Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

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The List
Siobhan Vivian
Release date: April 1st, 2012
by Push

Goodreads / Purchase

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.

*A copy was provided by Scholastic Canada for review purposes*

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.

3 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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35 Responses to “Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian”

  1. Disincentive

    Hello 🙂 I’m your follower. I made a new blog with reviews yesterday. I just posted my first review! Would be amazing if you could check it out 🙂 I would be really happy for any follow, comment, criticism! I’m newbie, so I really appreciate any help!

    Sorry if my comment bothers you in any way 🙂 You can delete if it does.

    Have a nice day!

    Here is my first review!

  2. Amy

    This book sounds interesting. Nothing like that would have ever been okay in my school, but the idea sounds like it was fun to read about. I like multiple POV’s too as long as they are done good. Great review muffin!!

  3. Maja

    Eight points of view really seems like a lot. Also, I think it would bother me a bit that no one paid attention to the list sooner. On the other hand, it seems interesting that 8 really realistic situations were brought to light and it’s a shame they weren’t all resolved.
    Great review, Giselle!

  4. Hannah Doermann

    I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s sad it doesn’t go deeper into each of the girl’s lives, but I guess that’s to be expected if there are 8 POVs in a 300-page book. I think I’ll still pick this one up. Great review!

  5. Kristan

    Fluffy books are a weakness of mine =) They’re the best way to break up the monotony of so many serious/deep/intense ones. This one sounds interesting and I added it to my GR wish list awhile back. I’ll keep it in mind next time I’m looking for something a little more lighthearted. Great review as always Giselle!

  6. Katie @ BlookGirl

    I’m glad that you enjoyed it overall, but I wish there had been a better effort made in driving the point home that this type of bullying is NOT okay.

    I dread the day when I have kids that are ready to go to school. I cannot bear the thought of them being bullied 🙁

  7. Sam

    I’m not sure if the multiple points of view would work for me – I tend to be pretty fussy about that. Still, this sounds like a nice light read. Great review!

  8. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    Hmm, while it does sound interesting, it doesn’t sound all too special either. I can’t decide if I’m intrigued or just… mildly interested! Lol! I’m glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t mind-blowing!

  9. Danny

    It does sound like a fun and light read. Sometimes I seek them out and really love to read them. But, it’s for me to read books that one would recommend to a younger audience… And, such multiple POV’s are not really my thing..

  10. Carina

    When I first saw this, I was dying to get my hands on a copy of it, but my enthusiam faded a bit and now I’m happy I haven’t pre-ordered a copy immediately. Considering your description it doesn’t really sound like it’s what I was hoping it to be. And even though I’m still planning on reading it one day, I’m very grateful for your honesty, Giselle. Thanks! 🙂


  11. Mary @ BookSwarm

    Why is it kids love to make lists about each other? I just took a list away from a boy the other day–they were rating girls (this is middle school!). Write-up! I consider this bullying, since a couple of the girls were aware of it, and send that straight to the administrator. NOT acceptable, in any form!

  12. Daisy

    This sounds like a sort of bookish version of Mean Girls (and I loved that movie) 🙂 Eight POVs is a lot to keep track off, glad it worked for you with the list and that the girls are recognizable by their different personalities!

  13. A. Knight

    I don’t much like unresolved endings. They drive me crazy, since it’s all left to my imagination and sometimes that place inside my head gets dark and nuts so I don’t want to be left imagining what will happen to them, especially when the author has all the answers.


  14. Sarah (saz101)

    Aww… I’m kind of dissapointed to see only 3 stars, and that it’s a little fluffy. I’m still looking forward to it, and hey, 3 stars? Still good… I was just kind of expecting amazing… and a little dark, given what it’s dealing with.

    I’ll have to readjust my expectations. Thanks for an AMAZING review, Giselle! ♥

  15. Book Sake

    From the synopsis I didn’t realize that it would be such a light read. I’m not sure if I’ll read this one – seems like maybe if it would have gone further into the issues going on it might have been more interesting.

    – Jessica @ Book Sake

  16. Heidi

    I’ve been very much looking forward to this one, I’m not sure why. I haven’t read any Vivian before, but something about this premise (and especially the cover) totally drew me in. I’m kind of sad to hear that it’s a bit fluffy and maybe more for younger YA readers, but I’m still planning to check it out!

  17. Lexie

    Great review, as always. I may check this one out. I’m intrigued by the premise, but I’ve heard mixed opinions on its execution. I feel like one could turn this idea into something really brilliant, but leaving the issues hanging will almost surely irk me. Plus, it’s generally very difficult to manage 8 different POVs without it getting extremely overwhelming. I may still enjoy it, though. We shall see. 😀

  18. Patricia's Particularity

    I have been dying to read this book since I first heard about it a bit ago. It sounds soooooo good. I love multiple POVs, but I’m a bit weary of 8. While each characters’ own personal issues may not have been resolved, I wonder if this was done to let this serve as a starting point for the readers since it covers so many ‘issues’. Just a thought. I could not imagine the fear that this list created, especially since we know things like this really do happen. You say you liked all the girls… who was your favorite?

  19. Giselle

    @Patricia: My favorite? That’s tough cuz I feel they didn’t get developed that fully. I think I’ll have to say Bridget because she has the most interesting part with the most profound issue, being anorexic.

  20. Maji Bookshelf

    oh no, i don’t like books or movies with so many POVs, it just means you won’t get to go deep into each person’s life! hmm, and its fluffy? i was expecting a hard core and like a deep story to maybe SOMEHOW shed light on how horrible status quo in schools and popularity really does to people. sigh. Great review though!

    – juhina