Publisher's Note:  

Fahrenheit 451 meets The Giver for middle grade readers!

You are The Wordsmith now. Are you ready for the challenge?

The city of Ark is the last safe place on Earth. To make sure humans are able to survive, everyone in Ark must speak List, a language of only 500 words.
Everyone that is, except Letta.

As apprentice to the Wordsmith, Letta can read all the words that have ever existed. Forbidden words like freedom, music, and even pineapple tell her about a world she's never known.

One day her master disappears and the leaders of Ark tell Letta she is the new Wordsmith and must shorten List to fewer and fewer words. Then Letta meets a teenage boy who somehow knows all the words that have been banned. Letta's faced with a dangerous choice: sit idly by and watch language slowly slip away or follow a stranger on a path to freedom . . . or banishment.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Sourcebooks, Inc.

The List

by Patricia Forde

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Overall Review:  

Looking for a gripping, middle-grade, dystopian novel with great male and female characters?  Then look no farther than The List.  This novel reminds one of The City of Ember, but with the intensity significantly ratcheted up, and a dictator who really is quite psychotic.  The heroine, Letta, is determined, courageous, compassionate, and loyal; she begins to question the society she has always accepted when a boy, Marlo, collapses in her store and trouble starts mounting.

The twist to this story (although a little out-there) is that language is being restricted to the extreme in this post-apocalyptic society.  The author's love of words and language is felt on every page.; it is thought-provoking to consider their power.  

An action-packed climax wraps up this book.  Although this is not obviously a set-up for a series, the author leaves the door cracked for that possibility--and that is not a bad thing!

Review of a Digital Advance Copy

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  1 mild obscenity.

Violence/Gore:  Reference to a global disaster and subsequent deaths as people killed each other; scars are seen on a character's back; report that someone was killed by animals; character hears screams of someone being tortured; character overhears that a character had their fingernails removed during torture; a character has been shot and blood drips on floor; adult male slaps young girl hard on the face; adult male shoves young girl; character punches wall causing knuckles to bleed; children gang up on character throwing rocks and kicking; character throws rocks at children to drive them away; severe leg injury with bone visible; old man hit and on ground bleeding from head; character urinates on a prisoner; character washes wounds that are a result of torture, brief description, mention of dried blood; report that children were kidnapped and tongues cut out; report that a 17-year-old committed suicide; verbal threat of harm to a child; leg wound is treated; report of the damage a drug/chemical can do; screams of torture hears; man kicks girl in hip, rips out chunks of hair, and throws against wall; order to terminate a pregnant woman is heard and then a blow and cry are heard; character wants to kill another; woman slaps a girl; crowd starts to throw things at a character and chases with intent to harm/kill; character receives injuries while in a confined space; multi-page battle scene involving hacking/stabbing with knives, kicking, gunfire, etc. resulting in injuries and deaths; character stabs another character and a fall to death results.

Sex/Nudity:  Reference that a boy wants to "mate" with a girl/have her for his mate; reference to accidental pregnancies and herbs used to make sure baby does not grow to term; boy strokes the palm of a girl's hand with his thumb; inferred that a girl likes a boy; boy touches girl's check, brushing mouth with his thumb; boy and girl hold hands.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Revolution, death, torture, poverty/extreme living conditions, global disasters, dictator/oppression, suicide, population control (w/ implied reference to abortion).

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Reference to herbs used to keep a baby from going to term; reference to a drug that destroys brain functions.

Reviewed By Cindy
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