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The List Paperback – March 25, 2014
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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* Offering a well-differentiated cast of complex characters and a thoughtful focus on femininity, sisterhood, relationships, eating disorders, and what it means to be singled out, Vivian proves that beauty and ugliness aren't always a matter of appearance.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review
Siobhan Vivian's latest novel tackles the beauty myth head on. Readers will find themselves relating to each character's struggles.” -- BOOKPAGE
Smart, snappy writing.” NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
* This riveting exploration of physical appearance and the status it confers opens a cultural conversation that's needed to happen for a long time. . . Vivian refuses to falsify or avoid the uncomfortable realities.” KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review
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This book really captures the essence of the judgement placed upon girls (and boys) in high school, how quickly your view on someone can change because of something silly like a list, something so simple, not at all dignified or of great importance. I guess simplicity is what counts in books for teenagers like me who are a little slow on the intake.
The characters were very believable, not going to such an extent as a cliché of stereotypical high school students with the one queen bee and the others just roaming around aimlessly with their unimportant cliques, I mean, there was Margo obviously who was the top girl, but she wasn't a slave driver or anything. She genuinely appreciated her friends and didn't treat everyone like they were less than her which was a nice change of pace.
I like that the author touched on inner beauty. And I don't mean the little speech they give you in school or girl scouts or whatever about being beautiful no matter what anyone says, but more the opposite, telling a story of a girl who is pretty on the outside but oh so ugly on the inside, and her little realization of what she does to people. Having the pretty girl be the vulnerable one made things interesting.
I was left at the end with so many questions about everyone, Danielle especially, I really wish they were answered or that the author writes a sequel, because this is a great book and that's the only reason I'd leave out a star.
A great read for 13-15 year olds. Those older may not enjoy it as much, but give it a try if you're looking for a quick, fun read.
Every year the List comes out. There is an ugliest girl and a hottest girl in each grade. No one knows who makes the lists or how the official (stolen) school seal that marks the official list gets passed down from year to year, but they accept the list as a part of their high school lives. This year is no different from previous years for most people, but it is a life-changer for the 8 girls on the list. One has been on the list all 4 years of her high school career... as the ugliest girl in her grade. One only makes the list after her anorexia slims her down. One embraces her Ugly status by writing UGLY across her forehead and refusing to shower for the whole week leading up to the Homecoming game.
But one thing is for certain: the list affects every single girl it names. And while you might think it would help the lives of the Hottest girls, you would be miserably wrong. Being named Hottest only makes your friends jealous and guys think they have a right to hit on you or think you are a trophy to be won. Being on the list tests every relationship you have ever had, your values, and worst of all, what you think of yourself. The List has changed these girls... but you won't believe how.
This was a deceptively awesome book, I must say. I assumed it would be rife with cliches and stereotypes and full of pink plush morals and "typical", but it really wasn't. Instead, it surprised me. Time and time again, what happened to these girls REALLY surprised me. I thought I knew what was going to happen to the Ugly girls vs. the Hot girls, but I found myself flipping the pages time and time again with that "What the heck?!" shocked look on my face. It was a really refreshing read! But at the same time, it was a frighteningly accurate reveal into the world of high school culture. We, as adults, sit on the outside of the true happenings of our schools, and although we have lived through it, we have also outgrown it, making our opinions jaded. I mean, can you honestly remember what it felt like to live through high school? I can honestly say I have tried somewhat (un)successfully to block it from my mind, but every now and then I see something going on where I teach and all those memories come rushing back.
This would be an excellent book for any high school aged girl through adult trying to understand the lives and roles of teenagers these days. And to try and pretend judgment and criticism are not a part of adolescence is simply ridiculous. Sometimes we, as adults, just need to immerse ourselves in their world, even through a story like this one, to see the truth of what they live through every day. It might make you a little more sympathetic as you give them detention or scold them for not finishing their work. We see the world through our adult eyes, but we forget that as teenagers, we didn't even know who we were at that point. Vivian did a great job with this story explaining the lives of teenagers and I am sure all adolescents would find at least one character to relate to. Even if they don't want to admit it!
While I realize this IS a work of fiction, I truly wasn't wanting to read a self help " how to raise confident girls" sort if thing....sometimes things like this offer a but more 'realistic' insight.
That is how I came to read this work. I did like it. I read all of it, just I've never been one for the everyone gets theirs in the end story. I find this is USUALLY not the case in life (yes, I still remember this is fictional) so I tend to be disappointed by authors that take that approach. I personally feel this story ended rather abruptly, just a few more things needed spelled out.. I guess I just need confirmation that my envisioned ending is right. Lack of imagination I guess...