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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. Lydias the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julies 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 dont translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents wont stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjørnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goal—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 Ignatows 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.
Itand#8217;s summertime, and Julie and Lydia are going on a road trip! After all the ups and downs of their first year in junior high, theyand#8217;re looking forward to seeing the sights and getting some new perspective on their quest for popularity. Papa Dad and Daddy will provide the transportation, and theyand#8217;ll provide the entertainment.
At first Julie and Lydia use their Powers of Observation to catalog the traditions and oddities of each new location they visit, but soon their attention turns to parents and family and negotiating sensitive family dynamics. By the time the duo hits familiar streets again, they may have to accept some uncomfortable truths, but their journey is infused with the humor, heart, and truthfulness that Amy Ignatow is known for.
After spending six months apart in Book Two, best friends Julie and Lydia are reunited at last! Julie has said good-bye to the mean girls, and Lydia is ready to apply her hard-earned friendship lessons to founding their own crew. But bad news interrupts their reunion: their friend Sukieand#8217;s mother, ill for many years, has passed away. This shakes Lydia and Julie, who reevaluate their goals and decide to focus more on being supportive of the friends they have. Unfortunately, their well-meaning schemes almost immediately start to go awry, and everyone seems to be mad at them for reasons beyond their control. How can they be better friends when no one seems to want to give them the chance? As always, Julie and Lydiaand#8217;s hilarious back-and-forth notes form the backbone of the novel, in which Amy Ignatow reveals all-too-real truths about friendship and loyalty.
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 Ooga.” 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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