YA Book Reviews

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When eighth grader and self-proclaimed geek Maya Van Wagenen discovers a dusty, old 1950's popularity guide in her family's garage, little does she know that author Betty Cornell's advice is about to change her life. Maya's supportive mother encourages her to read the book and write about her secret project to follow the book's advice.

Maya starts off small, making changes to her diet, style, and posture. However, she learns the true meaning of "popular" when she intentionally show kindness to her classmates, breaks social norms by sitting with different cliques at lunch each day, and is inclusive of others at the school dance. What she shockingly discovers is that "most people are waiting to be discovered" and that "there is no [social] ladder. We are all the same."

Winner of the 2015 YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults, Popular is a very funny and inspiring memoir for anyone who has ever felt socially awkward or unpopular. It serves as a good reminder that kindness and showing a genuine interest in others never go out of style.