Since most of the YA books I read are fiction and many of those are dark and depressing, I’m always on the lookout for nonfiction titles and for books that are sweet and uplifting at their core. Popular: A Memoir by Maya Van Wagenen succeeds on both counts!
This is the true story of a girl who tried to do something brave. She tried to come out of her shell and become popular. In order to transform herself, she used a book called Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide. Betty Cornell wrote that book in 1951, and Maya’s father had bought a copy of that book at a thrift store before Maya was born.
Maya decided to see if advice that was over 60 years old would still work today, and if it could help her transform into something she definitely wasn’t. Because up until now Maya had been quiet and shy, she only had a few friends, and she hated talking to strangers. But when she was in 8th grade Maya used this book to learn how to use Vaseline instead of makeup on her eyes, how to brush her hair 100 times before she went to sleep at night, how to close her pores with ice cubes, how to wear pearls, how to stand tall, how to talk to strangers, and how to transform herself into a whole new person.