The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Summer Reading V: How To Be Popular

I am very fortunate to have a large number of nephews and nieces whose ages range from 16 years to a few months. Every time I visit them, I ask for book recommendations, especially from the older ones. All of my nephews and nieces who know how to read do read and quite a bit, actually. It is great when I can get a solid recommendation out of one of them!

About a week ago, I was visiting my parents and other family members, including some of my nephews and nieces. I asked my niece, who is going into sixth grade, what books she’s read recently that I should read. She gave me two suggestions: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha van Leer, and How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot. I immediately checked with my library and found the latter available as an eBook, so I downloaded it and read it.

After I finished, I asked my niece if she’d be interested in writing a review that I could share here. She was eager to do so. Here is what she submitted to me, with no changes other than a few typographical correction:

How to Popular by Meg Cabot is about Steph Landry, Becca and Jason. Three teenagers who are all best friends. Main character Steph is trying to be popular because of her bad reputation. In the sixth grade she spilled a big red super gulp on mega popular girl Lauren Moffat. Read the book to find more. I really liked the book and I love Meg Cabot.

Here is what I have to say about How To Be Popular by Meg Cabot:

Steph Landry is a teenage girl, dealing with the typical struggles of a teenage girl: relationships with boys, relationships with her best friends, relationships with her family, and relationships with her classmates, particularly those in the “A Crowd.” When Steph was in 6th grade, she accidentally tripped and spilled her Big Red Super Gulp on the most popular girl in school, Lauren Moffat. Lauren, rather than accepting Steph’s apology (which included buying her a new skirt), targeted Steph with an ongoing cruel prank of coining the phrase “pull a Steph Landry,” used any time a person does something really bone-headed.

Steph discovers a book in her best friend’s grandmother’s attic that teaches how to be popular. The summer before 11th grade, she uses her personal savings to buy new clothes and seeks to remake her image by joining the “A Crowd” at school. What follows is a delightful tale of self-discovery, personal worth, friendship, love, and conquering your enemies without destroying them.

Now, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but I never experienced any of the things a typical teenage girl experiences, due to the fact that I was never a teenage girl. As such, I really enjoyed this book because it gave me insights into some of the struggles that girls in my classes experience. (Even though I don’t teach teenagers, many of these “girl problems” start to form in grade school.)

A huge thank you to my niece for recommending How To Be Popular! I can hardly wait to read Between the Lines. In fact, I may make a trip to the library today to pick up a copy! In the meantime, you should make a trip to the library to read Meg Cabot’s fantastic story!

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