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The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt + Julie Graham-Changby Amy Ignatow
Synopses & Reviews
Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydiaand#8217;s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julieand#8217;s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts donand#8217;t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents wonand#8217;t stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjand#248;rnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goaland#8212;and each other.
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
Amy Ignatowand#8217;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:
"This one's for the Wimpy Girls. Riffing on and amplifying the increasingly common diary-style format, Ignatow uses 'handwritten' notes and copious full-color cartoons to put a fresh spin on that quintessential scholastic goal: to be popular. Fifth-graders Lydia and Julie record observations about the habits of popular girls in a secret notebook and set out to test them, leading to a series of entertaining misadventures. Lydia ends up with a bald patch trying to give herself a blonde streak, and the girls' convoluted scheme to get cellphones results in a pair of horribly embarrassing models. Of course, the girls learn that popularity has a price, and even their own lifelong friendship becomes strained. The book's course may be predictable, but Ignatow taps into the girls' preteen concerns and earnest, passionate personalities via the creative format, with its dueling narratives and illustrations that feel ripped from a spiral notebook (a fantasy sequence that has Lydia starring in the school play culminates in the arrival of a pink unicorn that 'barf[s] up pirate treasure!!'). Readers will quickly devour this hilarious, heartfelt debut. Ages 9 — 13." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Ignatow's hilarious scrapbook-style debut novel follows two best friends on their quest for popularity in junior high. As the girls write their own story, their friendship evolved in touching and relatable ways.
and#160;Love is in the air! Julie and Roland are an official and#147;couple,and#8221; which means . . . well, theyand#8217;re not exactly sure what, except that it makes Papa Dad extremely anxious. Meanwhile, Lydiaand#8217;s mom announces that sheand#8217;s marrying Coach Eric (the soccer coach from England), and Lydia and her sister, Melody, are not happy about it. With the wedding date looming, the girls will have to figure out how to accept the inevitability of changeand#151;and that even if the change isnand#8217;t what you thought you wanted, it can still end up all right, as long as you have good friends at your side. Praise for The Popularity Papers: Book Six
"Julie and Lydia discover just how rocky the road to romance can be in the sixth installment of Ignatowand#8217;s Popularity Papersand#133; fans of the series will be rewarded with plenty of giggle-worthy antics from Julie and Lydia."
Lydia and Julie have been through many adventures as they navigated junior high, popularity, families, and friendship. In the final adventure in the series, the peaceful world of Hamlin Junior High is rocked when Lydia and Julie learn that theyand#8217;re going to have to play host to new students whose school burned down. The outside threat bands the Hamlin kids together against a common enemyand#8212;for a while. When the enemy gets their hands on Lydia and Julieand#8217;s notebook, no one wants anything to do with the girls. Itand#8217;s the biggest threat to their friendship (and a pretty definitive failure of their quest for popularity), and it can only be solved one way. Two words: dance battle.
About the Author
Amy Ignatow is an illustrator and teacher who has also been a farmer, a florist, a short-order vegan cook, a dancing chicken, an SAT prep instructor, a telefundraiser, a wedding singer, a ghostwriter for Internet personal ads, a reporter, and an air-brush face and body painter working under the name and#147;Ooga.and#8221; She graduated from Moore College of Art and Design and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Mark, and their cat, Mathilda, whom they believe to be well-meaning despite all evidence to the contrary.
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