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4.4 10
by Todd Strasser

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Celeste is the new girl at school. But she's already sitting with the "Don't You Wish You Were Me" girls. So Lauren is shocked when Celeste befriends her. Lauren gets an inside view into the DYWYWM world through Celeste's eyes. But Celeste doesn't see things the way other girls do. She doesn't play by their rules-or by anyone else's.


Celeste is the new girl at school. But she's already sitting with the "Don't You Wish You Were Me" girls. So Lauren is shocked when Celeste befriends her. Lauren gets an inside view into the DYWYWM world through Celeste's eyes. But Celeste doesn't see things the way other girls do. She doesn't play by their rules-or by anyone else's.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In this convincing, crisply written novel, Strasser (Give a Boy a Gun) tackles head-on a very real middle-school predicament-the price one can be tempted to pay for popularity. Referring to herself throughout in the second person, narrator Lauren immediately draws readers into her life as she explains that she and her best friend Tara are eating lunch in that part of the cafeteria she dubs "the realm of the socially inferior," while the popular girls sit at the "Don't-You-Wish-You-Were-Me table." Though she longs to be part of the in-crowd, Lauren lacks the confidence to even attempt to belong; she refuses to wear makeup, for example, because she fears that her classmates would "snigger and say you were trying to be an A-list girl. It's safer not to try." The author carefully tracks the girl's growing self-confidence after Celeste, an outgoing new girl who instantly becomes a member of the elite group, befriends Lauren and convinces her to run with her for co-treasurer in their class elections. Unlike Lauren, basking in the glow of her new popularity, readers will pick up on the numerous clues that the manipulative, plotting Celeste is hardly trustworthy. Strasser caps his story with a believable denouement, in which Lauren learns a painful lesson about the value of genuine friendship and of confidence that comes from within. Ages 10-up. (Dec.)
Children's Literature
Lauren is a good kid but she desperately wants to be a member of the in-group and Celeste, the new popular chick, successfully cons Lauren into cheating and doing her homework. The reader is very aware of what Celeste is doing and feels like screaming at Lauren to stop making stupid decisions. Lauren is lulled into believing that Celeste is a true friend and that she is on her path to become popular. Lauren and Celeste win the election of class co-treasurer and plan an ice skating party. When Lauren goes to pay for the rink, she finds all the money taken out of the class account and uses her hard-earned baby-sitting money to pay for the party. Although never proven, Lauren believes Celeste forged her signature and withdrew all the money for herself. The book is written by putting "you," the reader in Lauren's shoes. Would you have the confidence to stand up for what is right or would you be conned by Celeste's lies and manipulations? The characters and situation are very real, and girls can easily identify with the struggles to be popular, to preserve their own identity, and to have the confidence to remain honest and loyal. 2002, Holiday House, Rose
Lauren has always been unpopular. She sits in the cafeteria with only one friend while staring enviously at the popular group and the wannabes who are almost falling off the ends of the benches at the in-crowd's table. That is, until Celeste, an instantly popular new girl in school, befriends her and helps her get on student council. Lauren soon discovers, although more slowly than the reader, that her new best friend is stealing from her, from stores during their frequent shopping trips, and maybe even from the class bank account. In the end, Lauren learns how to develop her own confidence. The second-person narrative makes the story a little confusing, but the novel would carry the same result if written in the first or third person. Although in reality the bad guy is not always caught, one would hope that the school administration and a modern bank equipped with video cameras and tellers with decent memories could more easily solve the problem of a teenager's forgery. Nevertheless, the book will be entertaining for those who long to sit at the popular table, and it might give them their own confidence when they are shown some of the consequences of popularity. The writing and lack of any mature content make this novel best suited for the middle school years. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2002, Holiday House, 154p,
— Jennifer Bromann
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Popular Krista reigns over the cafeteria as the top DYWYWM ("Don't-You-Wish-You-Were-Me") girl and Lauren, her former best friend, sits with fellow reject, Tara. When new girl Celeste Van Werner comes on the scene, everything changes. Her confidence is unmatched even by Krista, and when she claims Lauren as her friend, the shy, tentative girl is ecstatic. The two of them work together (actually Lauren does all the work) and get elected as class co-treasurers. It takes Lauren a while to realize that Celeste is using her for a bigger goal-to take over Krista's position, which Lauren unwittingly helps her accomplish. Told in second person, this novel highlights the darker side of cliques, peer pressure and acceptance, and friendship. However, it is not entirely convincing that Lauren's lack of self-confidence would explain her blindness to Celeste's evil side. Any reader will know long before Lauren that Celeste is up to no good, causing the revelation at the end-that Celeste has stolen the class money and successfully blamed Lauren for the crime-to fall flat. The theme of friendship is fully explored, among others, but when Lauren disregards the faithful Tara simply because Celeste is one of the "chosen," she comes across as a less than worthy heroine.-Linda Bindner, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In tackling the well-worn theme of a girl who aspires to enter the in-crowd, Strasser (Give a Boy a Gun, 2000, etc.) complicates the usual plot by introducing a female, middle-school version of a con man. Lauren, who spends lunchtime with her overweight friend Tara, longingly watches the popular girls� table as Celeste, a new girl, joins the inner circle. When Celeste befriends her, Lauren hopes it will pull her into the clique. But it�s soon obvious that Celeste is untrustworthy, stealing Lauren�s CDs, copying her homework, borrowing money she doesn�t repay, yet never inviting Lauren to the coveted lunch table. Why Lauren is so desperate to be popular, and why Celeste is so devious, are never clear. The hints about Celeste�s dishonesty intensify when Lauren and Celeste are elected co-treasurers of their class. Implausibly, they can withdraw hundreds of dollars from the class bank account with only their signatures and no adult approval. When Celeste insists they practice their signatures together, it�s obvious�although apparently not to Lauren�that Celeste is up to something. She fakes Lauren�s signature and steals the money, successfully setting Lauren up to take the blame and sacrifice her hard-earned savings to make up for some of the loss. Equally implausibly, parents are not called in and the principal decides to overlook the $200 still missing. The text addresses readers as "you," but since readers are unlikely to be as gullible as Lauren, equating them with her is distracting. While readers may identify with the premise of wishing to be popular even at a high price, the awkward narrative voice and the holes in the plot keep this from being wholly persuasive. (Fiction 10-13)

Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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Con-fidence 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Onomis More than 1 year ago
CON-Fidence By Todd Strasser CON-Fidence is a book all about fitting in and surviving middle school. Popular Krista, from the D.Y.W.Y.W.M. (Don’t You Wish You Were Me) table, rules the school, but when the new girl, Celeste Van Warner, starts school in the middle of October everything changes. Will Krista still be the head of the table? Lauren, the narrator, becomes friends with Celeste. But something’s not right…Tara, Lauren’s best friend, and Stephanie, another popular, say something’s not right about Celeste. Will we ever find out what that something is? Celeste constantly asks Lauren for homework answers. How long will this friendship last? This juicy read includes romance, drama and suspense. A great read for any age. I highly suggest this book, it is one of my favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gave me a new sence of con-fidence! Like the one Strasser talks about in the book. I have a new glow and I have a new persepctive on popularity and the wanna-bes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book and I love it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The critics give pretty much the whole plot, but it is still interesting to see hpw Celeste works. If you're the type of reader who likes to be at the edge of their seat and predcting what you know is wrong--------- then, this book is NOT for you. Ithas good vocab, however some things are TOO predicting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. It is true about friendships, the ups and downs, I love it. I smile every time I open this book. This is a book you want in your hands soon!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think it is a good story that will help the reader see how hard it is to have confidence when you are very shy and lack self-esteem. Being someone who was like Lauren I was totally able to relate to her. Although none of my 'so-called friends' did what Celeste did I was used in other ways. I liked how Lauren did gain her confidence at the end of the story and realized all that was important was that she had a few true friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was incredible! The auther writes it almost from your point of veiw in the situation of another girl. I felt like I was in the book. It is a midnight reader I could not put down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Confidece is a really interesting book. Some parts were a little bit too predictable for my students.