Written by Patricia Forde

Letta is a young orphan girl living in a place called Ark, the last safe place on Earth. After the great “Melting,” the leaders of Ark have convinced its inhabitants that they must speak “List,” which is a language of only 500 words. Every year more words that are considered dangerous to human existence are removed from the List and people forget even the simplest of language. One day, Letta’s Master, the Wordsmith, mysteriously disappears and the Leader of Ark, Noa, tells her that she is the new Wordsmith and must conform to society’s rules and his instructions. However, Letta meets a young rebel, Marlo, who shows her another path and soon Letta feels the stirrings of faint family memories that convince her to become a rebel also. Together, Marlo and Letta lead a rebellion against the oppressive leaders of Ark and try to save the people from tyranny and certain death. This was a very interesting premise for a book and really held my attention. How important is language to you and the society we live in? I recommend this for 10 and up.

Review by Lynda H. Wilson, David Gourley Media Center
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Ages 12 and up

I cannot recommend this book to elementary grade students. The themes are more appropriate for middle school and High school. It is too abstract and most kids will put it back after the first chapter. The book is gruesome as it deals with torture like pulling off finger nails, cutting out tongues, clubbing people to death, kidnapping people to make them talk, ultimately attempting to use a chemical to destroy the brain associated with language and communication. Talk about making one very hesitant to drink water….

Review by Barbara Lowe, Mill Creek Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★✩✩✩✩ (1 star)
Interest Level: Grades 9 – 12

The List
Written by Patricia Forde
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
353 pages
Release Date: August 1, 2017
An advance reader’s copy was provided by the publisher.

2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Sorry, but I meant to recommend “The List” for ages 12 and up. (Not 10 and up.) My thoughts are that if you have 6th graders reading books like Michael Vey or Harry Potter then they can handle the plot-line of a book like “The List”. In our society today where people are trying to curtail language and literature in general, this book makes some interesting observations that are valid and relevant.

    • Thanks for the clarification on the age recommendation, we will update that in the review. And thanks for the review!

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