4 Star Reads, Book Review

The Popularity Papers – Amy Ignatow

The Popularity Papers (The Popularity Papers, #1)

The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Popularity Papers follow two friends, Lydia and Julie, as they try to figure out how to become popular in middle school. It can’t be that difficult, right? The two girls create a journal to record their thoughts, observations, to tape their notes into, and compile everything they figure out over the course of their last year in elementary school. The book is written as a mix of stories, scenes, pictures, and although it is a quick read I felt that it was able to capture a lot.

Lydia plans to do most of the experimentation, while Julie documents (since Julie is better at drawing and her handwriting is neater.) It was clear that Lydia was more concerned with obtaining popularity in middle school than Julie was and tended to run the show. Julie was quieter and usually just went along with what Lydia wanted. It was nice that the author was able to capture their distinct personalities (as well as some of the supporting characters) so well in a relatively short period of time.

We were also able to experience Lydia and Julie’s home lives, in addition to seeing their time at school. I had to read this book for class since it is one of the books that has been banned or challenged for children – which means that someone thought that there was something inappropriate in this for children and that they shouldn’t read it. I tried to guess what it might be, but none of my guesses were correct. I read through the entire book and nothing stood out to me. What could have gotten this book challenged or banned? After a quick search, I found out that it was because Julie has two dads. Honestly. that was one of the best parts of the book. It wasn’t a big deal in the books and I loved that. The first time I remember her talking about her dads she mentions daddy and papa dad, which could have been her grandfather for all we know. The author doesn’t write it as if it’s unusual and that’s exactly how it should be. I also loved that her dads each had their own distinct personalities. Daddy was the more stable, down to earth one and Papa Dad was more likely to indulge their whims (within reason) and do silly things.

This is a really cute series and I think that older kids in elementary school or early middle school would really enjoy reading this book. There are a few good lessons in it and the characters are taught to appreciate what they have and be happy, rather than always striving for what they don’t and be miserable.

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