The List by Siobhan Vivian

Now, I have numerous TBR lists in various numerous places, so when deciding on a book to accompany me on my short trip to Venice recently I knew I had to select a book from one of these lists. And when The List showed up as 99p on the Kindle, my read was decided for me. 

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 was excited to read this, but as soon as I’d read the first chapter or so it didn’t take the direction I thought it was going to. To be honest, it ended up being a bit basic for my liking. I think I was expecting more to happen, and it just kind of didn’t. I mean, it was a quick read but I just wanted more from the novel.

What I did like was the eight way narrative as it meant I could follow numerous people at once – it just took me a while to understand who was who. However, it did mean the story seemed very short and ended abruptly for each girl. I was expecting the story to carry on further and felt the book didn’t really conclude anything. Which was a bit disappointing.

I found all the characters we were following were pretty one dimensional and not a lot of room was left for development. Although some had really interesting storylines – like Bridget with her eating disorder and Sarah with her determination to be everything the list said she was – others were left weak and uninteresting. I felt the ones that had superficial hang ups were given more book time and I felt bored by their dilemmas.

I think I was expecting more depth, which there really wasn’t to this book. Although it was a quick read, I wasn’t enthused by the storyline. Which was a shame. Younger teenagers may enjoy the story, but this YA just wasn’t for me.

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