‘Popular’ by Maya Van Wagenen [Book Review]

With the end of the year fast approaching, I’m making a concerted effort to tackle my toppling Currently Reading pile. One book I’d been dipping in and out of for months was Popular by Maya Van Wagenen, which I finally finished today for the 2017 Reading Challenge.

Title: Popular
Author: Maya Van Wagenen
Released: 2014
Pages: 259
Category: #64 A book written by somebody younger than you
Rating: 4/10


“Maybe real popularity comes from when you take time to listen to someone else. When you actually care about them.”

Popular is a memoir/self-help book written by a middle-school student in Southern USA. Our narrator is unashamedly unpopular, but upon discovering a fifty year old guide on increasing ones popularity, she decides to discover whether the advice is still valid in the modern day.

The book is told in diary form, with Maya adopting one lesson per month as an experiment in potentially increasing her popularity at school. Whilst it did feel juvenile (it is written by a young teenager after all) it was a semi-interesting read.

Despite this being a relatively short book with a young-ish target audience, I genuinely found it to be a chore to get through. I really wanted to enjoy it, but I largely found it dull. However, there were some surprising results from Maya’s experiment, and the simple fact that she became a more confident, self-assured and approachable individual as a result was a wonderful outcome.

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