Title: The List
Author: Patricia Forde
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Date of publication: August 8th, 2017
Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Number of pages: 336
POV: 3rd person
Where you can find this book: Amazon
In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.
On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words but culture itself.
I was actually very excited to read The List. Mainly because I really like reading, among other things, post-apocalyptic dystopia. I love reading what the author’s vision of what the world would be like after an apocalyptic event were to happen. And I really liked what I read in this book.
I think what I liked the most about it is that the author took real-life events (climate change, global warming, polar ice caps melting….see below for links) wove such a wonderful story around them. I could totally get what John Noa was talking about when words were not enough to save the world. I 100% get it because I see the same similarities today. All talk, no action and one day, something similar will happen and people will be devastated….just like in the book.
But while the actions that John Noa took to make sure that words will no longer have the effect to hurt or persuade is wrong, I totally get where he was coming from. He was trying to prevent people from doing the same things that hurt their society in the first place. First by only allowing 500 words, then by keeping them semi-illiterate and then by taking away anything to do with music/art. In his screwed up way, he was trying to save them. But I do agree that his final solution was a bit over the top but in his mind, he was doing what he had to “to preserve humanity”.
Letta (and am I the only one to get the irony of her name) was a sweet, sweet girl who was kinda pushed into something bigger than her when she rescued Marlo and then hid him in her house. Just doing that set her on a path to realizing that John Noa was a very flawed man and that she was probably the only one that could stop his mad plan.
I admired her strength in accepting that what she has always known might not be the best way for people to live. I also admire her for knowing what John Noa was doing and what he was planning on doing was very wrong and having the courage to stop it. I do think that her talk with Benjamin before he died cemented those facts.
The secondary characters totally made the book, also. Finn, Leyla, Werber, Carver, the residents of Tintown, the residents of Ark, the woman who lived in the woods, Letta’s parents, Amelia….they kept the book going. They added a wonderful backdrop of how people adapted to this strange new world (especially the older people) and how hard it was to survive.
The end of the book was bittersweet because while it solved one problem, it didn’t solve all the others that this society had. I did think the last scenes between John Noa and Letta/and The Desecrators, Rebellion, Citizens/Garver’s were very sad. People died, people lived and, to be honest, nothing was really accomplished….other than disrupting the end game plan that John Noa had. So no one really won and it definitely wasn’t a HEA.
How many stars will I give The List: 4
Why: I enjoyed reading this book and thought that the lesson (change our ways before something bad happens) is definitely needed to be heard. While this book deals with some pretty heavy subjects, it is a book that I would definitely let my tween read this and hope she learns something from it.
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age Range: Tween
Why: Mild violence
Global Warming: click here
Climate change: click here
Polar Ice Cap melting: Click here
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**