Monday, May 9, 2011

The Popularity Papers (Books 1 & 2) Review!

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Review by: Lauren

Copy From:

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Summary: Lydia and Julie have been best friends for years but now that they are coming to the end of fifth grade, they start a dual notebook that will help them to become popular for middle school. They pay attention to the popular girls in their grade and what they wear, what sports they play, and even what boys they have crushes on. As they try and mimick these things, they soon learn what they actually like and what they are just fine tossing aside.

Review: The Popularity Papers is a middle grade series with only two books currrently out. What I loved about the books is that both girls write and draw, except Lydia is a bad drawer and writes in cursive...while Julie is an excellent drawer and has dark, bold writing. If you look at the covers...the characters are "Julie's" drawings. Julie has dark hair...Lydia has blonde.

Even though these are aimed at middle grade readers, I think they would be enjoyed by many. They are fun, quick reads with lots of cool drawings and observations about how to live your life and become the "true you" so to speak....even if that means taking things adults say with a grain of salt!

The reason I'm putting this book on Let's Get Beyond Tolerance is because Julie has two dads and no mom. I thought this was great for many reasons. One, I think LGBT characters in books are great in general...especially when they are just there and part of normal life. Also, even though I don't read much MG, I haven't read or heard of any other titles that really focus on LGBT characters. Julie loves her dads, calling them Daddy and Papa Dad. They are quirky and fun and serious and just good parents. It's great to see this overall, like I said, but even better to have it in an MG novel where younger kids can learn to accept these things a bit earlier.

The Popularity Papers: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

Review by: Lauren

Copy From:

Summary: Lydia's mom has gotten a great job opportunity and will be going off to England with her two daughters...much to their dislike. One of the good things is that it will only be six months but that's still six months of middle school away from her best friend, Julie. While in England, Lydia forms a group of friends consisting of some of the kids on the outer fringe of popularity. As for Julie, she makes her way into one of the most popular cliques known as the Bichons.

Review: Using some of what they observed in the first book, both girls try and become a bit more popular...and still learn as much as they their respective corners of the world. I personally love anything that deals with England so it was really fun to see Lydia's adventures there and the new words she learned. Lydia's particular crisis in this book is that she must learn to accept people as they are and sure, encourage your friends, but don't force them to do things. She also must deal with her mom possibly falling for a guy...and where does that leave her? Stuck in England?

Julie, on the other hand, is doing pretty well for herself...or so you think. She soon realizes that the Bichons aren't that great of people and she'll have to figure out just who her real friends are and how to stand up for herself.

These are all pretty universal issues, and some of them can take place at even an older age...which goes with the idea that these aren't just for the MG crowd.  I like that the girls are bit clueless with things. I don't think they are too "dumb" or anything, just a bit naive. They are kind of dorky girls who really only had each other for awhile...and here they are in middle school with kids from various elementary schools and they have to survive. Well, at least Julie does. Lydia has to make do with everything being new.

I loved that Ignatow plays with Lydia and Julie's friendship in various ways. They aren't always happy with each other...they argue, they write things about each other (for only their eyes), and they stop talking sometimes. It's a normal friendship that grows and changes.

As for Julie's dads, you seem them just as much in this one as the other...and they are just as adorable! I think Ignatow does a great job showcasing various parents and siblings (such as Lydia's sister, Melody). They are all very unique and their own people...but it works somehow, like most families!

1 comment:

Doret said...

I love this series. When you get a chance email me

I want to two books, with gay characters. One is YA the other is fiction with YA crossover appeal.