Every year, right before homecoming, a list with eight names is posted all over school. Two girls are chosen from each class: the prettiest and the ugliest girls at Mount Washington high school. Each year, the girls of Mount Washington High hope that they might be the lucky one chosen as “prettiest” and worry that they might be singled out as “ugliest.” No one knows who is behind the list, or how the girls are chosen, but everyone knows that the labels, once applied, will change the lives and status of these eight girls forever.
More and more, young women in our society are faced with the message that who they are and what they are worth depends upon the clothes they wear, the trends they follow and the size or shape of their bodies. But the old adage that "beauty is only skin deep" is a complete and total lie. True beauty doesn't exist on the surface. It really is what's inside that counts.
In THE LIST (available April 1, 2012), Siobhan Vivian explores the dangers of applying superficial labels to people, even when the labels are the kind we usually think of as "positive." THE LIST follows this year’s eight girls through the homecoming week, and as we witness their reactions and follow their interactions with their classmates, we can see that the labels we give each other don’t really mean anything at all. Being known as “prettiest” may be more of a curse than a blessing, and the “ugliest” girl might be truly beautiful. Every girl who has ever felt the pressures of trying to fit in, every girl who has struggled with the Disney Princess mentality, every one who has ever wondered why she has to be sexy to be worthwhile, will find herself in the pages of this book. It should be required reading for every 7-12th grade girl (and anyone who knows a teenage girl)!
Disclaimer: Because my 11-year-old daughter always asks about language, when books are recommended to her, I will warn you that one of the characters in THE LIST uses coarse language fairly frequently, in the chapters from her point of view. I personally prefer books without the profanity, but the story of this book was so well-written that I felt comfortable recommending it to my daughter anyway, knowing that it would open important topics of discussion between us.