Monday, June 15, 2015

Review: The List by Siobhan Vivian

Series: N/A
Genre: YA Contemporary
Book Length: 336 pages
Publication Date: April 1, 2012
Publisher: Push 
Source: Library
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.


I expected something a lot better from this book. I've read the first two books in the Burn for Burn series by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, and I loved them! But this book…at first this book seemed like it had a lot of potential, but it just ended up falling flat. 

The beginning of the story was okay, but a bit confusing. I mean, there are eight main characters. Eight main characters with different opinions. Eight main characters with totally different personalities. Eight main characters with different background stories. Since there were eight main characters, and eight POVs, it was super confusing at first for me.  I had to keep on flipping back and forth from the page I was on, to the List, to the backcover of the book to see which character was who and if they were "pretty" or "ugly." And that can get seriously annoying. 

But after I got used to it, I liked the way the story was told. The writing style was clear and I was able to understand the characters pretty well. By the end of the story. Basically, the characters seemed pretty unpredictable to me, until the ending when I got to really understand them better. 
The main characters were all completely different! The only thing that four of the main characters probably had was that they were "ugly," while the other four were all "pretty." Other than that, they had no similarities except for some of the main characters that were whiny. 

Abby: She was one of the main characters that were super annoying and was such a whinier! 

All she cares about is looking good and even though she's failing school, she's not worried about getting left back. She worrying about how her parents are going to ground her and not let her go to homecoming if they find out that she's already failing a class on the second week of school! Um, wrong priorities much? 

As the story progressed, she got more and more annoying to me. She sees her best friend, Lisa's older sister, Bridget and she's just like "why can't she be my older sister…" Meanwhile, her actual sister, Fern, is giving her the cold shoulder after Abby got on the List for "prettiest" freshmen. Abby should be a nice sister and try to find out why. Right?

"You want to punish me for the list. You're jealous!"
Fern's face gets tight. "That's pathetic."
It is as if Abby has reached the top of a steep hill, and how she tumbles down without any chance of stopping. "You are. You're jealous because I'm pretty and you're ugly and EVERYONE KNOWS IT."

Wow. Way to show the sisterly love, Abby! And she says that Fern isn't a nice older sister. Abby does become a better person afterwards, however, after she finds out why Fern is being mean to her, and that's like the only part with Abby in it, that I actually liked. 

Danielle: She was a pretty decent main character, even though she did get a bit insecure about her boyfriend throughout the book. She felt the most relatable because she did what I think most people would do if they were put in her position. I liked her ending because she learned to move on and stop moping around just because she was the "ugliest" freshmen on the List. 

Lauren: She was homeschooled her entire life and once she becomes declared the prettiest sophomore, everyone is super accepting of her. Lauren was definitely the nicest person on the list. Inside and out. I loved how she never let the popularity get to her head! She was nice to Candace everyone was cruel to her. Candace hates Lauren in the beginning and treats her horribly, but Lauren's kindness to her never faltered. Lauren was incredible and I really admired her throughout the while book. 

Candace: Okay, I totally understood why she was on the ugliest sophomore on the List. She was pretty  and all, but the phrase "Beauty is only skin deep" totally applies to her. She was superficial and all she cared about was her looks. She was basically a typically mean girl. She was rude to everyone and I felt as if she deserved everything that people did to her in the beginning. The thing I truly liked about her was the amount of character development that she went through. She changed so much from the beginning to the end and I was so proud of how far she came. 

Sarah: She was the ugliest junior on the List. She was definitely my favorite out of all of them! I loved how she tried prove how ridiculous she thought the whole idea of the list was! Yeah, she could've shown it in a better way, but at least she was the only one that didn't really care about what people thought of her. In fact, she made people think worse of her because of the list on purpose. Everyone's reaction to what she did was hilarious. Especially Milo's. XD

Bridget: Bridget was the prettiest junior. I felt so bad for her. Her story was by far the saddest. She never felt like she was perfect and she had the need to fix every flaw she saw in herself. I never felt like I really connected with her and all, but I did feel really bad for her. I didn't really like how the story ended for her. I think she needs serious help, like therapy or something, and I really would've liked to see it end with a happier possibility for her. 

Jennifer: Jennifer was easily my least favorite character in this book. I really pitied her in the beginning of the story, but halfway through? Hah, NOPE. She was one of those people that do anything for popularity. Even flaunt how she is the ugliest senior. Most people in the school felt bad that she was the declared the ugliest four times in a row and started treating her nicely. Because they pitied her. They treated her horribly throughout all of high school and now they're here being nice to her because they feel so bad for her. And what does Jennifer do? She basks in the pity. Popular people are welcoming her to their crowd and inviting to go shopping with her and all. And she accepts. Because she wants popularity in whatever way necessary. UGH HOW DESPERATE CAN YOU GET? Even with her newfound popularity, of course there are still people that treat her like crap. And what does she do? Nothing. She never stood up for herself! And by the end, I honestly hated her. There are more reasons for why, but I don't want to spoil anything, so y'all will just have to read the book to find out. 

Margot: Margot was the prettiest senior on the list. I never really cared much for her. She wasn't nice or mean, but she kind seemed like a stereotypical popular girl. She did have more ambition than I originally thought she would, but she just felt so fake to me. I felt really disconnected with her throughout the entire book. 

I would've rated this book 3 stars, if the ending was different. It felt so open ended to me! There's a huge plot twist revealed and then the book basically just ends! The book was overall pretty realistic and portrayed basic teenage problems, but it wasn't really that enjoyable to read for me.