettiest, is worried over). She ends up trying random cleanses in hopes of losing even more weight before Homecoming. She then decides that starving herself would be an even better method, cause then there would be nothing to have to worry about. This ends up with a falling out between her and her sister, and that's how her arc ends. In another character's chapter, she talks to Bridget, who's too sad at Homecoming over her sister's annoyance at her. The list had little to do with her eating disorder, but the chapter had it as if the list is the reason that caused her falling out with her sister.
For senior's ugliest, we have Jennifer Briggis. She's the only girl who has won the ugliest for the last three years. With that kind of record, you (the audience/readers) are supposed to feel sorry for her. Right off the bat, she takes the label with pride. It mentions how the first year (freshman year), when she found out she was humiliated and ungracefully reacted (crying, wailing, flailing, throwing up, the works). I felt sympathetic for her then, but that was it. She was making a scene over something very shallow and trivial. She had friends (girls from choir) of her own, but she always thought she was prettier than them, superior than them, better than them, the works. That's when my sympathy for the character ended. We later learn that she's overweight and used to be good friends with senior's prettiest, Margo Gamble. This is a character you wanted to feel sympathetic for--but as the story progresses, you realize how she shouldn't have won "ugliest" for her looks. She should have won it for her ugly personality [her ugly personality tops Candace's]. Margo's two best friends take sympathy on her, and decides to try to help campaign for her to win homecoming queen. They invite her to a pre-homecoming party (for Jennifer's behalf) at Margo's house, where she proves to be as terrible as ever as she "pretends" to go to the bathroom and then goes into Margo's room and tries to find her diary. [You learn throughout the book from Margo's perspective chapters that she stopped being friends with Jennifer because of how clingy and obsessive Jen was towards her, and how Jen always made her feel so bad about herself]. We then learn that Jennifer, throughout her life, has always read Margo's diary in order to put Margo "back in her place" whenever she was "out of line." I stopped feeling sorry for her. She got so petty over the hopes of winning homecoming queen (as a way to stick it to her ex-friend, Margo) she goes running to the principal when she hears that Sarah (Junior's ugliest) might pull some type of stunt at the homecoming dance.
Margo Gable was senior's prettiest. While she was slightly shallow at some times, she was a sympathetic character. Her best friends, Dana and Rachel, were too busy feeling sorry over Jennifer (painting Jen as the innocent victim, while Margo was painted as the villain). She had a strained relationship with her older sister. She still feels guilty for cutting Jennifer out of her life, but reasoned it was for the best--because of Jennifer's obsession with Margo. She even calls herself out on it in front of her friends, which was something that made me realize that she's not really a mean girl.
Overall, the story's pacing is slow and all over the place (as it follows eight different character). While we, the readers, find out who is the one behind this year's list (and the previous few years), we never ever get to see the principal or other girls (sans Margo) find out who created this year's list. Too many endings are left ambiguous, some more painfully obvious than others.
This book had a great concept but a poor execution.
"The List" is such a heartbreaking, smart, funny, book! It has really captured the lives of high school girls, and their issues with identity, self-esteem, and judgement from others. Most importantly, the danger of labels.
2 1/2 stars. I think this is one of those cases where the author bit off more than she could chew.
Let's start with the positive. I really appreciated the diversity and the examination of different kinds of girls in school. There were airheads, mean girls, ones with pent-up anger, and genuinely nice girls. This book showed girls under the pressure of their cliques to maintain a perfect image, girls hiding their problems behind a beautiful smile, and worst of all - jealousy, guilt, and betrayal. It was a whirlwind of drama.
The basic summary is that a list goes around every year and on it are the names of the prettiest and ugliest girls in school. Some of the girls are surprised where their names end up and the twisted tradition, unsurprisingly, causes a lot of problems.
The leader of a popular group, Cadence, starts questioning how nice she really is when the list names her "ugliest on the inside," Danielle's doubts toward her boyfriend grow when he doesn't stick up for her after she is nominated ugliest, and Bridget's eating disorder she has struggled to overcome last year flares back up.
So many different problems were looked at - money issues at home, sister rivalries, bad boyfriends, fake friends, and body image issues. I thought the author did a great job at digging into each of these girls' minds and laying out all their thoughts for the reader to understand and sympathize with.
When I started this book I thought it could easily be four star material, for the plot and narratives were set up perfectly. What could go wrong? But it gradually became apparent that the author missed a lot of potential when, near the end of the book, I realized the plot wasn't going anywhere.
Sadly, many of the issues the girls were dealing with weren't resolved by the end. This may have been an attempt to make things more realistic - the anorexic girl was still unhappy with her body at the end? Deal with it. But the lack of conclusion made the rest of the story feel kind of pointless.
The writing was entertaining and I thought this was an interesting experiment, but to me it felt like the author took on more than she could handle. With a more mindful plot and a carefully executed ending, this could have been a very important book.
I would have liked to see a stronger message about how outside beauty doesn't matter, and it's people's dynamic, sparkling personalities that really count. But in The List the gorgeous mean girls blended in with the truly kind-hearted ones and I felt like a huge and powerful point had been missed.
Meh. This one just didn't do it for me. I only got about 104 pages into it and just don't really care about the characters or the plot. Many of the minor characters weren't even named, they were, "her friend from science class" or some other descriptor that didn't include a name. That made me feel like the author didn't really care either. This has been on my "currently reading" list long enough. It's time to move it onto my DNF list.
Not my cup of tea. Others may enjoy, but I just couldn't get into it. Two stars, because while I'm not finishing it, it's not due to anger or poor writing. It's just kind of blah.