The List Siobhan Vivian Book Review And Giveaway

Every year at Mount Washington High School, eight girls – two from each grade are singled out and place on The List, judged to be either the prettiest or the ugliest girl in their class. Siobhan Vivian delves into a topic near and dear to my heart, beauty and it’s implications, with her latest book, The List.

The List Siobhan Vivian Book Cover

The List

Abby is placed on the list as prettiest freshman, an accomplishment she is proud of but causes tension with her prodigy sister, Fern. Danielle is on swim team and has a sophomore football player boyfriend who she’s worried about because the list called her Dan The Man. Lauren is experiencing her first year at high school after being home schooled her whole life. She finds a whole new group of friends after being named prettiest in the sophomore class Candace is in shock. She’s actually not ugly, but named ugliest in her class because of her personality. Sarah is totally a non conformist and doesn’t look like any of the other junior girls and so she’s naturally named to be ugliest junior. Jennifer is a four-peat, she’s been on the list for ugliest girl four years in a row. Margo is a legacy, however, more important, there’s a history between her and Jennifer.

Despite the eight different main characters and plot threads in The List by Siobhan Vivian, I connected on various levels with each of the girls. I mean, I’ll never get on a list for ugliest or prettiest, but obviously I compare myself and care about how I look. And I could connect with how each of the girls were boiled down to nothing more than their looks. It’s interesting because every day we’re told by magazines and media, subtly, that we aren’t pretty/thin/fit/young enough and well, The List, basically takes that to the extreme. And because of that, I connected with the girls no matter where they are on the list. I mean, who wasn’t changed their meal choice because they felt they could lose a few pounds? Or when you look great and another girl knocks you down a peg? Or has ever had a boy smash your self esteem? So much of what each of the girls went through were things that I absolutely could relate to.

The List by Siobhan Vivian is a fascinating view of girls and their position in high school. There’s no boy list. I mean, no one makes a list of hottest and ugliest boys in Mount Washington High, only the girls are subject to this treatment. And we get to see the privilege pretty girls have over ugly girls. We also see that not all ugly girls are martyrs nor are all pretty girls evil. I love the reader sees the toll society’s obsession with thin can take. I think that The List should absolutely be in every young feminist’s library.

Disclosure: Received for review.

Other reviews of The List by Siobhan Vivian:

Forever Young Adult
Rather Be Reading
YA Librarian Tales

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. It sounds absolutely fascinating! Glad to hear you liked it! And it’s so true that this focus on looks mostly counts for girls, though it’s starting to be there for guys more as well.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • I can definitely see a sort of shift in which male looks are starting to matter more, but from where I sit, I see way more media pressure on women and girls to look a certain way. And I sort of feel like it doesn’t solve the problem to have men deal with it as well.

  2. I can’t wait to read this! I love Siobhan’s books and after reading your review I’m even more excited.

  3. Great review, April! I completely agree with you – there’s something relateable for everyone in The List. So many insecurities were explored. I definitely think everyone should read it.

    (And PS: thanks for linking us!) 🙂

    • Thank you, Magan! I think insecurities are so common for teenage and young adult women, even older women because we’re constantly told by beauty magazines that we aren’t enough. And yes, I hope everyone reads the list too.

      Also! Of course I would link you guys! 😀

  4. This sounds like one I really need to read and recommend to my students. Being 8th graders, their hormones are a-kickin’ and we’ve been confiscating lists of names right and left recently. They just don’t understand how hurtful it can be or how much damage they’re doing.

  5. I am dying to get my hands on a copy of this!! I was never really into the whole high school drama thing (I tended to avoid it like crazy, so I was pretty ignorant to these types of things when I was actually in high school!) But for some reason, this book really REALLY intrigues me.

    Love your Team Dauntless link 😉 LOL!

  6. I loved that one beautiful girl was included on the “ugly” list because of how ugly she was inside…I’m not sure most teens would be perceptive enough to do this, but it was interesting….

    Great thoughts. Great read. My Review.

  7. This book is so powerful. Siobhan Vivian did such a good job of exposing the inner lives of these girls and humanizing the stereotypes (the outcast, the jock, the homecoming queen) and making them real and sympathetic. I wish I could buy this book for every high school girl in the country.

    • YES! I like what you said about the stereotypes because I think kids are prone to that, but when they read and learn about these stereotyped people, I’d hope they would develop some sort of empathy.

  8. I really enjoyed this book. I love Siobhan Vivian and I think she captures the teen experience very authentically. Thanks for linking to my review!

  9. There are so many YA titles I want to read now, this one included. Sounds powerful.

  10. It sounds really interesting! I’ve had my eye on The List for a while (even though I rarely take an interest in contemporary) and it’s nice to know that the author handles the multiple POVS so well, and so relate-ably. (Is that a word? Probably not. Oh well.)

    • I think relateably is not a word, according to spell check. But she does make it easy to relate to each of the girls. And I was surprised at how much I liked the multiple POVs because the previous book I had read with several POVs irritated me.

  11. Your review has definitely intrigued me about the novel and I am glad that for once, there is some gravity awarded to a topic that, in my opinion, needs to be talked more about than it is currently. I will be picking this up when I get a chance to do so.

    • Right, I think we should be talking more about society’s expectations of our bodies, about media bombardment, about the privilege of skinny, white, pretty girls.

  12. I am going to have to read this book. I was never the ugliest in school. Although I felt like it at times. Being born with Cleft Lip and Palate always left me wishing I was born normal. I was skinny, I had that going for me, but my nose was crooked, by jaw was unproportioned (jaw surgery in 11th grade fixed that, but nothing like starting out your junior year with your mouth wired shut. lol) my teeth were never and will never be perfect.. So many things. Add to that, parents who spend all their money at the bar and not on nice clothes for you… I felt much like a misfit. I made the most of it though, I was known as the funny girl. I think this is where my sense of humor really stemmed. Beauty isn’t everything.

    I know I will probably relate well with some of these girls in this book, and I think it’s something I will probably want Aubrey to read when she’s old enough. It sounds like a great book for a young girl to read.

    • That sucks, yo. I mean, it’s awesome that you were able to overcome by developing a sense of humor and stuff. But at the same time, it’s really hard to not have the right clothes growing up and to not look a certain way.

      I hope you check out the List soon! 🙂

  13. This will be one of those books that reminds me precisely why I hated high school so much. Not that my school had The List or anything, but everyone sort of knows. It’s called popularity, folks.

    What a terrible time.

    This has been getting seriously awesome buzz, so now I really want a copy. So that I can want to smash all the things.

    • Right. I was not popular in high school either. I mean, I had great friends that I really cared about. But still.

      YES! Smashing all of the things is a reaction I tend to enjoy as well.

  14. I am so much more excited for reading this one now after your review – I have a copy at home, so I think I need to bump it up my TBR Pile!

  15. This is a book that I did not have on my radar at all until now. I mean, I was aware of it, but not interested enough to check it out. But this review ROCKS. Well played, April. I’m building up my contemporary TBR and you’re helping!

  16. I loved you review and now I’m even more excited for this! I didn’t love Siobhan Vivian’s Not That Kind of Girl, but this sounds more like something I’d really enjoy, so YAY!


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