I had never heard of Siobhan Vivian before I started making plans to go to the Austin Teen Book Festival. Now, I hear her name all the time and see her books everywhere, and it just makes me feel like I'm a very non-observant person, which is actually pretty true. I started adoring Siobhan the second I saw her at ATBF. I mean, she's freaking adorable. And hearing her speak about her book and teen issues and what inspires her, it just made me love her even more. Not to mention, she's pretty hilarious. Have you seen her Twitter feed? Her sarcasm and questioning of people who make dumb choices just speaks to my heart.
Of course, after meeting her, I naturally had to read everything I could get my hands on by her. I started with the Burn for Burn series, which was life changing amazing, and then I checked out The List from my local library, because I'm one of the few nerds I know who still frequents the library. I mean, not everyone can be this cool. Stop being so jealous of me.
Pretty much BFFs
The List follows the lives of eight girls who were put on a list at the beginning of the school year. It's a tradition. The ugliest and the prettiest girls from each grade are listed.
Ugliest: Danielle Demarco aka "Dan the Man" - She's on the swim team at her school and has a boyfriend, Andrew, for the first time in her life. She never thought of herself as ugly, and she actually took the news just fine. Her boyfriend? Not so much.
Prettiest: Abby Warner - All of her friends think she's so lucky. Her not-so-pretty older sister , Fern, starts to think she's superficial and gives her the cold shoulder. Jealous? Hmm...
Ugliest: Candace Kincaid - She's not ugly, per say, but her personality is a different story. As it says on the list, "beauty isn't just skin-deep."
Prettiest: Lauren Finn - This is her first time in public school after being homeschooled by her mother her entire life, and she doesn't even know what the list is. When everyone wants to be her friend all of a sudden, will she give into the popularity from the list or realize that they only want to be her friend because of it?
Ugliest: Sarah Singer - She's always gone against the crowd, but when she makes the list, she really tries to bring her true ugly self out.
Prettiest: Bridget Honeycutt - She only started to be considered pretty over the summer, when she went on a beach vacation with her family, but she's not really sure it's something she should be proud of.
Ugliest: Jennifer Briggs - The first girl in the history of the list to be on it four years in a row.
Prettiest: Margo Gable - She was on the list freshman year, and being on the list now means she's a shoe-in for homecoming queen.
Are you overwhelmed with the amount of main characters? I sure was, and still am after typing all of that out. My only major complaint was that there were too many people to keep up with, and I had to keep flipping back to the page with the actual list on it to remember who anyone was. It wasn't until I was toward the end that I started remembering. Because there were a lot of characters, some storylines were more developed than others. I think all of the storylines had a conclusion of some sort, but a few of them kind of fell off or were just concluded in passing, while a couple of the storylines had more emphasis and impact at the end. I ended up having a lot of unanswered questions.
Putting that aside, I adored this book. A positive of having so many main characters is that there is somebody for every teen girl to relate to. All of the main characters are so different, and some are even tied together in different ways, such as Jennifer and Margo who used to be best friends when they were in middle school. Lisa, a person who actually wasn't on the list, is the best friend of Abby and Bridget's little sister, and she was actually my favorite character. She was really bubbly and fun and stayed positive throughout most of the book. Even though she's the younger of the two, she really tries to help her older sister with a few major struggles. I think everyone would want a friend like Lisa.
There are so many lessons in this book for everyone, not just teen girls. It deals with a lot of issues that I think a lot of people can relate to. The thought of being called ugly by just one of our peers is hard enough to deal with, but to have a list posted anonymously displaying it to the entire school is downright frightening. High school is when a lot of us deal with issues with the opposite sex and body image, and these issues are addressed over and over in the most clever ways in this novel.
I give this book a 4 out of 5. There is something in The List for everyone, and even though I'm not a teenager anymore, I still found myself relating to a lot of the main issues in the book. I do have to mention that the ending wasn't my favorite. I wanted so much more!
For more from Siobhan, visit her official website, and don't forget to follow her on Twitter!