Sunday, May 12, 2013

Book Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

The List by Siobhan Vivian

Review by Janine

The List is book based on one week at Mount Washington High School, the week before homecoming.  The Monday of this week brings the annual tradition of "The List".  This list contains the girls who are the prettiest and ugliest of each class.  We follow the girls on the list to see how each is effected by their nominations, either by being pretty or ugly.
I have to be honest, this book is not one I would have picked up on my own.  It is typically not the kind of young adult books I read.  I choose to pick this up because I have the privilege of listening to Siobhan Vivian speak at the Children's Literature conference at the University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg, and I really wanted to read one of her books before attending. She is a wonderful speaker and I highly recommend that if you have a chance to attend something of hers you do. Plus I am totally geeked because she lives here in Pittsburgh, which is so awesome!!!  I only wish that I could have stayed to get my book signed but I had to leave to get a tooth pulled (another story, for another day!!).  To my surprise, I really liked this book!  I LOVED how the book was set up.  It is divided by day (as the story is one week) and each chapter is a point of view of each of the girls on the list.  While there were a lot of characters to follow ( at the beginning I found myself flipping to the list as a reference for who each of them were) as the story continues it all flowed so well that it not longer became an issue.  What made this book for me, was the characters and not only how real they all seemed by how they developed, for good or bad.  You really got to see what goes on, how important perception is, either by themselves or from their peers and truly how complicated high school can be.  I don't want to give anything away but I think the best thing was really how we got past the surface of what was going on and really into the girls lives and what dictates how we behave, and why. It also shows that what think about a person and we know are often two wildly different things.  This also begs the question who is the victim? The pretty girls? The ugly girls? The ones who don't make the list? or the creator of the list?
  To say that I am surprised with myself for really enjoying this book, is an understatement!! I think I tend to shy away from the realistic teen fiction like this because it reminds me too much of high school, the awkwardness of it, the intensity of friendships and relationships (maybe it reminds me too much of MY high school experience) but this book is one I would recommend, highly!!!
My only wish is that there would be another book after this one! I really want to know what happens after the dance, after it all dies down..... I felt like each one of those girls still has a story left and I want to know more!!!