The List

The List Book Cover The List
Patricia Forde
Juvenile Fiction
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
August 1, 2017

Farenheit 451 meets The Giver in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship 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.



“The List” is a middle grade dystopia with a good premise: words are dangerous and by limiting them you can control how people spread ideas.  The city of Ark has 250 approved words, and it is up to Letta to keep the meanings of the others.  The problem is that the narrative is muddled and slow because so many other issues are tackled but not given any depth.  Everything from religion to the environment to prisoner’s rights are thrown in and it keeps the story from flowing well.  I would stick with “The Giver” when it comes to middle graders.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *