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How to Be Popular

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Overview

Everyone wants to be popular -- or at least, Stephanie Landry does. Steph's been the least popular girl in her class since a certain cherry Super Big Gulp catastrophe five years earlier.

Does being popular matter?

It matters very much -- to Steph. That's why this year, she has a plan to get in with the It Crowd in no time flat. She's got a secret weapon: an old book called --...

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Overview

Everyone wants to be popular -- or at least, Stephanie Landry does. Steph's been the least popular girl in her class since a certain cherry Super Big Gulp catastrophe five years earlier.

Does being popular matter?

It matters very much -- to Steph. That's why this year, she has a plan to get in with the It Crowd in no time flat. She's got a secret weapon: an old book called -- what else? -- How to Be Popular.

What does it take to be popular?

All Steph has to do is follow the instructions in The Book, and soon she'll be partying with the It Crowd (including school quarterback Mark Finley) instead of sitting on The Hill Saturday nights, stargazing with her nerdy best pal Becca, and even nerdier Jason (now kind of hot, but still), whose passion for astronomy Steph once shared.

Who needs red dwarves when you're invited to the hottest parties in town?

But don't forget the most important thing about popularity!

It's easy to become popular. What isn't so easy? Staying that way.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Steph Landry is tired of being unpopular ("If anyone in school does anything remotely crack-headed or dorky, people are all, `Don't pull a Steph!' "). After she discovers an old guide to popularity, she resolves to improve her status. She buys a new wardrobe, organizes a school fundraiser and smiles a lot. The plot is entertaining, if predictable: Steph quickly rises to the top, even forming a friendship with her cute crush. But along the way she strains her relationship with her best friend and neighbor, Jason-and slowly sees that life at the pinnacle is not all it seems. Readers may have trouble believing that the heroine's sixth-grade faux pas would warrant the long-term wrath of the school's queen bee (Steph accidentally spilled her Big Red Super Big Gulp on Lauren's designer skirt in front of the whole cafeteria). But the characters and dialogue come across as genuine and funny. Readers will likely find the antiquated advice from the popularity book hilarious ("People are drawn to those who have the ability to make them feel excited whether about a car wash, a weenie roast, or a sock hop!"). Steph realizes there is some truth to it, though, even if what the book really helped her do was figure out how she feels about Jason. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Joanna Solomon
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2006: Steph, funny and wholesome, is notorious at her school for once spilling a drink all over the most popular girl. Time has passed and she's fed up with being the butt of all jokes. When Steph comes across a book called How to Be Popular, she quickly sets out to change her reputation and present a new self. She makes huge strides in what she thinks is the right direction, which causes her to question what she is doing. In the process of becoming popular, she learns about herself and what she actually values, bringing the novel to a satisfying end. As with most Cabot characters (Princess Mia of the Princess Diaries series, for instance), the voice of Steph is well developed and realistic. She comes across as a smart, pleasant teenager who is simply doing what she thinks is sensible. The message about the unimportance of popularity comes across loud and clear by the end of the novel. Even though it's predictable how Steph will end up, the book is still fun and the characters keep it interesting. Reviewer: Joanna Solomon
Children's Literature
Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries, knows a thing or two about how to be popular. Her books are some of the most widely read fiction for adolescent girls in this country. Her new book, How to Be Popular, will be no exception. It follows the common Cabot theme of a slightly geeky girl improving herself to good ends and does so with Cabot's characteristic charm. Steph Landry has been roundly shunned in her small town for years following an unfortunate incident in which she spilled a red slurpee on the white skirt of the town's most popular girl. In an attempt to change her image, Steph acquires a book titled, How to Be Popular. Not surprisingly, her behavior as she follows the book's advice manages to alienate her two loyal best friends. Surprisingly, they are not too alienated AND she does manage to get in and stay in with the popular crowd. How to Be Popular was funny and sweet without being trite. Steph was easy to like and the book is easy to read. How to Be Popular is sure to be a popular choice. 2006, HarperCollins, and Ages 11 to 14.
—Courtney Angermeier
KLIATT
Steph, funny and wholesome, is notorious at her school for once spilling a drink all over the most popular girl. Time has passed and she's fed up with being the butt of all jokes. When Steph comes across a book called How to Be Popular, she quickly sets out to change her reputation and present a new self. She makes huge strides in what she thinks is the right direction, which causes her to question what she is doing. In the process of becoming popular, she learns about herself and what she actually values, bringing the novel to a satisfying end. As with most Cabot characters (Princess Mia of the Princess Diaries series, for instance), the voice of Steph is well developed and realistic. She comes across as a smart, pleasant teenager who is simply doing what she thinks is sensible. The message about the unimportance of popularity comes across loud and clear by the end of the novel. Even though it's predictable how Steph will end up, the book is still fun and the characters keep it interesting. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2006, HarperCollins, 304p., and Ages 12 to 15.
—Joanna Solomon
VOYA - Stephanie Petruso
Steph Landry is tired of being unpopular. She has been the target of jokes since sixth grade when she spilled a red soda on Lauren Moffat's white D&G skirt. Lauren coined the phase "Don't be such a Steph Landry" to ensure she never lived it down. Steph has since been content to hang out with her best friend, Jason, but as she enters eleventh grade, she wants more out of high school. Luckily she finds an old copy of "How to be Popular." The book is full of useful tips, such as "No one likes an arrogant person who lords her supposed superiority over others." She follows the book's advice and begins the school year with flatironed hair and a new attitude. She is determined to be confident and enthusiastic about school. She sits with new people at lunch and organizes a talent auction. Steph does not anticipate Lauren being so angry about her attempt to join the popular crowd or that Jason would be so hurt that she is leaving him behind. As her popularity grows, Steph is forced to make some difficult choices about who and what is truly important to her. Cabot deserves her reputation as one of teen chick lit's most entertaining authors. This endearingly funny book looks at the pain of feeling unpopular. Steph and Jason's friendship will have readers laughing and rooting for her to see what is right in front of her. Public and high school libraries will definitely want to add it to their collection.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up
Meg Cabot's legions of fans will thoroughly enjoy her latest book (HarperTeen, 2006) focusing on the ever-important teen topic of popularity. The story centers on first-person narrator Steph Landry, so unpopular in her small Indiana town that a minor social faux pas in sixth grade has dogged her footsteps all the way to this first week of her junior year of high school. But now Steph has a secret weapon, a book on popularity she found and has used as a blueprint to design her way into the "It Crowd." At first, the reading of passages from "The Book" can be confusing by breaking into the story line, but soon listeners will realize that the excerpts focus on the coming plot events. In the last few chapters of the novel, "The Book" is replaced by intriguing quotes from famous people decrying popularity as a measure of anything. This mirrors Steph's growing awareness that popularity is really the same as having genuine friendships and the respect of others. Kate Reinders reads the sixteen-year-old point of view with a perfect combination of inflection and tone. A must for Cabot fans.
—Jane P. FennCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Armed with a plan, Steph Landry starts junior year determined to shake her place as the butt of her town's saying, "Don't pull a Steph Landry." The saying, coined by her stereotypically popular classmate, Lauren, is the product of a sixth-grade incident when Steph dropped her Super Big Gulp on Lauren's white designer skirt. Tired of suffering for her spill, Steph puts faith in How to Be Popular, a book specializing in reputation resuscitation. Snippets from this sometimes comically outdated text, introduce and loosely shape Cabot's chapters, but don't dominate letting Steph's plan play out naturally as she rockets to popularity and tries to figure out how to reconcile her new status with Jason, her childhood best friend. Steph's relationships with male characters, especially Jason and her grandfather, consistently ring true and develop Steph into a refreshingly believable teen. Despite featuring upperclassmen, Steph's aboveboard actions and mostly pure thoughts make this a fun and light text suitable for a younger audience wanting to read about older teens. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060880125
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/25/2006
  • Pages: 304
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition to her adult contemporary fiction, she is the author of the bestselling young adult fiction series, The Princess Diaries. More than 25 million copies of her novels for children and adults have sold worldwide. Meg lives in Key West, Florida, with her husband.

Biography

Meg Cabot knows that one of the best cures for feeling gawky and conspicuous is reading about someone who sticks out even more than you do. Her books for young adults invariably feature girls who have extraordinary powers that carry extraordinary burdens. Cabot's Princess Diaries series offers up the secret thoughts of Mia Thermopolis, who discovers at age 14 that she is actually the princess of a small European country. This revelation adds significantly to her extant concerns about crushes, friendships, school, and other matters falling under adolescent scrutiny.

Cabot, a native of Indiana weaned on Judy Blume and Barbara Cartland, was already a successful romance novelist (as Patricia Cabot) before she began writing for young adults; her alter-alter ego, Jenny Carroll, began a new series shortly after The Princess Diaries debuted. The Carroll books are divided between the Mediator series, starring a girl who can communicate with restless ghosts; and the 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU books, in which a girl struck by lightning acquires the ability to locate missing people.

Cabot writes her books in a conspiratorial, first-person style that resonates with her readers. She has obviously kept a grip on the vernacular and the key issues of adolescence; but what makes her books so irresistible is the mixing of the mundane with the fantastic. After all, who wouldn't like to wake up and be a princess all of a sudden, or a seer? Cabot takes such offhand notions and roots them firmly in the details of average, middle-class American life. She has also tiptoed into mystery and paranormal suspense with other YA novels and series installments.

Cabot continues to write adult novels under various permutations of her given name (Meggin Patricia Cabot): from 19th-century historical romances to contemporary chick lit. And, as with her books for teens, these romances have earned praise for their lighthearted humor and well drawn characters.

Good To Know

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Cabot:

"I am left handed."

"I hate tomatoes of any kind."

"I really wanted to be veterinarian, but I got a 410 on my math SATs."

"Writing used to be my hobby, but now that it's my job, I have no hobby -- except watching TV and laying around the pool reading US Weekly. I have tried many hobbies, such as knitting, Pilates, ballet, yoga, and guitar, but none of them have taken. So I guess I'm stuck with no hobby.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Meggin Patricia Cabot (full name); Patricia Cabot, Jenny Caroll
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A. in fine arts, Indiana University, 1991
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

How to Be Popular


By Meg Cabot

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Meg Cabot
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060880120

Chapter One

T-minus two days and counting
saturday, august 26, 7 P.M.

I should have known from the way the woman kept looking at my name tag that she was going to ask.

"Steph Landry," she said as she pulled out her wallet. "Now, how do I know that name?"

"Gosh, ma'am," I said. "I don't know." Except that, even though I had never seen this woman before in my life, I had a pretty good idea how she might have heard of me.

"I know," the lady said, snapping her fingers, then pointing at me. "You're on the Bloomville High School women's soccer team!"

"No, ma'am," I said to her. "I'm not."

"You weren't on the court of the Greene County Fair Queen, were you?"

But you could tell, even as the words were coming out of her mouth, she knew she was wrong again. I don't have Indiana county fair queen hair -- i.e., my hair is short, not long; brown, not blonde; and curly, not straight. Nor do I have an Indiana county fair queen bod -- i.e., I'm kinda on the short side, and if I don't exercise regularly, my butt kind of . . . expands.

Obviously I do what I can with what God gave me, but I won't be landing on America's Next Top Model anytime soon, much less the court of any fair queen.

"No, ma'am," I said.

The thing is, I reallydidn't want to get into it with her. Who would?

But she wouldn't let it go.

"Goodness. I just know I know your name from somewhere," the woman said, handing me her credit card to pay for her purchases. "You sure I didn't read about you in the paper?"

"Pretty sure, ma'am," I said. God, that would be just what I need. For the whole thing to have shown up in the paper.

Fortunately, though, I haven't been in the paper since my birth announcement. Why would I? I'm not particularly talented, musically or otherwise.

And while I'm in mostly AP classes, that's not because I'm an honor student or anything. That's just because if you grow up in Greene County knowing that lemon Joy goes in your dishwasher and not your iced tea, you get put in AP classes.

It's actually sort of surprising how many people in Greene County make that mistake. With the lemon Joy, I mean. According to my friend Jason's dad, who is a doctor over at Bloomville Hospital.

"It's probably," I said to the woman as I ran her credit card through the scanner, "because my parents own this store."

Which I know doesn't sound like much. But Courthouse Square Books is the only independently owned bookstore in Bloomville. If you don't include Doc Sawyer's Adult Books and Sexual Aids, out by the overpass. Which I don't.

"No," the woman said, shaking her head. "That's not it, either."

I could understand her frustration. What's especially upsetting about it -- if you think about it (which I try not to, except when things like this happen) -- is that Lauren and I, up until the end of fifth grade, had been friends. Not close friends, maybe. It's hard to be close friends with the most popular girl in school, since she's got such a busy social calendar.

But certainly close enough that she'd been over to my house (okay, well, once. And she didn't exactly have the best time. I blame my father, who was baking a batch of homemade granola at the time. The smell of burnt oatmeal WAS kind of overpowering) and I'd been over to hers (just once . . . her mom had been away getting her nails done, but her dad had been home and had knocked on Lauren's door to say that the explosion noises I was making during our game of Navy Seal Barbie were a little too loud. Also that he'd never heard of Navy Seal Barbie, and wanted to know what was so wrong with playing Quiet Nurse Barbie).

"Well," I said to the customer, "maybe I just . . . you know. Have one of those names that sounds familiar."

Yeah. Wonder why. Lauren's the one who coined the term "Don't pull a Steph Landry." Out of revenge.

It's amazing how fast it caught on, too. Now if anyone in school does anything remotely crack-headed or dorky, people are all, "Don't pull a Steph!" or "That was so Steph!" or "Don't be such a Steph!"

And I'm the Steph they're talking about.

Nice.

"Maybe that's it," the woman said doubtfully. "Gosh, this is going to bug me all night. I just know it."

Her credit card was approved. I tore off the slip for her to sign and started bagging her purchases. Maybe I could tell her that the reason she might know me is because of my grandfather. Why not? He's currently one of the most talked about -- and richest -- men in southern Indiana, ever since he sold some farmland he owned along the proposed route of the new I-69 ("connecting Mexico to Canada via a highway 'corridor'" through Indiana, among other states) for the construction of a Super Sav-Mart, which opened last weekend.

Which means he's been in the local paper a lot, especially since he spent a chunk of his money building an observatory that he plans to donate to the city.

Because every small town in southern Indiana needs an observatory.

Not.

It also means my mother isn't speaking to him, because the Super Sav-Mart, with its reduced prices, is probably going to put all of the shops along the square, including Courthouse Square Books, out of business.

But I knew the customer would never fall for it. Grandpa's last name isn't even the same as mine. He was afflicted from birth with the unfortunate moniker of Emile Kazoulis . . . although he's done pretty well for himself, despite this handicap.

Continues...


Excerpted from How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot Copyright © 2006 by Meg Cabot. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 225 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(146)

4 Star

(43)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 225 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Meg Cabot to a T

    If you love Cabot's books, you may or may not like this. It's her usual style, and, for me, it's getting to be too predictable. It's always a girl in love with one person or another but by the end of the book she's realized her true love. Sure the story was great, and I really loved the message, but the characters get a bit boring when they don't really seem to change much.

    Don't get me wrong. She's a great author, and all her books have a message, but I just get bored with the same basic plot. Yes she mixes it up a bit, and yes it's not the same cookie cutter version of a girl. The girls themselves are real, at least to me, but sometimes the situaion is not always.

    It's a great book. But if you read a lot of Cabot, then you may not enjoy it.

    I read this in five hours. That made it fun for me. This, even though typical Cabot, has to be one of my favourite books by her. Yes I've said some negative things, but it's still a good book. I enjoyed it.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Absolutely a must read!!!

    I'm 27 years old and I literally waited till my fiance went to bed so I can stay up all night and read this. I finished it so quick. Every woman should have this book hidden in a spot where no one can find it. I felt like I found someone's diary with secrets to popularity and that's just it! I did find the secrets to popularity. And even if you're not in school, it will still help in any job, with friends or anywhere there's people. It's filled with leadership tips and the fact that it's all wrapped up in a story, illustrates by example every popularity tip there is so it's easy to understand. This is my first book by Meg Cabot, and now I'm hooked.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

    If you've ever heard the phrase "Way to pull a Steph Landry!," you wouldn't be alone. Pretty much everyone who attends Bloomville High in the heart of Greene County, Indiana, knows who Steph Landry is. Or, they at least know better than to ever, ever, ever do something that would have someone uttering the aforementioned phrase. Even kids under the age of five know what it means to "pull a Steph Landry." In that they know it means instant social doom. <BR/><BR/>So what did this girl do, you ask? Shoot someone? Rob a store? Dump the Homecoming Queen into a lake, lock the quarterback in a dungeon, lob a hand grenade into the general store? No, what Steph Landy did was much, much worse. She accidentally spilled a Big Red Super Big Gulp on Lauren Moffat's white D&G skirt. And even though they had been kind of friends up until that incident in sixth grade, and even though her father tried to remove the stain from Lauren's skirt, and even though her mother ended up buying her a new one, and even though Steph herself apologized for the incident like ten zillion times, Lauren Moffat has been making Steph pay for her mistake ever since. <BR/><BR/>They're all juniors in high school now--Steph and her best friends Jason and Becca, Lauren and her posse of popular girls and guys, most noticeably her football quarterback boyfriend, Mark Finley. Nearly five years after that accidental dousing in the middle school cafeteria, and Steph is still living down the horror of being a social outcast. <BR/><BR/>That's all about to change, though. At least if she has anything to say about it. Now that Jason's grandmother is marrying her own widowed grandfather, they've been spending a lot of time at Jason's house. It's during one of those times that Steph finds the book; the one that will shoot her to the top of the popularity totem pole, the one that will exile the social pariah Steph once and for all, and turn her into mega-popular, wonderful, everyone loves her Steph. <BR/><BR/>Kind of. Maybe. If she plays her cards right. Or she just might end up getting what she wants (popularity), and losing everything she's ever held dear (most noticeably, Jason). <BR/><BR/>With HOW TO BE POPULAR, Meg Cabot has taken the typical high school teen angst and mixed it up with an all-too-believable situation to create a wonderful, fast-paced read. I'd recommend this book to all fans of Ms. Cabot, all fans of contemporary stories, all fans of young adult literature, period. This is another winner from the queen of teen fiction. Trust me. Pick up a copy of HOW TO BE POPULAR, and you won't be disappointed.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Entertaining, Advising Read

    I really enjoyed this book. It was easy for me to relate to a girl who wanted to be popular, and was willing to follow a book to become it. It wasn't a 5 star read for me, but it was definitely a worthwhile one. I found myself reading it maybe two more times after I first finished it, just to "relive" the story in my head and actually read parts that I only skimmed over. I fell in love with all the characters. They made me laugh a lot! A humorous, worthwhile book.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Best book ever!

    This is the best book ever. It gave me great advice and it was very entertaining. I recommend it to every girl.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2008

    A AWSOME BOOK!!!

    I loved this book. After i got into it i couldn't put it down! I may have been thick , but it was worth the time. Any teenage girl could relate to this book. we've all fell for guys that are phonys and friends. It doesn't matter who reads this book 7th-12th you will enjoy this book. I know we've all fell for our best friends.....its happened to me multiply times. in this book i knew i must stay true to myself..... i am guilty of trying to change this year. but after reading this book im going to stay true to me!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    BEST BOOK I EVER READ!!

    When i saw this book i thought " ooooh a meg cabot book must be good" but it was way more then good it was AMAZING!!!!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2008

    I love teen romances!!

    OMG!!!I read this the day i got it..i started at like,11pm,then finished at 4:30 in the morning!!!It's super addicting.i never wanted to put the book down!It had a bit of humor in it.i loved it.i actually think i might read the 3rd time right now.lol.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2008

    Great Reading Experiance

    I loved this book so much. Meg Cabot is such a great author. I love most all of her books. I couldn't put this book down for a second without picking it back up. I recommend this book to anyone who likes high school romance and friendship adventures.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2012

    Best book ever

    Best book ever i luv how steph and jason start dating

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2012

    Teen

    Teen only

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    BLAHH!!!

    Bad book and inapropriate. Told it to my friend, and she hated it too for all the same reasons. Not worth the money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    AWESOME

    best. book. ever..! :]

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2011

    Best ever

    I absolurly love this book. It was soooooo amazing! I recommend it to girls who love romance and humor and suspensful twists. Ages 11 an up had some teen content

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2014

    DONT OPEN MY POST NO DONT HEY I SAID NO NUH UH DONT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT

    Wow your dumb. Ok, you opened it. Here's my message: U suck! Idiots! Loooooser. Ha i said dont open soooo you deserve it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2014

    .

    Okay thats just weird.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    I Liked And Hated

    It is sad and it is not

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Great Book

    This was an amazing book. I finished it in less than a day! I've even reread sometimes. While it may be predictable it still is an interesting and enjoyable book. With lots of humor in it. And most girls are able to relate to the main character which is awesome. I think this may be my favorite book by Meg Cabot, beating The Princess Diaries.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2014

    Hi (to below)

    Hello

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2013

    2014 here we come!

    New years eve is tonight!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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