Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bookanistas: The List

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.



This book follows around all eight girls on the list, and sometimes it goes into flashback. You might think that eight different characters in both past and present might be a little too confusing to handle, but Siobhan Vivian does a great job of making each girl's story clear and easy to follow. The girls are all very different, and they each have distinct personalities and clear storylines. 


Life isn't easy for any of the girls on the pretty list, but I found myself most drawn to the "ugly" girls' stories, particularly Sarah (ugliest junior) and Danielle (ugliest freshman). Possibly because they were the two most relationship-focused stories and I am completely predictable when it comes to loving the romance stories. (And props to Siobhan Vivian for Milo...cute Asian boy FTW! You know any book with a cute Asian boy will get my intense love.) But I did find all of the girls fascinating, and this book really puts a spotlight on the way girls look at each other and talk about each other and what an impact those looks and words can have on us. 


I will warn you that this book doesn't completely resolve every single one of these stories with a neat bow. Some people seem a little irritated by this, but I actually like ambiguous endings, and I love that we are left to wonder about some of the girls. I like that level of realism and I felt it actually added another layer of realism to this very real look into the lives of teen girls.


Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...


Elana Johnson can't get enough of See You At Harry's

Shannon Messenger shares some YA cover lust 

Shelli Johannes-Wells talks about the cover for The 13th Sign--with a contest!

Stasia Ward Kehoe and Nikki Katz gush about Surrender

Katy Upperman lays it on the line for The Book Thief

13 comments:

  1. I just started this book on the train this morning! I listened to her interview with Sara Zarr on Zarr's podcast, which was great. She talked about how difficult it was to write all 8 perspectives, but it sounds like she did a great job with it.

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    1. I think it helped that it was in 3rd person. MUCH easier to figure out who was who than if it had been in alternating 1st!

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  2. I'm not sure I could get into something like this based off the premise, but then you never know, right? If the writing is impressive enough, I'll read almost anything.

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    1. Ha! You never know, Matt...you might learn something. ;-)

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  3. I almost grabbed this book at the bookstore the other day (it's on my TBR list), and then didn't. (*kicking myself*) Guess who'll be picking it up this weekend? :)

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  4. I have this book on my radar, but for now I'm catching up on the hot YA books from 2011 I missed out on last year :)
    I like bittersweet endings, or endings that don't wrap up in a neat bow because that's how life is. As long as the character has evolved over the story, that's what's important.

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    1. I know...I always have a hard time staying caught up on the current reads and the ones I managed to miss out on. It's so hard!

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  5. This one's been on my list for awhile now... I love the premise and the cover. Now that I know it has your stamp of approval, I'll have to bump it up. :)

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    1. It's a fast read...you can easily bust through it quickly. :-)

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  6. I have had this one on my radar :D Thanks for sharing, Jessica! I remember how some people were doing those type of lists in my class and I was on the bad receiving end, I think one of my best friends told me it was because I could be intimidating but I also knew I wasn´t the prettiest one in High School. I remember my German teacher (one of my greatest teachers of all time) who told me the following while we were in Weimar (Germany) on a school trip and going to the opera to listen to Faust. I was wearing the same dress as another girl but felt totally self-conscious because she was wearing it with "cool" shoes and I didn´t. He told me I looked beautiful and that in a few years, I wouldn´t be able to fence off the boys.
    Anyways...sorry for the rambling :D Thanks for the rec!

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  7. I really want to read this one. I heard Siobhan Vivian speak a few times this year, and she's awesome.

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  8. I love multiple perspective books. I'll have to give this one a try!

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