Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’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 don’t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents won’t 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.

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.

Visually this is one of the coolest, fun, and well put together fiction books I've ever seen, and I don't say that lightly. I loved every page, unlike some illustrated middle grade or children's titles every page in this book is a production, color pencil illustrations, handwriting to represent 2 characters, knitting swatches, photos. It's pretty darn believable that this was put together by 2 5th graders. Ok maybe Julie is an extra talented artist for a 5th grader, but I'm willing to buy that this is the journal of two girls.

And the story, it was HILARIOUS! Spying on the popular girls at school and attempting tasks to be like them, that usually end in disaster (bald spots, stick fighting lessons, having a boy write a poem about you that the whole school sings.)

This book is golden. The story is great, the illustrations are great, and together it's hilariously perfect! Anyone that has an appreciate for multimedia books, graphic type novels, or funny kid drawings would like this. And I can't stress enough that it's not just about the art, there is a great story here about 2 friends learning about themselves, and how to make new friends, and getting to know their families better.

I liked how their families were important to the story, Julie's 2 dads, and Lydia's mother and goth sister. I loved Melody (the goth sister) and how slowly it turns out she isn't as weird as the girls thought she was, don't judge a person by their appearance! And there is knitting in this book, it's like the author read my mind and put things I specifically would like into this book. I will be on the lookout for anything else she creates, you can count on that!

The Popularity Papers is released today!
Genre: Middle Grade
5/5 Stars
ARC provided by publisher


  1. I just lent this book to my neighbor who is the same age as the characters. I hope she enjoys it as much as you did!

  2. If the inside is anything like the cover, the illustrations are great! This book sounds like so much fun!

  3. The cover is quite cool and Julie plays Field Hockey?! No one in books plays FH, so I must read it for that especially since she's an accidental field hockey star.

    This book sounds cute and I love reading funny books with illustrations to match!

    Your review has made me wany to read this book even more :)

  4. Anonymous7:49 AM

    This sounds great!!! thanks for sharing it. I think it'll have to be one I add to my bookshelves at school. I think many girls could relate.


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