Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Popularity Papers: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia and Julie

The Popularity Papers: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia and Julie

Amy Ignatow
Fiction  Series
For ages 9 to 12
Amulet Books, 2011   ISBN: 978-0810997240

Lydia and her best friend Julie are going to be going into junior high, and they are very excited about the new adventure that lies ahead of them. A month ahead of the big even,t Lydia’s mother sits her daughters down and gives them the “yearly budget conversation.” As far as Lydia is concerned, this is not a big deal, but the next piece of news is. Lydia’s mother tells her daughters that she has been offered a great job opportunity and they are going to live in London for six months. To say that Lydia is devastated is an understatement. How could her mother do this to them without any warning?

Julie and Lydia make a pact that they will remain friends “no matter what,” and their parents arrange it so that the girls can communicate via the Internet on a regular basis. Both Julie and Lydia are grateful to have this connection, and soon they are writing to each other and describing what is going on in their respective new schools.

Lydia soon finds herself in a leadership role in her English school. Thanks to her “Superior Fighting Skills” she becomes the protector of the “weird” kids, the kids who don’t fit in anywhere and who are given a hard time. Lydia decides that “weird and cool are not Mutually Exclusive,” and therefore a person can be “weird and cool at the same time.” What a revelation!

Meanwhile, Julie has somehow ended up being a member of the Bichons, a group of the uber cool popular kids who are led by Della Dawn. Della decides that Julie is “cute,” and so Julie finds herself going to the mall and the skate park with the Bichons, even though she finds them and their chosen activities to be boring. Who knew that being popular could be so dull.

In this second Popularity Papers book, Julie and Lydia continue their education vis-à-vis friendship, popularity, and other tweenage concerns. Though they are thousands of miles apart, the girls manage to stay friends and they both make important discoveries about themselves and about what is really important in life.

Written in the form of a journal with drawings, notes, email conversations and more, this is a book that will both entertain and engage young readers who are going through their own confusing growing up experiences.