As we all know, I’m not one to shy away from a sweet, lighthearted YA tale. I really liked the concept of Siobhan Vivian’s The List; it’s about a high school list that is created by an anonymous student each year. The creator of The List chooses the prettiest and the ugliest girl in each grade and The List is circulated widely. I’m sure you can imagine the hurt feelings, bullying and chaos that comes from something like this.
Like I said, the concept is great. High school is probably the most difficult time for a growing girl, and I remember times in high school where I ached to be seen as pretty or beautiful, regardless of how I viewed myself. It’s vain, it’s insecure and it’s immature, but those are just some of the emotions that are triggered in adolescent girls. Each character Vivian focuses on is hugely different from one another, so no matter what type of girl is reading the story, she is bound to connect with one of the characters as they navigate the strange week The List comes out.
While I did like the concept, I didn’t feel that I could connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. I’m not sure if it is because there are too many point of views throughout the story, or if it is just because the novel is very surface-level, but regardless, I felt that while Vivian tackled some important adolescent issues, there were a lot of loose ends and barely-explained subplots.
So, instead of reading the book, I would recommend reading an all-ages tale that really digs deep in revealing what makes humans tick, and how we can change our ways. Why do we act the way we do? Why does what we look like define us? Why are we constantly trying so hard to fit in? None of it should matter. It does though,because most of us want to feel like we fit in somewhere.