The List
The List

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Annotation: Letta, charged with collecting and saving words, uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language, robbing the people of Ark of the power of speech, and realizes she must also save the culture itself.
Catalog Number: #161534
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 353 pages
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 1-492-64796-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1365-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-492-64796-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1365-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016025881
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Letta, Ark's apprentice Wordsmith, may be too young to remember the "Melting," but John Noa, the town's ruler, is not. How could he forget the floods, the famine, or their insidious origin: "dangerous, destructive words"? Thanks to Noa, Ark now relies on List, a fiercely regulated collection of permissible phrases. But there's no hope in Ark, and there's certainly no love. What's worse: List is quickly diminishing. Yet, with the help of a ragtag crew of outsiders, Letta might be the one to save it. While debut author Forde's premise is intriguing, its execution vacillates in effectiveness; List's 500-word vocabulary is employed arbitrarily, and the conversations it generates, while illuminating the absurdity of limited language ("Criminal. Steal food. Bad boy"), often cripple plot development and hamstring secondary characters. List's inception, too, is foggy. Still, Forde's exploration of language as both weapon and savior is a noble one, and environmental undertones bolster its power. Pair with Patrick Ness' The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008) for more intellect-fueled dystopian adventure.
Kirkus Reviews
Young Letta becomes wordsmith to her community in a future that follows a climate apocalypse. A likable protagonist, Letta (white with green eyes and red hair) is the one positive female character in this narrative of resistance and revelation. She is at the mercy of John Noa, the controlling savior of a number of people who joined his Ark just before a warming planet Earth produced massive, devastating floods in an event remembered as the Melting. Noa is obsessed with the potential of the spoken word to influence human conflict and confusion. When Letta chooses to shelter a wounded boy, Marlo, shot as a Desecrator by Noa's security force, the corruption at the heart of things begins to reveal itself to Letta. Her disillusion deepens when her master goes missing and when a young boy, son of her neighbor, is banished for misusing language. Marlo (sallow-skinned, with blue-gray eyes and black hair) turns out to be part of a largely self-sufficient community living outside the Ark and opposed to Noa's strictures. Forde's pacing and characterization are compelling, especially after initial chapters focused on Noa's truncated List-based language of acceptable words (all English ones) and people's awkward struggle to speak it. Brief expository passages interspersed with Letta's story reveal Noa's thinking and his ugly desire to eliminate the weakness of language. An intriguing speculation about authoritarian futures with a terrific cover. (Science fiction. 10-14)
School Library Journal
Gr 710In this gripping postapocalyptic thriller, a handful of people have survived the Melting, a climate changeinduced catastrophe, thanks to the foresight and scientific inventiveness of John Noa and his band of Green Warriors. These survivors now live together in a community known as the Ark, where life is possible but far from pleasant: water and food are strictly rationed, art and music are forbidden, and even speech is stringently controlled. Blaming the Melting on humanity's ability to dissemble, Noa has limited speech to a diminishing number of words kept on an official Listnow down to 500 entrieswith harsh penalties for those who use unauthorized vocabulary. In a plot that hews closely to YA dystopian tropes, Letta, the brave young protagonist who is charged with helping maintain the List, is a firm believer in Noa's rules until Marlo, a handsome member of the resistance, shows up injured in her shop and shortly thereafter, her master, Benjamin, is reported dead under mysterious circumstances. As she helps Marlo and investigates Benjamin's purported death, Letta uncovers Noa's plan to render humanity completely speechless with the chemical Nicenea name that calls to mind the Nicene Creed, the doctrine stating Christianity's most fundamental beliefs. Although the underlying premise and certain plot elements sometimes require a large dose of suspended disbelief, ultimately, this new entry into the dystopian field can be enjoyed on many levels. It is a well-crafted page-turner, as well as a compelling commentary on censorship and the role of language, while also inviting discussion about what distinguishes humans from animals. VERDICT For dystopian fiction aficionados, this well-paced entry offers plenty of food for thought.Eileen Makoff, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School, NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (7/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (5/1/17)
Word Count: 75,304
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 11.0 / quiz: 190290 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.4 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q71746
Lexile: HL600L

"The fantasy book of the year."-Eoin Colfer, bestselling author of Artemis Fowl A 2018 Notable Children's Books Selection! 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.

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