Author: Maya Van Wagenen
Publisher: Dutton Books
Blurb: (from goodreads) A touchingly honest, candidly hysterical memoir from breakout teen author Maya Van Wagenen
Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren't paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular?
The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise—meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.
Me: The concept itself didn't really interest me at first, but I'd seen it at a lot of bookstores and the fact that it was written by a fifteen year old really intrigued me.
The Ups: First...the cover. If you read the book, you find out she is basing her popularity experiment on a 1950s popularity guide, and I think that the cover reflects the colors and cuteness of that time period and the modern teenage life perfectly.
I think that if this book had been a novel, and written in fiction about a girl who went through this, I would not have enjoyed it at all. I would have groaned and moaned about how cliche it was. But since it genuinely happened, and I could feel the sincerity of Maya, I found myself laughing and cringing along with her.
I think that what really brought the book to life was the fact that I could really feel Maya through her writing. I think that the entire book was written with very strong voice, and I never got tired of Maya and what she thought. I was always intrigued by her stories, and wanted to be her friend. And I think I really liked her personality. She was someone I would want to be friends with in real life.
The Downs: I guess the overall message, that popularity isn't just about what you wear or whatever, and that it also means having people like you and caring for them, was incredibly sweet but again...a bit cliche. A lot of memoirs have really lasting impressions on me, but the message was just something that has been overused.
Overall: A cute story with a great narrator, but we've seen the concept before.
Rating: 4 kisses!