The Popularity Papers
Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-ChangBook - 2010
Amy Ignatow's hilarious debut novel introduces the intrepid fifth-graders Julie and Lydia, whose quest to understand popularity may not succeed in the ways they want, but will succeed in keeping readers in stitches.
From Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books:
Lydia and Julie, BFFs since birth, are now preparing to enter junior high, and they're on a mission to become popular. First, however, they have to determine exactly how popularity is achieved, so they decide to approach the matter as any good scientist would: observe those creatures already at the height of popularity and apply said observations to themselves, in the hopes of cracking into that mysterious world of junior-high stardom. The two record their observations and the often spectacularly unsuccessful outcomes of their various social experiments in a scrapbook-like journal, complete with notes passed at school, lists of projected popularity goals, and credibly goofy and kidlike drawings. The story here is fairly familiar: the girls fail miserably at their first attempts at the A-list (Lydia's hair falls out after a botched dye job, among other disasters) but eventually find acceptance in the upper echelon, only to learn the valuable lesson that it's the people you're most comfortable around who make the best friends. The diary format, however, adds an extra dimension of funny, and as in Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid series about Greg Heffley, it allows Julie and Lydia to come alive through their witty dialogue, their perceptive commentary, and even their characteristic handwriting. Secondary characters shine as well, particularly Julie's embarrassing but ultimately charming two dads, along with Lydia's goth-punk sister, a font of random quips and junior high wisdom. The popular kids end up being far from perfect and each has issues of her own to contend with, making the actual friendships that form among the girls all the more endearing. Those waiting for the next installment of Greg Heffley's adventures will be well served by this amusing experiment in sixth-grade celebrity. KQG
From the critics
Age SuitabilityAdd Age Suitability
ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 12
copicmarker thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 13
SummaryAdd a Summary
Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are two smart cookies. Some girls going into their last year before middle school would confront the enigma of popularity by either moaning or changing themselves beyond all recognition. Lydia and Julie have a much better plan. First, they have this notebook where Julie (the artistic one) can record their observations. The mission? To stealthily watch all the popular girls they know so as to best determine how to someday be popular themselves. Lydia (the brave one) will subject herself to rigorous testing, whether it involves bleaching off a chunk of her hair or joining an eskrima class (otherwise known as stick fighting). Along the way they attempt to finagle cell phones out of their parental units (with unfortunate results), deal with a Norwegian crush, and have a falling out that may or may not put an end to their friendship. Being popular may be tough but attaining it? Hilarious.
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