An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them. It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up. This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two.
More about Siobhan
Siobhan Vivian was born in New York City on January 12, 1979 . . .which might sound like a long time ago, but really isn’t. She grew up in Rutherford, NJ, where she got into trouble for such things as constantly talking out of turn, bringing a stray dog into school in a stolen shopping cart, passing notes to her friends, telling jokes, sneaking out, and not doing her homework.
Siobhan attended The University of the Arts, where she graduated with a degree in Writing for Film and Television. She received her MFA in Creative Writing: Children’s Literature from The New School University.
Siobhan has worked as an editor of several New York Times best-selling novels at Alloy Entertainment, a scriptwriter for The Disney Channel, and she currently teaches Writing Youth Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. (from her website)
- Each of the girls uses a coping mechanism to deal with their positions on the list. Some healthier than others. Why did none of the girls turn to their friends?
- Is there a healthy way to deal with being on the list?
- Whose reaction surprised you the most? Why?
- Was the lack of outreach from the rest of the school realistic? Was it because of a sense of "I'm glad it's not me?" Is this the bystander effect?
- Although social media wasn't mentioned or used in the book, what effect would social media have on this event?
- In what ways does society make things such as "The List" OK? Would there be an equivalent for males? If so, what form would it take?
- "Sometimes, when you get something new, you trick yourself into believing it has the power to change absolutely everything about you." Does it? If so, what was that thing for you? Or is there something you thought would and it didn't?
- "Maybe you haven't noticed, but everyone shares the same brain around here. It's like a mass cult. They've all drunk the Kool-aid." Was your high school like this?
Not so metaphorically resonant, but still delicious food
Discussion with Siobhan Vivian!!
Siobhan Vivian Interview
Check out this video! Teen volunteer Jenna interviews Siobhan Vivian, author of The List. Together, they talk about beauty standards, self-esteem, and the challenge of writing a book with eight main characters.