Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Popularity Papers: Love and Other Fiascos

The Popularity Papers: Love and Other Fiascos

Amy Ignatow
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Harry N. Abrams, 2013   ISBN: 978-1419708596

Two weeks ago Roland kissed Julie for the first time and now what was once an easy friendship has become, well, complicated. Julie isn’t sure what to do. Does Roland want to be her boyfriend or does he want to “just stay friends?” Julie hasn’t a clue, and her best friend Lydia doesn’t really know how to advise her. Neither one of them knows much about dating boys. Lydia decides that the thing to do is to ask Jane for advice. Jane has been dating Chuck on and off for months now.

   Jane tells Julie that she and Roland need to have “The Talk.” Apparently this important discussion is one that couples have when they want “to figure out what’s going on with their relationship.” Julie tries to have the talk with Roland but it isn’t easy. Then, thank goodness, Roland asks Julie to go and see a movie with him.

   Julie’s “date” presents a new set of problems. For one thing she is not sure if she wants to do the things Jane insists one is supposed to do when one goes to see a movie with a date. For another Julie’s Papa Dad goes nuts. When he hears about the date he becomes the overly protective dad in the extreme, even though he has met and talked to Roland and knows that he is a really nice person.

   Julie and Roland go on the date, which is okay though not exactly fantastic. While Julie is on the date, Lydia finds out that her mother is engaged to be married. When her mother went to England in the summer Coach Eric proposed to her and soon he will be coming to the States to live with Lydia’s mother, Lydia, and Lydia’s sister Melody.

   Lydia is feeling pretty okay about the wedding until Melody tells her that Eric is leaving his two children behind, which is what Melody and Lydia’s father did when they were little. Melody has never forgiven her dad for moving away like that and she thinks that Eric is a monster for abandoning his children. Melody wants to sabotage the wedding and she wants Lydia and Julie to help her do it.

   In this wonderful sixth Popularity Papers title, the author once again gives us a story that is funny, poignant, and also very relevant to young teens. The problems of surviving a first date are handled with sensitivity and humor, as are the problems associated with second marriages and blended families. Told from the point of view of both Julie (who can draw great pictures) and Lydia (who cannot) the story will resonate with teens who are going through their own growing pains.