Reviews for Popularity Papers : Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang


Booklist Reviews 2010 March #1
Before they leave elementary school behind, two fifth-grade best friends are determined to uncover the secrets of popularity by observing, recording, discussing, and replicating the behaviors of the cool girls, because when you're popular, "You are just better." In a notebook format, this heavily illustrated title shows their research in dramatic, alternating, handwritten entries and colorful, hilarious drawings. Lydia lives with her single mom and pseudo-goth older sister; Julie lives with her two dads. All the girls' family members play big roles in the process, which lasts the whole school year and realistically includes instances in which the girls misjudge and misunderstand themselves and others. Their experiences may be typically tween (boys, cell phones, camping trips, and school musicals), but their reactions to them are laugh-out-loud funny and definitely on par with, though much more feminine than, Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Ignatow offers a quick, fun, well-developed story that invites repeated readings. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Lydia lives with her mom and goth sister; Julie lives with her two dads. The girls are best friends on the cusp of junior high. Aspiring to understand popularity, they scientifically observe the cool kids. They track their data in a journal/scrapbook, and their research is presented, in sketches and alternating handwriting, in this clever and humorous volume. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2010 March #2
This piquant tale chronicles a duo's campaign to improve their social position prior to junior high. Lydia and Julie embark upon a reconnaissance mission to determine what makes a person popular in order to apply this knowledge to their own lives. As they navigate changes in their perspectives and subsequently their friendship, the pair discovers heretofore-unknown strengths. With a keen eye, Ignatow depicts the more comical aspects of teen angst, such as Julie's utter horror upon hearing the new student has written her a love song in Norwegian--to be sung before the entire school. The inclusion of several well-defined supporting characters adds dimension to the tale. The journal-style format contributes to the tale's authenticity, with each girl providing a distinctive narrative voice. Liberally spread throughout the text, the acerbic, witty, full-color illustrations illuminate the girls' perspective. Alternately poignant and uproarious, this is a satisfying addition to the tween genre. (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 March #2

This one's for the Wimpy Girls. Riffing on and amplifying the increasingly common diary-style format, Ignatow uses "handwritten" notes and copious full-color cartoons to put a fresh spin on that quintessential scholastic goal: to be popular. Fifth-graders Lydia and Julie record observations about the habits of popular girls in a secret notebook and set out to test them, leading to a series of entertaining misadventures. Lydia ends up with a bald patch trying to give herself a blonde streak, and the girls' convoluted scheme to get cellphones results in a pair of horribly embarrassing models. Of course, the girls learn that popularity has a price, and even their own lifelong friendship becomes strained. The book's course may be predictable, but Ignatow taps into the girls' preteen concerns and earnest, passionate personalities via the creative format, with its dueling narratives and illustrations that feel ripped from a spiral notebook (a fantasy sequence that has Lydia starring in the school play culminates in the arrival of a pink unicorn that "barf[s] up pirate treasure!!"). Readers will quickly devour this hilarious, heartfelt debut. Ages 9-13. (Apr.)

[Page 56]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2010 April

Gr 4-6--Fifth-graders Lydia and Julie, best friends, decide to observe "the popular girls" at their school in preparation for junior high. Julie, who lives with her two dads, loves to draw, and Lydia, who lives with her mom and sister, loves to sing. In this Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams, 2007) for girls, the story is told entirely in full-color drawings and in each girl's individual handwriting as they pass their notebook back and forth to record their observations. Of course, things don't go as planned--though the girls' quest for popularity leads them to new hobbies and new friends, it also challenges their own friendship. This entertaining look at the social hierarchy of preteens and the challenges of growing up will entice even the most reluctant readers.--Laurie Slagenwhite, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI

[Page 160]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

----------------------
VOYA Reviews 2010 August
Lydia and Julie have spent life on the fringes of popularity at their school. Well, maybe not the fringes. Not even within the realm of coolness is closer to the truth, but the best friends devise a plan to forge their way onto the radar scope of the popular people at school They actively begin documenting the "research" that they hope will begin to shift their fortune. As they take note of what draws attention to the popular kids, they begin to dabble in different activities. Lydia and Julie are willing to try everything from bleaching hair to stick fighting in their quest for acclaim. But what will become of their friendship when that very recognition begins to get the better of them This title is a fast read and will be very appealing to reluctant readers due to its illustrations and graphic novel format. The situations in which the characters find themselves are increasingly funny, and the outcome is pretty realistic. It is also refreshing to see the families of the main characters come from diverse backgrounds. This would be a nice addition to a growing collection that serves tweens and would be well-received at a school or public library.--Robbie Flowers Graphic Format 3Q 3P M J Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.

----------------------