By: Siobhan Vivian
Published Year: 2012
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Summary (Provided by 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.
This book has been on my Goodreads list for a long time, so I can’t remember what my first impressions were. I think the cover caught my eye, and then the summary even more so. Looking at it now, I feel like the cover is a bit young and definitely screams YA. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t think it would catch my eye as much now as it did a couple years ago.
What I thought
Every year at Mount Washington High School, a week before homecoming, a List comes out. The List designates the prettiest girl and the ugliest girl in each grade. No one knows who creates the List each year, but it has been a staple at the high school as long as anyone can remember. The book follows all of the girls on the list through the week, with each having their own chapters in their own perspectives.
I think that Vivian did a great job at switching back and forth between all the girls and giving them their own stories. However, I do feel like with eight perspectives it gets a bit tricky. There are definitely four girls who I felt like were focused on a developed a little more than the other four. Personally, the four stories that felt the strongest to me were the two freshman girls and the two senior girls. The four girls in the middle, while they had story lines, didn’t seem to have as many or as much development as the other four.
This book addresses so many important high school issues. There are characters dealing with hate, sex, discrimination, eating disorders and more. I think that Vivian tackles these issues well and writes about them so realistically. These are problems that so many high school girls deal with that, a lot of the time, adults don’t take seriously or don’t understand. This book would have done a great job at making me feel I wasn’t alone when I was in high school. Granted, I’m not saying that I had a lot of these issues while I was in high school, but you often feel like everyone else’s life is perfect and that yours is the one that isn’t. The List shows that every girl, from the ugliest to the prettiest, has their issues and troubles and no one is perfect.
The frustrating thing about this book is that it doesn’t end. Everything in this book is left unresolved and it is infuriating. I don’t know if it was written this way in hopes of bringing out a second book, or if there is some sort of message saying that life’s problems don’t resolve so the book doesn’t either. However, that’s not why I read books! I need my books (and movies) to have endings that wrap up at the end. I don’t need a happy ending, but I need something. There are no consequences for the List; there is no explanation about what happens to these girls after the dance, there is nothing. The ending to this book, unfortunately, ruined the whole book for me.
By: Siobhan Vivian