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Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (Popularity Papers Series #1)

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Overview


Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts don’t translate ...
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Overview


Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts don’t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents won’t stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjørnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goal—and each other.

Amy Ignatow’s hilarious debut novel introduces the intrepid fifth-graders Julie and Lydia, whose quest to understand popularity may not succeed in the ways they want, but will succeed in keeping readers in stitches.

From Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books:
Lydia and Julie, BFFs since birth, are now preparing to enter junior high, and they're on a mission to become popular. First, however, they have to determine exactly how popularity is achieved, so they decide to approach the matter as any good scientist would: observe those creatures already at the height of popularity and apply said observations to themselves, in the hopes of cracking into that mysterious world of junior-high stardom. The two record their observations and the often spectacularly unsuccessful outcomes of their various social experiments in a scrapbook-like journal, complete with notes passed at school, lists of projected popularity goals, and credibly goofy and kidlike drawings. The story here is fairly familiar: the girls fail miserably at their first attempts at the A-list (Lydia's hair falls out after a botched dye job, among other disasters) but eventually find acceptance in the upper echelon, only to learn the valuable lesson that it's the people you're most comfortable around who make the best friends. The diary format, however, adds an extra dimension of funny, and as in Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid series about Greg Heffley, it allows Julie and Lydia to come alive through their witty dialogue, their perceptive commentary, and even their characteristic handwriting. Secondary characters shine as well, particularly Julie's embarrassing but ultimately charming two dads, along with Lydia's goth-punk sister, a font of random quips and junior high wisdom. The popular kids end up being far from perfect and each has issues of her own to contend with, making the actual friendships that form among the girls all the more endearing. Those waiting for the next installment of Greg Heffley's adventures will be well served by this amusing experiment in sixth-grade celebrity. KQG

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
A bold girl, Lydia Goldblatt, and a shy girl, Julie Graham-Chang, begin a quest to break the code of popularity. In order to discover what makes a girl popular, they study four main popular girls. This endeavor involves keeping a notebook, also known as The Popularity Papers, of the characteristics they observe in these female classmates. Some of their observations include a blonde streak of hair, a cell phone, playing field hockey, knitting, and ways of flirting. How the two fifth graders plan to make these observations work for themselves takes the reader on a delightful read as the girls' attempts to use these observations to be popular go awry. Their endeavors even inadvertently distance themselves from each other. Family issues also intervene and add to their difficulties. They ultimately learn it is more important to do what you love rather than being popular. Extensive use of cartoons by the artist/cartoonist Julie throughout the book complements the text. The handwritten-style text throughout the book makes the reader feel as though he or she is actually reading the girls' notebook. The story explores the issues of girl-friendships well and will be welcomed by middle grade readers. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
VOYA - Robbie Flowers
Lydia and Julie have spent life on the fringes of popularity at their school. Well, maybe not the fringes. Not even within the realm of coolness is closer to the truth, but the best friends devise a plan to forge their way onto the radar scope of the popular people at school. They actively begin documenting the "research" that they hope will begin to shift their fortune. As they take note of what draws attention to the popular kids, they begin to dabble in different activities. Lydia and Julie are willing to try everything from bleaching hair to stick fighting in their quest for acclaim. But what will become of their friendship when that very recognition begins to get the better of them? This title is a fast read and will be very appealing to reluctant readers due to its illustrations and graphic novel format. The situations in which the characters find themselves are increasingly funny, and the outcome is pretty realistic. It is also refreshing to see the families of the main characters come from diverse backgrounds. This would be a nice addition to a growing collection that serves tweens and would be well-received at a school or public library. Reviewer: Robbie Flowers
Julee Phillips
Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are determined to discover the secrets to becoming popular. They dive headlong into a year of research on what "it" is that the already popular girls have. They record their thoughts and ideas in a joint journal that is meant for their eyes only. Should they consider changing their hair? Liking different boys? Trying out for sports? After close observation of the popular girls, Lydia and Julie apply some of these strategies to their lives in slightly different ways, creating more than slightly different outcomes. Young readers will enjoy this look at what true friendship really is, and what it means to put it at risk. Ignatow has created some very rich and endearing characters. Her illustrations, along with the font and photos used in the formatting of this book, create a visually captivating novel that appears to be the journal of two energetic, funny fifth graders. Reviewer: Julee Phillips
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Fifth-graders Lydia and Julie, best friends, decide to observe "the popular girls" at their school in preparation for junior high. Julie, who lives with her two dads, loves to draw, and Lydia, who lives with her mom and sister, loves to sing. In this Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams, 2007) for girls, the story is told entirely in full-color drawings and in each girl's individual handwriting as they pass their notebook back and forth to record their observations. Of course, things don't go as planned—though the girls' quest for popularity leads them to new hobbies and new friends, it also challenges their own friendship. This entertaining look at the social hierarchy of preteens and the challenges of growing up will entice even the most reluctant readers.—Laurie Slagenwhite, Baldwin Public Library, Birmingham, MI
Barbara Feinberg
The girls' research leads them into zany adventures, memorialized in notes, poems and doodles that capture the fun of an underground correspondence…It is testimony to Ignatow's skill that the two friends emerge as individual personalities—Lydia, braver, more inclined to plunge in; Julie, more grounded, tending to be fearful…The girls feel very real.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
This one's for the Wimpy Girls. Riffing on and amplifying the increasingly common diary-style format, Ignatow uses “handwritten” notes and copious full-color cartoons to put a fresh spin on that quintessential scholastic goal: to be popular. Fifth-graders Lydia and Julie record observations about the habits of popular girls in a secret notebook and set out to test them, leading to a series of entertaining misadventures. Lydia ends up with a bald patch trying to give herself a blonde streak, and the girls' convoluted scheme to get cellphones results in a pair of horribly embarrassing models. Of course, the girls learn that popularity has a price, and even their own lifelong friendship becomes strained. The book's course may be predictable, but Ignatow taps into the girls' preteen concerns and earnest, passionate personalities via the creative format, with its dueling narratives and illustrations that feel ripped from a spiral notebook (a fantasy sequence that has Lydia starring in the school play culminates in the arrival of a pink unicorn that “barf[s] up pirate treasure!!”). Readers will quickly devour this hilarious, heartfelt debut. Ages 9-13. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
This piquant tale chronicles a duo's campaign to improve their social position prior to junior high. Lydia and Julie embark upon a reconnaissance mission to determine what makes a person popular in order to apply this knowledge to their own lives. As they navigate changes in their perspectives and subsequently their friendship, the pair discovers heretofore-unknown strengths. With a keen eye, Ignatow depicts the more comical aspects of teen angst, such as Julie's utter horror upon hearing the new student has written her a love song in Norwegian-to be sung before the entire school. The inclusion of several well-defined supporting characters adds dimension to the tale. The journal-style format contributes to the tale's authenticity, with each girl providing a distinctive narrative voice. Liberally spread throughout the text, the acerbic, witty, full-color illustrations illuminate the girls' perspective. Alternately poignant and uproarious, this is a satisfying addition to the tween genre. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810984219
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Series: Popularity Papers Series , #1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 231,116
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Ignatow

Amy Ignatow is an illustrator and teacher who has also been a farmer, a florist, a short-order vegan cook, a dancing chicken, an SAT prep instructor, a telefundraiser, a wedding singer, a ghostwriter for Internet personal ads, a reporter, and an air-brush face and body painter working under the name “Ooga.” She graduated from Moore College of Art and Design and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Mark, and their cat, Mathilda, whom they believe to be well-meaning despite all evidence to the contrary.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(42)

4 Star

(5)

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(3)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    Bob's Reviews

    Hey- Bob here! I read my friend's book at school, I thought it was great! I recommend this book for pre-teens. If you're an advanced 3rd grader like me, it is a good read for you also.

    ---Bob

    16 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Lauren Ashley for TeensReadToo

    Lydia and Julie have been best friends for years, but now that they are coming to the end of fifth grade, they start a dual notebook that will help them to become popular for middle school. They pay attention to the popular girls in their grade and what they wear, what sports they play, and even what boys they have crushes on. As they try and mimic these things, they soon learn what they actually like and what they are just fine with tossing aside. THE POPULARITY PAPERS 1 is the start to a middle grade series with only two books currently out, with a third on the way. What I loved about the book is that both girls write and draw, except Lydia is a bad drawer and writes in cursive, while Julie is an excellent drawer and has dark, bold writing. If you look at the cover - the characters are Julie's drawings. Julie has dark hair, Lydia has blonde. Even though these are aimed at middle grade readers, I think they would be enjoyed by many. They are fun, quick reads with lots of cool drawings and observations about how to live your life and become the "true you," so to speak. Even if that means taking things adults say with a grain of salt! I also loved that Julie has two dads and no mom. I thought this was great for many reasons. One, I think LGBT characters in books are great in general, especially when they are just there and part of normal life. Also, even though I don't read much MG, I haven't read or heard of any other titles that really focus on LGBT characters. Julie loves her dads, calling them Daddy and Papa Dad. They are quirky and fun and serious and just good parents. It's great to see this overall, like I said, but even better to have it in a MG novel where younger kids can learn to accept these things a bit earlier.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    supa dupa funny

    PPPLLLZZZ RRREEEAAADDD!!!!! Popularity papers is about two girls trying to get popular so they "spy" on the popular girls to see what they do, and they do the same thing as the popular girls to be popular.

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    The Popularity Papers

    I loved it .On April Vacation I had bought it and read it in less than a day.It was funny
    and quick to read.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    very smart and very fun

    Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang. Julie's dads consider Lydia part of the family. Julie knows all about Lydia's crazy goth sister Melody. Together the girls make a decision to venture into the unknown as they try to crack the mysterious code of popularity in fifth grade.

    With Lydia acting as chief experimenter and Julie recording their (mixed) results, the girls are confident they will succeed where others have failed. The only problems: Lydia winds up with a bald spot early on, Julie unexpectedly becomes the object of Roland Asbjørnsen's affections, all of their parents are mad (a lot). Worse, the more Julie and Lydia learn about the popular girls, the farther apart they seem to grow.

    Lydia and Julie might be on the verge of being popular, but they're both starting to wonder if their friendship will survive in The Popularity Papers (2010) by Amy Ignatow.

    The Popularity Papers is Ignatow's first novel as well as the first book about the ongoing adventures of Lydia and Julie.

    Ignatow expertly combines drawings and handwritten notes and observations to create a book with a mixed-media feel as the girls pass letters, notes, and the book itself back and forth to tell their story. By combining the girls' exchanges with first-person accounts from both Lydia and Julie, Ignatow makes sure the concept behind her fun plot never becomes overdone.

    The Popularity Papers is also funny, plain and simple. Filled with clever jokes and entertaining illustrations, this is a smart book that will appeal to readers young and old (provided they can get past the youngish-looking cover). A great choice for anyone looking for a laugh The Popularity Papers also houses my favorite ever love poem, a funny re-writing of a popular movie song, and possibly the best illustration of Thor of all time.

    Possible Pairings: Dramacon by Svetlana Chmakova, Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks, Alice, I Think by Susany Juby, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison, Smile by Raina Telgemeier

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Popularity Papers

    I would recomend this book to someone that LOVES dork diaries

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 28, 2010

    I TOTTALY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!

    i really recommend this book. IT IS SO FUN!! I LUV IT!! IT IS ALSO VERY FUN TO READ.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    The book

    I love this book sooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    A Creatively Presented Story

    Best friends Lydia and Julie start a journal as they begin fifth grade with the intention of understanding and improving their popularity by the time they enter junior high. The girls write and illustrate their thoughts and observations of classmates while the drama of their friendship makes this a page turner. Throughout the story the girls make new friends, pursue new interests, and appreciate their families. The unusual format uses various large handwritten fonts in multiple colors with color pencil drawings throughout to give it the appearance of an actual journal.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Best book ever!!!!!

    Omg I luv this book its amazing u have 2 check it out

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Awesome

    This is a great book!You should totally get it.I read it in aabout 30 min and read it over and over because it was so great!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    Mmmmmmeeeeee

    I am going 2 try this book, well 4 2 resons 1 because every1 in the 4th grade @ my school has read it 2 I read this girls report on this and it was realy helpful because it said that if u r an advanced 3rd grader that u should read this book well that works out for me because I am a 4th grader. I hope this helps u.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    So goood you should read it

    This book is so good and it is great for every girl to have if their friend is moving across the country.But over all GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Question Here??

    Is this the first book??? Please answer!!




    -Order Help

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2013

    Get it

    I want to get so vad

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    This book is Amazing!

    If you love reading Dork diaries, this could be a book for you!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    Cool

    This is so good! Can not wait to read the next one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I recomend this for 4th grde and up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Love it!

    I loved this book! It is so cute and funny. I was really into it. I would definetly recomend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2013

    Great

    This book is funny and really good

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2013

    Miss Love it Hate it

    Love it i thought this was an oustanding book with great pottential. All of the series are great, I all so think that this story canbe related by girls all over the world 10-14. I would recamend this book to a friend, seeing that this book is all ready read by many of my friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews

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