Image courtesy of NetGalley.com
by Patricia Forde
What if we only had 500 words that we could use? The List starts with the wordsmith asking for 700, but getting denied. In this land, everyone must speak "List", an approved list of words acceptable for use. If you are caught using vocabulary not on the list, you are labeled a "Desecrator," and thrown out of the community.
Ark is the community that John Noa founded after The Melting. He believed that the world was ruined because men chose to use words instead of use actions. People argued about climate change rather than do something about it. He is determined that this new community will not make the same mistake.
Letta is the wordsmith's apprentice. The wordsmith makes and keeps the list. Their job is to also make lists of words for specific trades. When the wordsmith goes missing, Letta is suddenly thrown into the role of wordsmith. It will be her duty to keep the list.
Letta starts to realize that the Desecrators might not be bad people. For the first time she is exposed to art and music, and it changes her perspective. She has always believed in John Noa, that he is trying to save his people. But now she is not sure. Should people live in a world limited in words, art and music? What is John Noa's plan for Ark? Now that Letta is the wordsmith will she complicit in his plan?
This List is a beautiful story full of words, art, emotions and history. It is easy to see John Noa's plan and why it is so wrong. But it is just as easy to see why he believes in it. This would make a great book to read in a book group, I imagine students taking both sides of the issues that it raises. I will certainly buy this for my library, and would recommend it for grades 5-12!