How to be Popular

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
How to be Popular Book Poster Image
Predictable book with a positive point; tweens OK.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 21 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Steph eventually learns to like being herself -- not being popular.

Violence
Sex

Steph secretly spies on her neighbor undressing; some kissing; Steph wakes up next to Jason, but both are full clothed.

Language

Some stuff, like "ass" or "bitch."

Consumerism

Some product name dropping, such as Krispy Kreme, Pizza Hut, BMW, Calvin Klein, Crest Whitestrips.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The A-crowd plans a rager, complete with a keg.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book features a queen bee who ruthlessly torments Steph, the narrator. For her part, Steph spies on her neighbor when he's undressing, helps plan a party, and kisses two different boys. In the end, there's a good message about being true to yourself.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2, 8, and 12 year old Written bycremepie998 September 2, 2012

OK for mature kids...

My daughter saw this book in the local bookstore, read the back, and begged me to buy it. We decided I would read it first, and if it was OK, she would read it... Continue reading
Adult Written byedrianna September 19, 2010

Great t-weans and older kids.

I can read this book 1,000,000
Teen, 13 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

Just like every other Cabot

I could predict this book even before I started reading it but thats because I have read all of Meg's books. It follows that typicl Cabot setup: Girl (not... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 15, 2010

miss

i love this book so much . i am doing a synophsis of this book for my school work :)

What's the story?

With the help of an outdated book about popularity, Steph Landry is determined to trade in her social leper status for life on the A-list.

\ But as she starts to climb the social ladder, she realizes that popularity isn't everything she dreamed it to be.

Is it any good?

Readers will know from the beginning what unpopular Steph will learn as she struggles to hang out with the A-crowd. They'll even know who she'll eventually hook up with (Hint: It's not the school's hot quarterback). They may also wonder how they're supposed to feel about the old book that inspires Steph's popularity plan. Some of the guide's advice is obviously outdated -- the book suggests white kid gloves, for example. But Steph's book also encourages girls to get involved in school activities, smile, and to remember other people's names -- all of which is actually pretty good advice, and does help Steph become popular.

But, even with these holes, readers will find this an entertainting read, and be thrilled when Steph finally figures out what really matters. They may even want to re-read the section where Steph tells Lauren -- the school's queen bee -- to buzz off, because "there are a lot more Steph Landry's in the world -- people who've made fools of themselves in public, people who don't have every hair perfectly in place all the time, people who don't have rich parents who'll buy them a new car every year -- than there are stuck-up beauty queens like you."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about other books and movies that deal with the concept of popularity. What other titles can you think of? How accurate are their depictions of what it's like to be "popular" -- and not? Are most popular kids really rich, gossipy, and mean? And if so, why would anyone want to be part of an A-group?

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