In Ark, where only 500 words exist, Letta is an apprentice to the wordsmith. All other words are illegal and forgotten, and the residents speak in garbled sentences. The police strictly monitor this bubbled, alleged Utopia, and all aspects of life, including meals, are regulated. Letta loves her words and buys into this society until she meets Marlo, a resister who lives self-sufficiently in the outskirts of town—a place where music, art, and language still exist. As Letta’s master suspiciously goes missing, Letta begins to realize that this world is not as safe and happy as it seems, and she is the only member who has the ability to save the words from an evil dictator with misguided politics, John Noa. Noa is relentless in his convictions and actions, and the future of the world relies on the thwarted flick of a canister and a heartfelt revolution.
A middle grade dystopian scifi thriller, The List, has unexpected twists and turns and speaks to today’s modern issues of global warming, the power of language, and possibly brilliant and powerful but destructive authoritarian leaders. Well written with a unique take on tween dystopian literature, The List will appeal to strong readers through its themes of love, language, family, history, and power. Letta is a strong, feminist character with equally dynamic male and female antagonists. My only qualm is that the middle of the story loses its momentum; there is an excess of drawn-out, unnecessary details. With tighter, more succinct writing, I look forward to seeing what else Forde has to offer as an author.
I would like to thank NetGalley and SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The List by Patricia Forde (SOURCEBOOKS Jabberwocky, 2017)