Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Popularity Papers: Book Five: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia and Juli

The Popularity Papers: Book Five: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia and Juli

Amy Ignatow
Amulet Books, 2013   ISBN: 978-1419705366

Julie and Lydia are back from their cross country road trip. Not much changed in their absence except for Lydia’s sister Melody who is no longer a bad-tempered Goth girl. Now she is fresh-faced hippie-type person who oozes goodwill and gentle wisdom. The change in Melody is very weird indeed and the girls don’t quite know how to treat her.

Julie and Lydia have their birthdays in August, which is a real drag because most of their friends are on vacation or at camp, and you cannot throw a decent party without guests. The girls have to content themselves with having a small family celebration, and they focus their attention on the question of presents. Julie wants her own computer, one that is loaded with programs that will allow her to do graphics. Lydia wants them both to ask for musical instruments so that they can form a band. After all, everyone knows that people in bands are cool and that cool people are not teased.

Reluctantly Julie agrees that it might be a good thing to form a school band, and so the girls ask their parents for musical instruments. Julie gets a drum set and Lydia gets a guitar. The friends soon realize that learning how to make music (versus noise) with their instruments is not going to be easy.

When school starts Julie and Lydia take comfort in the fact that they are no longer newbie sixth graders who don’t have a clue. Now they know what to expect and they feel comfortable in their school environment. Roland, their Norwegian friend, is in their band and Chuck starts toif he can join. This makes things really awkward. Last year Chuck dumped Lydia as his friend because his girlfriend Jane (jealous Jane) told him to. Not surprisingly, Lydia does not have warm fuzzy feelings for Chuck. She does not even care that Chuck and Jane are no longer together.

Things get even more awkward when Jane starts asking, and asking, if she can join the band. She ruthlessly sets about trying to convince Julie and Lydia to let her join, which they finally do when she says that the band can practice at her house. Julie and Lydia can hold out against Jane’s pleading for only so long.

Then, out of the blue, Jane announces that their band, the Macrame Owls, has been offered a paid gig, a birthday party gig. Julie is horrified. How on earth can they do a gig when they don’t have any proper songs and when all they can do is make noise?

Once again Julie and Lydia bring us a story, in journal form, which is deliciously funny and entertaining. Readers will laugh when they see how Julie freaks out when she is forced to perform. Lydia is better at deluding herself that everything will work out in the end. The funny thing is that it does. Sort of. In a strange sort of Julie and Lydia way.