Abby lives in her sister’s shadow intellectually and loves that she’s on the list as prettiest freshman.
Danielle a.k.a. Dan the Man finds that her relationship with her boyfriend is shaken by her inclusion on The List.
Homeschooled Lauren has no idea what The List is, but if it helps her make friends in a strange new school, then who is she to argue?
Candace is pretty. She shouldn’t be on The List as ugliest sophomore. But, as everyone knows, beauty is only skin deep.
Bridget has lost weight over the summer and her inclusion on The List is a direct result of this. Now she just needs to keep the weight off....
Sarah is a social outcast and when she’s declared ugliest junior, she decides to give her critics exactly what they want.
Jennifer is on the list for the forth time as ugliest in her grade, but when Margo’s friends start sticking up for her, she finds she might get to be beautiful just for one night.
Margo is not a fan of the attention Jennifer is getting. She’s going to be homecoming queen if she has to stomp on everyone in her path to do so.
The eight-way narrative worked in some respects and I felt like I got to know the girls relatively well, but I also thought the book could have investigated the full impact of The List a lot better if it had just concentrated on just two or three MCs. A lot of issues felt skated over and it was only through some pretty skilful writing that the plot didn’t turn into a big old mess.
The narrative was really engaging and kept me wanting to read more. Some pretty serious issues were raised (bullying, eating disorders) in an accessible, relatable way and although the levity didn’t really allow the full impact of these issues to be explored fully, it did allow a glimpse as to how this sort of prank can wreck lives.
Because one of the most striking things about this book is that you can totally imagine a list like this being published. As a society, we are completely, unhealthily obsessed with looks, and women’s looks especially. And it does no one any good.
The only thing that prevented this book from rating higher was the ending. Obviously I’m not going to say what the ending was, but suffice to say it left me thinking that the last thirty or so pages were missing from my edition. I clicked backwards and forwards on my Kindle, but no. The story just sort of ... stopped. And it left several storylines completely hanging in mid-air. I’ve not heard about any planned sequels, so it just seemed like a really odd way of finishing a book. Like the author got bored of writing, or something.
Up until this point, though, I actually really enjoyed it. It’s not deep enough to be considered a femininst tract but it’s an engaging read and it does give an interesting perspective on the obsession society has with female beauty (and if you want to read a book that comes at female beauty from the opposite direction - i.e. a totally misogynistic direction - read Arthur Marwick’s A History of Human Beauty).