The List

The List

by Patricia Forde


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492647966
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 261,636
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 7.60(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

Patricia Forde lives in Galway, in the west of Ireland. She has published five books for children and written for television. In another life, she was a primary school teacher and the artistic director of Galway Arts Festival. Visit Patricia at

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The List 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Chrissie_W More than 1 year ago
Told with a rather emotionally thirsty, distant narrative, The List somehow still remains engaging with a very intriguing premise. Forde seems to have attacked a dystopian novel that is very reminiscent, as the summary suggests, of Lois Lowry's series The Giver Quartet, and even more specifically the last book, Son. The book's blurb also makes mention of a favorite of mine, which I actually did read in middle school, Fahrenheit 451, but other than the relationship to censorship that is shared, I didn't get that vibe at all. In fact, the attempt this community and its leaders or founders make at an utopian society was more along the lines of M. Night Shyamalan's 2004 movie, The Village. And, of course, with utopian societies being rather impossible, especially in literature (because otherwise where is the conflict driving the story?), both the weirdness and the otherness are present right from the beginning, drawing you in. With a direct and, at times, choppy style, Forde aimed a mature understanding of what makes humans human at the middle grade level. Descriptive language mixed with the withdrawn and removed narration, made for a few moments when the style was a little off. At times, the simplicity proved to be too plain, too basic and the story could've stood to be a little deeper and more complex, but overall, my interest and desire to continue held strong throughout. I am certainly going to consider recommending this to my own children, especially during these turbulent times.
stickerooniDM More than 1 year ago
Patricia Forde's The List is a dystopian YA that evokes Lois Lowry's classic, The Giver. Set in the future, the polar ice caps have melted, flooding the earth. At least one scientist had the foresight to create a city that would escape the devastating flood, and he called the city Ark (are you surprised his name was Noa?). The new city would be run in a very totalitarian manner with new rules. One rule is a rule of language. Because words can be harmful or deceitful, only approved words - those on The List - may be used in everyday language. But a few chosen people over the years are appointed as Wordsmiths - those who keep and archive as many words as can be found, even those not on the approved list. Letta is an apprentice to one such Wordsmith, but when he dies suddenly in an accident, she becomes the Wordsmith for Ark. But Letta has made friends with Marlo, a Desecrator - someone living outside the rule of the Ark, using the old language. And she'll need the help of her outside friends when she discovers a plot to strip even more language away from the people to completely control their power (or lack of power) of speech. The adult reader may find that author Forde figuratively hits the reader over the head with metaphors and allusions, but the target YA audience is likely to discover much of this imagery here for the first time. There are some frightful comparisons to our modern, political world, with the assault on language and the use of language as a battering ram to completely shut down opposing points of view. The opening sequence, as we meet Letta and learn (by observing) about this world, and the discovery of Marlo, being shot and searched for by 'Gavvers', was really tremendous. It draws the reader in and the short, abbreviated dialog definitely captures our attention. But the danger set-up in this opening is over-come too easily, in the long-run, and the tight, fascinating story loses some focus and energy. This seems a bit odd since the characters in the book had a more concentrated (focused) goal in the second half of the book. But once the characters and the goals were established, we lost more interest in this world. There is nothing particularly new here. As I said in the beginning, this borrows heavily from The Giver, as well as other time-worn classics (1984 anyone?). But of course our kids don't read the classics much anymore, so for them, this book is fascinatingly fresh. For the rest of us, it's read-worthy, but maybe check it out from your local library. Looking for a good book? The List by Patricia Forde is a dystopian YA book that treads heavily on the heels of other classic dystopian novels, such as The Giver, and 1984. It's worth a read, but don't expect anything too new. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
“The List” is a middle grade dystopia with a good premise: words are dangerous and by limiting them you can control how people spread ideas. The city of Ark has 250 approved words, and it is up to Letta to keep the meanings of the others. The problem is that the narrative is muddled and slow because so many other issues are tackled but not given any depth. Everything from religion to the environment to prisoner’s rights are thrown in and it keeps the story from flowing well. I would stick with “The Giver” when it comes to middle graders. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Kaits_Bookshelf More than 1 year ago
While I am not usually a fan of dystopian literature, this book was intriguing. I found this story to be, at its core, about the dangers of censorship. Forde not only sends this message through the language of List and what happens to those who dare to use banished, or censored, words but also through the lessons of the past that were not learned. There are very clear messages of the dangers of ignoring scientists and global warming in this book, specifically what may be waiting down the road for humankind if they are ignored. There was also a clear religious undertone with references to another great flood, John Noa, and the city of Ark. I found this book to be a thought-provoking read. I would caution parents who are considering this for younger children, though, as the book does include some violence, including the murder of a pregnant woman. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger than age 13. And I think the censorship message would go over the heads of younger kids anyway. If you enjoyed Lois Lowry’s The Giver, in which memories were being suppressed, then you will likely enjoy The List, in which words are being suppressed. Read full review at:
V-Rundell More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars Letta is the teenaged apprentice wordsmith of Ark, a community of survivors on post-apocalytic Earth. The ice caps melted and the seas rose and John Noa built a fortified town where some of humanity would survive. Letta's parents, residents of Ark, disappeared when she was a small child, bound to search for more survivors. Letta was raised by the wordsmith, Benjamin, to treasure words, though the people of Arc are only given license to use the 500 words on their List as their language. Benjamin isn't pleased when he's told to cut the List to 300 words, and Letta isn't any happier. She's in love with language, and words are her trade. She relishes knowing more words than most of Ark's residents, and does her duty to keep making List words for the school children and apprentices of Ark when Benjamin goes on an extended journey. John Noa's theory that deceitful words of untrustworthy politicians destroyed the world has warped his mind, and he wants language eradicated and man to return to that of beasts, is pretty out there. Benjamin fought against him, and lost, which Letta discovers before it's too late. She meets Marlo, a "Desecrator" or person who creates are or music and lives in the banished forest outside of Ark. Letta helps him recover from an attack by the Ark policing agents, and his family helps her track down the fate of Benjamin, and others who'd gotten in John Noa's way. This is an adventure that's filled with intrigue and peril as Letta endeavors to find truth that's been well hidden in ignorance. Her worldview is opened by her experiences with the Desecrators, and in witnessing the callousness of John Noa's agents. They banish the old and infirm as well as the young. Their idyllic world is a shell game, and Letta's blinders have been removed. She does her best to save the day, but it's not over when it's over. Letta, Marlo and the Desecrators need to find a way to help their fellow humans find a new direction, and it'll take another book to get us there. Really interesting look at a totalitarian regime, and a censored society, from a teen's point of view, and the plot kept moving along nicely as Letta made truth her mission. Looking forward to the next adventure on this journey. I read a review copy provided by NetGalley.
Karen_Benson More than 1 year ago
When I read the synopsis of The List, I thought it sounded like a unique dystopian post-apocalyptic tale and knew I wanted to read it. It turned out to be The Giver meets 1984 meets Fahrenheit 451. It wasn't unique at all and felt more like a mish mash of every dystopian I've read. Letta is an apprentice wordsmith in a society with a vocabulary of only 500 words. Her job is to furnish the LIST of words to all the residents of Ark. Using words that are non-list can get you banished from Ark. In Ark, there is also no art, no music, no words other than the 500 allowed. Per the leader of Ark, Noa, words are what caused man's downfall which lead to the apocalypse of the ice caps melting and the earth being flooded. The banished are called Desecrators, and have their own settlement on the outskirts of Ark. Although they have to scrabble for food and water, especially water which is scarce, the banished seemed to be happier to me, for they had music, and art, and words. Except for the fact that the townspeople had 3 bare bones meals a day and barely enough water to exist, they seemed kind of miserable. And the Desecrators never had issues with sneaking into town to meet with Letta in her house day after day, or getting what they needed to survive. In all honesty, I had a tough time understanding when the characters spoke "list". And overall, I really didn't understand the concept of removing language from the world. The rest of the story was completely predictable. But then, it is middle grade, so maybe it needs to be. I keep going back and forth with this one. I never quite warmed to it, or to the protagonist although I really wanted to. I liked Letta's master, Benjamin, much better and wish he'd stuck around for longer. Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.
redjewel7734 More than 1 year ago
Can you imagine a world covered in water after the melting, a small pocket of survivors led by a charismatic man who knows that language is dangerous. The sheer volume of words & the slipperiness of their meanings kept people from hearing the warnings & changing their ways in time. So, in Ark, language is restricted-only 500 words allowed. Is that still too many? & what will the wordsmith do to defend language if there is a true threat to it? I enjoyed this one. I found the pace good, & it had just the right amount of tension & conflict for a middle grade market. Is there anything completely new & startling, no. But it is a good start for readers who may not be ready for more hard hitting dystopian stories. It's a fun read, & it encourages questioning & thinking for oneself. I would definitely recommend it.
Alfoster More than 1 year ago
This novel is The Giver meets 1984 with a little Brave New World thrown in! And even though it's billed as a middle school read, I can see it working so well as a high school title as well. In the near future, because so many believed that Global Warming was a hoax, people were unprepared for The Melting which flooded the land, killing many and leaving only Noa and his city of Ark. Since language became the one thing that Noa believed prevented people from discovering the truth, he has vowed to eliminate it with The List: the 500 words that remaining citizens must use. Now Wordsmith, Letta must discover the truth for herself. Is Noa really the savior he claims to be or is the resistance trying to save humanity? Fast-paced and gritty, this is a dystopian novel for everyone who loves language and realizes the importance of its place in society.
Jolie More than 1 year ago
I was actually very excited to read The List. Mainly because I really like reading, among other things, post-apocalyptic dystopia. I love reading what the author’s vision of what the world would be like after an apocalyptic event were to happen. And I really liked what I read in this book. I think what I liked the most about it is that the author took real life events (climate change, global warming, polar ice caps melting….see below for links) wove such a wonderful story around them. I could totally get what John Noa was talking about when words were not enough to save the world. I 100% get it because I see the same similarities today. All talk, no action and one day, something similar will happen and people will be devastated….just like in the book. But while the actions that John Noa took to make sure that words will no longer have the effect to hurt or persuade is wrong, I totally get where he was coming from. He was trying to prevent people from doing the same things that hurt their society in the first place. First by only allowing 500 words, then by keeping them semi-illiterate and then by taking away anything to do with music/art. In his screwed up way, he was trying to save them. But I do agree that his final solution was a bit over the top but in his mind, he was doing what he had to “to preserve humanity”. Letta (and am I the only one to get the irony of her name) was a sweet, sweet girl who was kinda pushed into something bigger than her when she rescued Marlo and then hid him in her house. Just doing that set her on a path to realizing that John Noa was a very flawed man and that she was probably the only one that could stop his mad plan. I admired her strength in accepting that what she has always known might not be the best way for people to live. I also admire her for knowing what John Noa was doing and what he was planning on doing was very wrong and having the courage to stop it. I do think that her talk with Benjamin before he died cemented those facts. The secondary characters totally made the book, also. Finn, Leyla, Werber, Carver, the residents of Tintown, the residents of Ark, the woman who lived in the woods, Letta’s parents, Amelia….they kept the book going. They added a wonderful backdrop of how people adapted to this strange new world (especially the older people) and how hard it was to survive. The end of the book was bittersweet because while it solved one problem, it didn’t solve all the others that this society had. I did think the last scenes between John Noa and Letta/and The Desecrators, Rebellion, Citizens/Garver’s were very sad. People died, people lived and, to be honest, nothing was really accomplished….other than disrupting the end game plan that John Noa had. So no one really won and it definitely wasn’t an HEA. How many stars will I give The List: 4 Why: I enjoyed reading this book and thought that the lesson (change our ways before something bad happens) is definitely needed to be heard. While this book deals with some pretty heavy subjects, it is a book that I would definitely let my tween read this and hope she learns something from it. Will I reread: Yes Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes Age Range: Tween Why: Mild violence Links: Global Warming: click here Climate change: click here Polar Ice Cap melting: Click here **I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**
222342 More than 1 year ago
Patricia Forde's The List is a middle-grade dystopian novel being released today in the United States. It was originally published in the UK and Ireland in 2015 under the title The Wordsmith , and due to popularity, will now be released to those of us in North America (huzzah!). It's billed as "Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for tweens," and frankly, I don't think they could have described it better. What I liked: I loved the concept of this book. The wordsmith is in charge of keeping track of all of the words, despite the fact that those living in Ark can only use 500 of them (with the list growing shorter as weeks go by due to their psychotic leader). The whimsy of the wordsmith's job combined with the description of the living quarters was really a big pull for me when reading this book. The dystopian society Forde has created is quite fun. It's truly a miserable place, though those living in Ark are all under the illusion that it's for the greater good that they suffer. I enjoyed Forde's writing for this middle-grade novel. Her language was efficient with a touch of literary, and I think it would be a nice addition to any young reader's library. What I wish had been different: I wish there had more about the Desecrators (those who were against the dystopian system of Ark) and their life. I wanted to know all that they had and what those in Ark were truly missing. The plot resolution was a little lackluster to me. I think a young reader would have enjoyed its ending, but I was hoping for more. What happened to Letta exactly? What about the Desecrators? There were allusions to things happening, but instead of it helping to resolve, it only created more questions for me. Ultimately, I think this book is one that is best suited for middle-grade readers. It doesn't translate as well to adults. That being said, if the synopsis appeals to you, or you are big fan of Fahrenheit 451 and/or The Giver, you should definitely give it a try! If you know of a middle-grade reader who loves those books, I would highly recommend purchasing this one for them when it is released!
onemused More than 1 year ago
“The List” is a middle-grade dystopian book that takes place in the future after the world has been destroyed by global warming/melting of the ice caps. Letta is a young girl who is apprenticed to the Wordsmith in Ark. Ark is ruled by John Noa, who has imposed strict rules to make people more easily ruled and to prevent the events of the past again. One such rule is the use of “List” a new language composed of a select few words citizens are allowed to use and only to use. The Wordsmith keeps all the words and regulates those that compose List, e.g. copying List words onto cards for children in schools. The enforcers are the gavvers, who act like police, marking when people do not use List and/or arresting them. Desecrators live outside of society and speak the old language (ours). The story begins when Benjamin, the current wordsmith, leaves to go on a word finding mission and leaves Letta in charge. A sick young boy named Marlo comes to the shop and instead of turning him in, Letta hides and helps him. Marlo is a Desecrator. As Letta questions the society and the choices Noa has made, she realizes the importance of language to humanity. I think this is a good dystopian novel for middle grade readers, as it is intended. There are some scarier ideas here (e.g. prisoners are tortured and it is mentioned that one has had all his fingernails pulled off), so this should be considered in terms of the ages which should read it. The ideas are rather simple and not as complex as the YA dystopian books, which makes it better for a younger audience. For older readers, this might seem a little nonsensical (e.g. Noa talks about the scientists having warned people but they didn’t listen- but he also banished all the scientists from Ark. Also, words are associated with politicians who spoke too much and prevented people from realizing the depth of global warming, but words were also used as warnings, so this doesn’t necessarily follow). Additionally, List seems unclear as sometimes it includes prepositions and other times it does not- without, it is definitely more simplistic and less clear, but the sometimes inclusion makes you wonder if they are actually on List. Of course, some people are allowed to speak the old language (Wordsmiths and the government), which helps to make the story very readable- if it was all in List, it would be impossible. The writing is good and the length is relatively short, making it good for the middle grade audience. I think this is a win for middle grade (but probably not older) audiences and is a good introduction to the dystopian category. I can definitely see this being a great book to spark discussion about humanity and the development of language/its significance. The end is not final, which makes me think there will be a sequel, and I would be curious to see how this series might evolve. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
TopShelfTextBlog More than 1 year ago
Note: Top Shelf Text was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own! The category of dystopian books is pretty well saturated at this point. We have our classics, our pop-culture phenomenons, and it can be hard to find something original in the mix. To me, The List is a stand-out, a unique spin on dystopian society and a middle grade book that I'll certainly be recommending to readers this year. The List is set in a dystopian future, one in which climate change led to an event called the Melting, when polar ice caps plunged into the sea, creating floods, havoc, and few survivors. Letta lives in the city of Ark, a haven from the pollution and chaos that rules the outside world, founded and preserved by the city's leader, John Noa. Letta is an apprentice to the city's wordsmith, a man who collects the words of Ark and carefully controls The List. The List features 500 words, the only words that citizens of Ark are permitted to speak. Noa claims that language -- flowery, persuasive -- was the catalyst to the downfall of man. In the former world, while climate change raged out of control, politicians used language to calm the people, stopping them from taking action and dooming all mankind to a bleak future. Noa believes that language should be used for basic function only, so citizens are forbade from using words that are not on The List, and those who do so are cast from society. Letta, being the wordsmith's apprentice, has access to all of the words, not just the ones on The List. She's a devout follower of Noa, but she can't help loving language, real language, as it was used before. One day, Letta's master goes missing, and Letta is promoted to the position of wordsmith. Soon after, a boy stumbles into Letta's shop and on impulse, she hides him. She discovers that the boy is from outside Ark, that he is known as a Desecrator, a threat to her beloved community, but she cares for him anyways. It is then that the façade of Ark begins to unravel, and Letta discovers some deeply disturbing information about Ark and the future of its citizens. I thought that the world-building in this novel was outstanding, and when I finished I was hoping to discover that it would be a series. I'd happily follow Letta and her friends for another adventure, if that ever became the case. I think, too, that this book brought up a lot of great discussion points that are relevant to the state of our society now. Recommended for fans of The Mapmakers Trilogy and for readers fourth grade and up.