The List

The List

3.8 124
by Siobhan Vivian
     
 

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An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.

It happens every year before homecoming -- the list is posted all over school. Two girls are picked from each grade. One is named the prettiest, one the ugliest. The girls who aren't picked are quickly forgotten. The girls who are become the center of attention, and

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Overview


An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.

It happens every year before homecoming -- the list is posted all over school. Two girls are picked from each grade. One is named the prettiest, one the ugliest. The girls who aren't picked are quickly forgotten. The girls who are become the center of attention, and each reacts differently to the experience.

With THE LIST, Siobhan Vivian deftly takes you into the lives of eight very different girls struggling with issues of identity, self-esteem, and the judgments of their peers. Prettiest or ugliest, once you're on the list, you'll never be the same.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for THE LIST:

* “Offering a well-differentiated cast of complex characters and a thoughtful focus on femininity, sisterhood, relationships, eating disorders, and what it means to be singled out, Vivian proves that beauty and ugliness aren't always a matter of appearance.” – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

“Siobhan Vivian's latest novel tackles the beauty myth head on. Readers will find themselves relating to each character's struggles.” -- BOOKPAGE

“Smart, snappy writing.” – NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

* “This riveting exploration of physical appearance and the status it confers opens a cultural conversation that's needed to happen for a long time. . . Vivian refuses to falsify or avoid the uncomfortable realities.” – KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

Children's Literature - Lisette Baez
High School is hard enough without having to anxiously await “the list” posted each year before Homecoming at Mount Washington High. It is unknown how the girls are chosen or who is in charge. Hundreds of copies are made and posted all over the school. The dreaded list is inescapable and can make or break you, for it decides who is the prettiest and who is the ugliest girl of the freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior classes. Life for these eight girls will never be the same; for those not chosen at all, they quickly are an after-thought. The list will change relationships between friends, family and boyfriends. The author takes readers on an exciting journey through the eyes of each girl on the list and evokes great emotion and intrigue for the reader. This powerful novel beautifully intertwines and brings forth the many difficult facets of teen life. See how the characters face the struggles of identity, self-esteem and the constant judgment of peers. This is a true page-turner that honestly explores the complexities of life, especially within the walls of high school. Reviewer: Lisette Baez; Ages 15 up.
Publishers Weekly
The eponymous list, which mysteriously appears on the walls of Mount Washington High each year before homecoming, has the power to lift or break the spirits of eight female students: on it are the names of the “prettiest” and the “ugliest” girl in each grade. In this insightful and provocative novel, Vivian (Not That Kind of Girl) explores the effects the list has on the most recently chosen girls. While some results—self-doubt, shame, pressure—are to be expected, some of the girls respond in surprising and unconventional ways. Rebellious sophomore Sarah takes her “ugliness” to a new level by refusing to bathe or change clothes. Senior Jennifer, deemed ugliest four years running, works her way into a circle of popular girls, a group led by “prettiest girl” Margo, who used to be her best friend. Offering a well-differentiated cast of complex characters and a thoughtful focus on femininity, sisterhood, relationships, eating disorders, and what it means to be singled out, Vivian proves that beauty and ugliness aren’t always a matter of appearance. Ages 13�18. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
Every year, right before homecoming, a list with eight names is posted all over school. Two girls are chosen from each class: the prettiest and the ugliest girls at Mount Washington high school. Each year, the girls of Mount Washington High hope that they might be the lucky one chosen as "prettiest" and worry that they might be singled out as "ugliest." No one knows who is behind the list, or how the girls are chosen, but everyone knows that the labels, once applied, will change the lives and status of these eight girls forever. Vivian explores the dangers of applying superficial labels, even those generally considered positive, as she follows this year's eight girls through the homecoming week. As we witness their reactions and follow their interactions with their classmates, we can see that the labels we give each other don't really mean anything at all. Being known as "prettiest" may be more of a curse than a blessing, and the "ugliest" girl might be truly beautiful. Every girl who has ever felt the pressures of trying to fit in will find herself in the pages of this book. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles
VOYA - Paula J. Gallagher
Everyone is on the list for a reason. A compilation of the school's prettiest and ugliest girls by class, the list is an unofficial end-of-September tradition at Mount Washington High School. Vivian's scathing look at popularity takes on a variety of teen issues, each represented by a character in this social commentary on image and self-esteem. An omniscient narrator takes the reader into the minds of the eight girls on the list, each battling her own demons in both a private and public way. Vivian's ambitious structure keeps the reader at an emotional distance from the girls, but this works to her advantage. The prettiest girls fare no better than the ugliest; no one is safe from scrutiny. These insecure girls struggle with interpersonal relationships. Who can you trust when friends, boyfriends, and even family constantly betray you in the smallest ways? Do you bother to try to improve your social standing, or do you rebel against it? And underlying all of this is the mystery of the identity of the sadistically powerful list maker. The reveal does not disappoint. Teen readers will find Vivian's breezy, easily consumable prose more than skin deep. Expect The List to be read, dog eared, passed around, and most importantly, discussed. Reviewer: Paula J. Gallagher
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—All hail the List: the annual unveiling of the names of eight girls, one deemed prettiest and one ugliest, from each grade at Mount Washington High School. The last week of every September—for as long as anyone can remember—brings the plastering of the anonymous list all over campus, and with it the scrutiny of the named girls' humiliation and triumph. While the principal wants to get to the bottom of its creation and put an end to the cruel, shallow judgment it represents, the teens themselves react in both expected and unexpected ways. Vivian attempts to introduce her characters and some of the important people in their lives, but that asks for perhaps more differentiation in readers' minds than comes quickly or easily. Eventually, the cast is clarified but rarely emerges from basic sketch to live action. Instead readers are given caricatures: a mean sophomore called "ugly" on the inside gets her comeuppance from an unstudied homeschooled girl named prettiest; freshman swimmer Danielle, called "Dan the Man" for her jockette looks, is shaken by the disloyalty of her embarrassed boyfriend, while a pretty ninth grader faces grounding on Homecoming due to failing grades. The best-looking junior is pressured back into anorexia, no less miserable than ugly Sarah who refuses to bathe or change clothes for nearly a week after she's named; and four-time loser Jennifer, enjoying infamy over anonymity, is counterbalanced by her childhood friend but now unapproachable homecoming queen. Worthwhile social commentary for readers to consider still emerges in this too-bland narrative.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA
Kirkus Reviews
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 homeschooled 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." (Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545169189
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
03/25/2014
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
55,299
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

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