Friday, May 11, 2012

BR: The List

by Siobhan Vivian

I was a huuuge fan of Siobhan Vivian’s Not That Kind of Girl (I even interviewed her! My first interview either!) and I was sooo excited when I heard about her latest book. I also wanted to add that despite my reluctance to like full-face pictures of girls on covers, I really love this one because her expression is perfect.

Summary (goodreads)

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

My Expectations: really high, NTKoG really surprised me by how good it was, and I wasn't about the make the same mistake twice
Delivery: really, really well done :)
Put-down-ability: despite 8 narrators, the plot still flowed very well, 3/10

My Thoughts

The List isn’t your typical multiple narrator story, I mean, stemming from the fact that it’s following eight different girls and spans about a week.. I felt that these two core components of the book did not work as well as I hoped. As with all books featuring different POVs, I greatly enjoyed seeing how the same incident (the reveal of the List) affected their lives. Even though I was intrigued by who came up with the list, I was more interested with the girls’ lives—which was a good thing. I found all the narrations to be compelling though I'll admit sometimes I had trouble juggling all the names.

If you ask me which author writes high school settings the best, my answer is Siobhan Vivian. She writes a high school with realistic dialogue and what feels like real people. Real people. It’s not made up of stereotypes and one dimensional characters, she has fleshed out, authentic people making up the school, from the groups of school friends to the various pitfalls and social make-up of the different grades and ages.

I had a problem with the short time frame though, I felt that given the novel takes place over a week, it felt like some of the larger, overall character arcs/development were less believable. That said, the story caught its rhythm early on as everything flowed without a hitch.

I really liked how the plot unfolded in the end, and I felt that served as a triumph for the novel because it reveals the complexities of people—there is no martyr or evil queen, there is no ending with a bow on it, there are no perfectly redeemed characters. I liked the plot reveal and how it showed that even though I wanted that one character to point to and say “she’s awesome, I want her to win at life!” life doesn’t work like that and people aren’t perfectly good or perfectly bad.

This isn’t really a book about high school, it’s a book about all sorts of dynamics between friends, families, and relationships. It's about beauty and perception, and what's beneath the surface. The List ambitiously approaches many different themes and I think using all the different voices, the author created a grander novel that encompasses many aspects of teenage life.

Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: high school girls, all contemporary fans!
Acknowledgements: very nice, 3.5/5

8.4/10- because The List is a compelling, smart novel that paints a complex, contemporary high school setting. The characters' voices are believable and the plot is unpredictable, you’ll definitely want to know how the story ends. I had a few issues with character development over the time frame, but I loved how Vivian thoughtfully tackled the broad themes of young adulthood.

source: library (though I found out later the pub had sent me a copy)
author twitter / website


  1. i think Linna quite enjoyed this. And although i have read some neg reviews of this that originally put me off, your review really has me in the middle now. Darn it!

    of course, fabulous review as always. I did a big YAY when you mentioned on twitter you had written one. Keep em coming love! :)

    1. Ah yeah, I did see her review! Have you read Not that Kind of Girl? I would recommend that over The List, though this one has its merits. and will do! xx

  2. 8 narrators, wow!! sounds like it was excellent though!

  3. I like the sound of this book so much; although 8 narrators is a lot, I trust that Vivian can keep them all separate and compelling. I also loved Not That Kind of Girl and this looks like it has some similar themes so I have high expectations!

    1. Exactly, I wasn't really sure what to expect but I was pretty sure I wouldn't be disappointed. It definitely does have some similar themes, along with exploring many new ones which I really liked!

  4. I started reading this one last night but got confused with all the different narrators! Your review makes it sound like worth the getting through!

    1. Haha, I hope you like it!! It did take a while to get used to as they were all getting introduced, but after that it worked for me :)

  5. I'll have to add Siobhan to my contemp YA author to-read list. You didn't mention her in your genre rec. vid, did you?

    That's a lot of different narrators! I'd probably end up keeping a list (Get it? A list for The List, hahahaha...ha. :| Awkward turtle). I think I'll try out Not That Kind of Girl before I tackle this one. Great review, Audrey!


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