Bullying is an organized affair at the high school described in Siobhan Vivian's novel The List. Some girls wait for the list's appearance with excited anticipation, some with dread, but everyone understands what being on the list means. For good or bad, your name is known, whispered, talked about by everyone in school. There's no escaping the list.
What It's About
Every year eight girls' lives change forever. The week of homecoming dance, the list comes out. No one knows who writes the list, but they do know the whole school agrees with its ruling. The list features eight names, the prettiest girl in each grade, and the ugliest. The list is posted everywhere, inescapable, and the girls who make it feel its power where ever they go.
The "ugliest" freshman is a jock to be sure, but she'd never thought she was ugly until the list came out. Her confidence shaken she starts to reconsider her devotion to swimming, her talent and passion.
The "prettiest" freshman is thrilled, excited about what her new status could mean for her future. But when she finds out she's failing science she begins to think being pretty is all she'll ever be able to achieve in high school.
The "ugliest" sophomore is floored. Physically beautiful but deemed "ugly on the inside" by the list, she watches as her friends quickly abandon her, as if they were just looking for confirmation she's as means as they thought she was.
The "prettiest" sophomore has been home-schooled her entire life, her only companion her mother. Her list status gives her new friends, but also jealous enemies.
The "ugliest" junior isn't surprised by the list's decree. She's spent all of high school making sure everyone know she's different and has no interest in fitting in. But after seeing a picture of her crush's beautiful ex-girlfriend she begins to wonder how she could ever live up to her.
The "prettiest" junior knows exactly what the note next to her name means. "What a difference a summer makes,' is talking about the fact that she stopped eating this summer. And now she has confirmation her new slender body looks great, and she's willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it stays slim.
The "prettiest" senior was expecting the distinction, but she wasn't expecting her friends' reaction to the rest of the list.
The "ugliest" senior knows that she's now set a school wide record. No one has ever been on the ugly side of the list all four years.
All eight girls struggle with what the list means, to them and their classmates. A new principal tries to shut it down, but once the information is out it's nearly impossible to wipe the list from everyones mind.
Your Favorite Part Will Be
When the "ugly" freshman realizes her friends on the swim team like her for who she is, and that ultimately she has to be comfortable with who she is too.
The Cause-y Angles
The list is an extreme form of bullying. There are smaller forms of bullying spurred on by the list as well. There's pointing and laughing in the hall, hand-written insults left on certain copies of the list, and mean spirited exclusions.
The "prettiest" junior decides she needs to stop eating in order to loose weight, going as far as purging. Throwing up to shed pounds, as well as her perception that she's much heavier than she actually is are symtoms of anorexia and bulimia.