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How to be Popular
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
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 Some of the guide's advice is obviously outdated -- the book suggests white kid gloves, for example.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?