The List by Siobhan Vivian
Every year at Mount Washington High School, a list is anonymously posted all over the school. One girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Everyone knows about the list and all eyes are watching the girls on it, both “pretty” and “ugly.” The List tells the story of the eight girls singled out for their looks in the week after the list is posted. The chapters alternate between the girls’ perspectives and Vivian manages to give them all very different voices, which would be difficult with so many characters.
It was fascinating to see how each girl reacted to her label and the issues that it brought up. One sporty girl begins to doubt herself, especially when being declared “ugly” causes her insecure boyfriend to start to look at her in a different way. Another “ugly” girl decides to show her classmates how ugly she can be by refused to shower or brush her teeth for a week. The intense scrutiny also causes plenty of issues for the “pretty” girls. The pressure to be pretty causes one girl’s eating disorder to get worse and others have to deal with jealousy and tension from friends and family members. I also loved finding out who created the list this year and why they did it.
My only complaint is that when I finished the book, I wanted to know what happened next to the characters. This book is a just a week of their lives and there are some unanswered questions at the end. Overall, I really enjoyed The List. It was very entertaining and insightfully dealt with body issues and peer judgment in a way that was easy to relate to.