The List

The List

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:

"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.

Publisher: Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, [2017], c2014
ISBN: 9781492647966
Branch Call Number: J FOR
Characteristics: viii, 353 p. ;,22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Feb 18, 2018

In The List, people only have few approved words in their vocabulary, and Letta works as an apprentice to a wordsmith, the person in charge of changing the "List."

I found this concept to be extremely interesting, and many questions popped into my head every time I opened the book. Who decided it had to be this way? How did people conform to this life? Did anyone fight back? But, as a multilinguist and translator, my biggest question was: What about other languages? Is this a world where only English/List is spoken? That was disappointing.

If you asked me anything about the characters, I'm not sure what I would say. Letta is adventurous? Maybe. Though, to be completely honest, I could not connect with any of the characters. However, I'm sure that if I had read it when I was younger I would've been able to. The narration, or writing style, also has that fantastic, middle-grade vibe that I would've loved back then.

This is a middle-grade book, and while for me it was just a nice story, I'm sure that for someone out there it could be a world-changing story.

JCLChrisK Jan 11, 2018

A most intriguing dystopian premise: After most of the world has been destroyed by global warming, the survivors live in Ark, a city designed and built by environmental extremists who saw disaster coming and prepared for it. John Noa is Ark's creator and benevolent dictator, controlling the smallest details of everyone's lives. His secret belief is that humanity's survival lies in a total return to nature as mere creatures, and his method for taking the humanity out of humans is to remove language from the equation.

While The List is an intriguing, fast-paced story I thoroughly enjoyed, I felt the premise needed more time and space to be fully realized. I wanted more: more character development, world-building, and complexity, and a longer plot arc. It was good. It could have been excellent. Still, it is a highly enjoyable read.

Nov 01, 2017

I liked the characters, especially Letta. I would not like to live there. If you like the Hunger Games you should read this. - Laura

I love this book, but I felt like it needed more details. It was surprising especially when people were speaking List. Keep in mind this is in the future. - Lucie

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at PMPL

To Top