As I was casually searching for books, Popular, by Maya Van Wagenen, caught my eye. I have to admit, I love anything retro. So, I did judge the book by its cover. However, when I started reading it, I could not put it down. Then, when I found out that a 15 year old wrote it, I was shocked; probably because I teach freshmen and can't imagine getting something of this caliber. The book is funny and the writing is very well developed.
We meet Maya, who is in middle school and trying to find the secret to being popular. After finding a 1950's popularity guide by former teen model Betty Cornell, Maya decides to follow the steps. What follows is hilarious. Her bravery and persistence throughout the process is endearing. I especially love her parents, who are supportive from day one.
I wish I could have all my freshmen girls read this novel. It was so refreshing to read about a girl who has so much self confidence and who fully embraces her quirky ways. While she does have self doubts sometimes (wearing a hat and gloves is not normal teenage behavior), she quickly bounces back and moves forward.
I finished this book in five hours. Yes, the house didn't get clean and dinner wasn't made, but it was well worth it!
9th grade Communication Arts