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Parents' Guide to

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Middle schooler tries '50s popularity guide in fun memoir.

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+

Positive Messages

In this coming of age memoir, a young girl experiments by following a 50's popularity guide. Throughout her 8th grade school year, Maya faces what many middle school students (and adults!) fear most- judgment from her peers. Popular is a heart-warming book and one many young people could benefit from reading. Major themes: Self-Identity and Friendship
age 13+

We need more books for teenagers like this!

I am really impressed with this unique, honest memoir of a real teenage girl's life. The story is warm, funny and heartfelt, but I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers as the author is pretty frank when it comes to some more grown-up subjects. However, she is also a good role-model and definitely someone readers can relate to. I really enjoyed this story and it gave me a lot to think about once I'd finished it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (5 ):

POPULAR: VINTAGE WISDOM FOR A MODERN GEEK has a fun premise, and sweet, smart, sensitive Maya is a girl lots of tween and teen readers can relate to. Her crazy antics -- like wearing a girdle to school! -- will leave readers laughing. But they'll also be touched by some of the personal details she shares: She feels overwhelmed on the her dead sister's birthday, and also when a beloved teacher dies; her school is on the border with Mexico and students face lockdowns and searches from drug-sniffing dog; kids and adults often say hurtful things to her -- and she also catches herself saying inane things to them!.

Readers get a clear look at Maya's home and school life, and understand that while both can be hard, she sees what's special about them, too. It's these great details and Maya's authentic voice that make her realization that "most people are waiting to be discovered too" both believable and poignant. Some may find the original 1950s advice about watching your figure a bit old-fashioned and even offensive, but lessons about holding yourself with confidence and -- especially -- reaching out to other people, will make a bigger impression on readers, as they do on Maya.

Book Details

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