How Not to Be Popular

How Not to Be Popular

by Jennifer Ziegler


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How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler

Maggie Dempsey is tired of moving all over the country. Her parents are second-generation hippies who uproot her every year or so to move to a new city. When Maggie was younger, she thought it was fun and adventurous. Now that she’s a teenager, she hates it. When she moved after her freshman year, she left behind good friends, a great school, and a real feeling of belonging. When she moved her sophomore year, she left behind a boyfriend, too. Now that they’ve moved to Austin, she knows better. She’s not going to make friends. She’s not going to fit in. Anything to prevent her from liking this new place and them from liking her. Only . . . things don’t go exactly as planned.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385734653
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 01/08/2008
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.81(w) x 8.53(h) x 1.19(d)
Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jennifer Ziegler is the author of Alpha Dog and Sass & Serendipity. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.

Read an Excerpt

How Not to Be Popular

By Jennifer Ziegler

Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2008 Jennifer Ziegler
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780385734653

Tip: Popular girls never go anywhere by themselves. Thus, it must also stand to reason that the unpopular are always alone.

First days of school always make me feel extra alive. My senses just seem magically improved. It’s like I can fully live in the moment and simultaneously float along beside myself, carefully recording everything for later viewing. And this, I know, will become a treasured memory. The kind that replays in full color and digital surround sound, with credits rolling at the end. This will be the day I finally figure out my life. The day I overcome the burden of being a Traveling Dempsey. Today I begin Operation Avoid Friends (OAF?).

Knowing I have nothing to lose this time around makes me feel better about the whole situation. To tell the truth, I’m even a little excited about it.

Of course, this is the first day of school only for me. Everyone else has been here for over two weeks. That’s another thing about my parents: they can’t be on time for anything. First they took their own sweet hippie time making it to Austin; then yesterday they had the entire day to officially enroll me at Lakewood High, but when did we walk in the door? At a quarter to five. The registrar was just about to shut down hercomputers—something she reminded us of several times as she raced through the enrollment process. Of course Les and Rosie didn’t seem to notice. As Les slowly filled out forms in his ornate handwriting, the lady kept tapping her car keys against her desk. But Rosie just hummed along with the rhythm.

So here I am, getting my first glimpse of Lakewood’s teen population. The students don’t look all that different from Portland kids. Or Seattle or Berkeley or Boulder or Madison or Santa Fe kids, for that matter. All the typical groupings are here. This is my tenth high school, so as you can imagine, I’ve gotten really good at figuring out the cliques and the power rankings, just by noticing the way kids dress and act.

Hanging at the edge of the parking lot, under a cloud of cigarette smoke, are the Thugs, aka Burnouts, Stoners, or Fry-Boys. Rockers and Skaters are subsets of this group, and they overlap like Venn diagrams for partying purposes. Trevor was a part of this group in Portland; shaggy-haired Skaters were the dominant breed there, but it’s obviously different in Austin. Here they seem to be of skinnier, squirrelier stock and they aren’t surrounded by a gaggle of admiring girls.

Sitting at a couple of picnic tables on the front lawn are the Brains. Or Nerds, Honor Roll Dweebs, Debate Club Dorks, or Goobers. Judging by all the big black instrument cases, I’d say most of them take band, which is typical. At other schools I’ve learned that almost all superbrain students take band or orchestra, but not all band or orchestra students are superbrains. Band as phylum, Brains as genus.

Swarming around a stone wall that separates the parking lot from the school is what I guess to be the art and/or theater crowd. A guy in camo pants and a T-shirt with something ironic on it (I’m too far away to read it) is reenacting some outrageous sketch with a bad British accent. Meanwhile his peers cheer him on. A Goth couple in the front is really cracking up, which makes me smile. It’s always funny to see Goths laugh.

And finally, scattered about the covered walkway leading to the school’s front doors are the heads of the high school ecosystem. This category differs slightly from school to school, but usually it includes perfect poser types with an overabundance of money and power. In this case, preppy jocks appear to be the ruling class—mainly guys with football-player builds, spiky flattop hairdos, and urban designer clothes.

There are a few pretty girls sprinkled in with them, but mainly as accessories. I haven’t yet spotted the school’s ruling females, the crowd I typically try to integrate with.

Being part of the power clique means you’re auto- matically protected to a degree. You get access to the best clubs and parties and sometimes have more privileges at school. Everything is just easier. I’ve never made top tier, but I’ve almost always been part of that scene—until this time, that is. Under the rules of my antipopularity plan, I can’t associate with any friendworthy people. Instead I’m going to be one of those weird outsider types—the ones who are always by themselves and give off lots of keep-away vibes. The kind of person no one notices after a while.

“Hey! New girl!” One of the alpha guys calls out to me. He’s cute. Real cute, in fact. Dark blond hair, strong jaw, dimples. I know I’m trying to avoid people, but this guy is so gorgeous it’s hard to look away. “Where’re you from?” he drawls, adding extra emphasis to “you.”

I hear my response in my head. All over the place. It’s a struggle, but I don’t let it out. Instead I tear my gaze off him and fiddle with my messenger bag, hoping he’ll lose interest. Just being near a guy reminds me of Trevor.

“Hey, you! I’m talking to you!” He raises his voice, and out of the corner of my eye, I notice that his pals all turn their heads simultaneously. Even a couple of passersby slow down to watch.

I wish he’d just declare me a weirdo and move on, but instead he hops down off his perch and walks up next to me. His cohorts pivot around, their faces gleaming expectantly.

“Didn’t you hear me?” the guy asks. He leans forward, hovering his face over mine as if to give the best possible view of his perfect cheekbones and navel-sized dimples.

A warm sensation trickles through me—probably hormones. This is the type of guy girls embarrass themselves for, a guy who could possibly help me get over Trevor… but even on the bizarro chance we hooked up (which isn’t likely), who would help me get over him when we move in four months?

As I stand there, sifting through my jumbled thoughts, the guy’s face slowly flattens. “Man, what’s wrong with you?” he asks. “Just trying to be friendly here.”

“Blow her off, Miles,” calls out one of his guy pals. “She’s probably got someone else giving it to her.” Denied any entertainment, the crowd turns back toward the other approaching students.


Excerpted from How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Ziegler. 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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How Not to Be Popular 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was funny some of the parts i almost cryed but it was really good but to much cusing they should make a move best book ever.This book is for13 and it so much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book! It got me thinking of what it would be like to get to change and choose my personality. I would try so many things. Anyways like i said this book was an awesome read!
Ashlen Wright More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book! I would definitaly recomend this book to all types of people..... 215 pages
EdwardCullenLuvr11 More than 1 year ago
everyone MUST read this. i know when you read reviews you find one bad comment and one good and you're torn. but this book is sooo amazing you shouldnt be. just go buy it...NOW! i read it in 2 days and it ws funny, intereseting, romantic, and the main character is so much fun to follow!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot. I can totally relate. School for me is just like this, all about the populars, hard etc.... I just enjoyed reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book, after buying it because I thought that it sounded funny. The tips on the back were interesting, and intriqued me into reading the book. Although what I did not like was that Maggie was pretending to be something that she wasn't, and then finally she realized that the 'losers' of the school were not so bad. Also, this book has no climax. Where does the story get interesting? It really drags on in quite a few places, and to be honest is not a book that I enjoyed reading. A teenager's life is not like that, trust me.
ewyatt on LibraryThing 1 days ago
I really liked this book!Sugar Magnolia's parents move around from place to place with a New-Age, hippie type of lifestyle. Maggie tires of this as she is ripped from friends and high schools repeatedly. When she arrives in Austin she decides to form no attachments as a way to protect herself. The odder she tries to be, the more interested other people become. Her plan backfires over and over. Maggie has a great sense of humor and grows up a lot over the course of the book. I really enjoyed it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know some people have read it is it good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was very interesting and had caught my attention when i was online book shopping. the story is very funny  and  the relationships between the characters feel real. though it made me cringe every once in a while when she would well try to to be popular i think that is the part that made this book very unique and exceptional. you just have to read this book its so good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thus book was wonderful. I loved evrey part of it and it had a great ending
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book its for hopeless romantics
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never could actually manage to put this book down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This bookis absolutly amazing. Sure the main xharachter makes me bad choices and stuff but over all this book teaches a great lesson
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing!! I the story she tells and how you can feel what Maggie is going through throughout the book. The book is funny, too, which makes it even better. The book is about a girl named Sugar Magnolia Dempsey. Her parents are hippies who love to travel the world. But now that Maggie is in high school and she has to say goodbye to besties and a boyfriend in Portland. So Maggie's plan is to make her stay in Austin terrible. Now operation be unpopular has commenced.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kinda funny
AsianNerd More than 1 year ago
I would've rated this four or five stars, but I just hated the main character. I understood her logic, but she just judged others too much. she should just "follow her heart." The main character-I forgot her name-seemed stupid to me. She's all like "I don't like this nerd" and "Oh my god! He's hot now!" She's so annoying. Afterwards, she betrayed the people in the Helping Hands club for the popular group because she's all like "Oh my gosh, these are the people I won't miss. I should hang out with them instead." Sorry if you think I should to rough. I have my dislike-radar on. Overall, I would rate this to two point five, but the rating won't do that so I chose to rate this a three.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey guys this book is amazing for any ages, it is worth the money so get it!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did't get the book on my amazing nook but I do own it and I must say it is a great book! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so funny.i was reading it in class in i got introble for laughing so muvh that is how funny if i could give this book to everyone in the world i would. Really really funny