Monday, April 23, 2012

The List by Siobhan Vivian

The List by Siobhan Vivian.
Publisher: Push.
Pages: 332.
Release Date: April 1, 2012.
Source: Publisher.
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.

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!

Other reviews for The List:
Chick Loves Lit.
Fiction Folio.
365 Days of Reading.
I Eat Words.


  1. The constant POV switch would drive me crazy!! But? I keep hearing that it's such a great book... I need to get ahold of a copy ASAP!

    Jac @ For Love and Books

    1. It's not as bad as you'd think. I just cared a bit more for certain characters so waiting for their chapters was a little maddening. It's so worth it though! Such a good book!

  2. I didn't realize that this one was told from all 8 perspectives (haven't read it yet) - what a workout for your brain! I've been hearing great things about it, so I'm glad to hear it affected you so much. Nice review!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, even with the eight perspectives it's such a powerful book! :)

  3. I've been wanting to read this book for a while now . . . sounds good. Great review.

  4. YES! The authentic ending was one of my favorite parts of The List. LOVED THAT.


    I thought that Siobhan Vivian handled the 8 perspectives very well and made them distinct and fully realized, whereas I've read other books where it's been like 3 perspectives but it felt so flat unlike The List.

  5. Thank you for sharing how personal this book was for you; while I already anticipated this being awesome based on my previous experience with Vivian, I didn't expect it to be quite so emotional. I can't wait to pick this up!