“School is the armpit of life”, says Maya Van Wagenen in her honest, touching, and hilarious memoir, Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek. It is true, school can be the hardest years of your life, and despite what you may think, no matter how popular you are, Maya’s book shows that every other student in school thinks the same thing.
When Maya discovers an old 1950’s guide to being popular, she goes well beyond reading it – she uses it as the subject of a year long experiement. For one entire school year, Maya decides to try out each of the chapters in the book to discover exactly what it takes to become popular. From wearing pearls, to Vaseline on her eyelids, to working on her posture, to confronting her biggest fear – talking with strangers – Maya takes this experiment to heart, and does everything the book says. No matter how embarrassing.
Maya writes with a maturity that goes well beyond her years, and her investigation into how to become popular becomes something much more. Maya unlocks the real truth behind popularity, and offers sage advice for others who want to fit in, and be liked, no matter how shy they are. Maya isn’t completely withdrawn, but she is certainly not particularly confident, and has trouble talking to strangers (or boys she likes). The advice she follows in the guide book proves that some things are really timeless, and that popularity is more about self-confidence and being nice to others than wearing the right clothes.
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek is a book that any tween or young teen should read, especially those about to embark on the adventure that is high school. It is smart, funny, and a guide book in itself. If you’ve ever struggled to fit in, or make new friends, then pick up this book now! You won’t regret it.