At ALA Midwinter in Dallas, I had the good fortune to attend a Scholastic reception where a handful of authors used Readers' Theater to present the new ARCs awaiting us. One of those ARCs was THE LIST by Siobhan Vivian (Scholastic, April 2012). I knew the basic premise: each year a list of the prettiest and ugliest girl at each grade level in high school is spread over the entire campus. Of course, it is not a sanctioned list, but it is a list that all come to expect and many come to fear. The list comes out, and our story opens.
Told in alternating narratives from the perspectives of each girl on the list, the novel focuses a strong light on popularity, peer pressure, bullying, name calling and much more. That it does all that without being didactic means that whether readers are "mean girls" or the targets of the "mean girls", the story will speak to them all. The large issue: what makes someone pretty or ugly beyond the skin she wears is at the center of this novel. Surprises await girls who dive into the book. <194>