A Memoir : Vintage Wisdom for A Modern Geek

Book - 2014
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Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at "pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren't paid to be here," Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular? The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise--meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself.
Publisher: New York, New York : Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), LLC, [2014]
ISBN: 9780525426813
Characteristics: 259 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Cornell, Betty
Alternative Title: Popular


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Jun 24, 2018

Very fast read. This girl is amazing! I love that she decided to take on something that challenged her to step out of her comfort zone AND was a tool to further develop her writing skills. I enjoyed the book very much. Very insightful, funny, caring young lady.

ArapahoeStaff11 Apr 12, 2017

A great story about the meaning of being "popular". Both adults and teenagers will be inspired by Maya's story.

Jul 27, 2016

The most amazing non-fiction book I have ever read! I don't typically like non-fiction books but this was super moving and inspirational. It reads like a fiction book, but the fact that it is a true story makes it even more amazing. I think every middle school girl should read this book. Nothing but good things to say about this book!

Jun 26, 2016

Maya Van Wagenen is on the lowest rung of the popularity scale in her middle school. She comes across a guide to popularity written in the 50's and decides to follow the advice. Although my middle school years are many, many, many years behind me, in her memoir it sounds like not much has changed. Maya tries wearing pearls and a girdle, she goes on a diet, she's carefull about her posture but in the end discovers that being kind and open to everyone is the key to popularity. A wonderful read.

Jun 18, 2016

This book was absolutely amazing! While I don't plan to personally undergo Maya's transformation, there are some great tips in there! Great read for anyone looking for a funny, non-fiction story!

WCLSNorthForkLibrary Dec 14, 2015

Maya van Wagenen writes about her social experiment with incredible talent and candor, arriving at a timeless conclusion that is applicable to people of all ages. I was intrigued when I picked it up and thoroughly inspired by the time I finished it. We should all be like Maya :-)

Dec 03, 2014

Just as she's beginning eighth grade, Maya discovers a copy of a 1950s popularity guide in a storage box. Finding her own social status to be lacking, she vows to devote each month of the new school year to a chapter from the book, wholeheartedly following its advice, and then assess whether her popularity is changing. 'Popular' is a quick, charming read. Maya's youth and inexperience in writing show through occasionally, but are easily forgiven as she candidly describes her peers' reactions when she arrives at school one morning wearing a full-length skirt and pearls. Her parents are almost unbelievably supportive, and one scene with her father had me laughing out loud (a rarity). I admired Maya's courage and gumption; to do what she did took some serious guts, more than I ever had at that age.

Jul 20, 2014

This memoir chronicling a teenage girl's quest for popularity by following a 1950s self-help book is funny and insightful, and definitely a book I could've used in middle school and high school.


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Jul 27, 2016

pink_panther_225 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jun 18, 2016

RACHAEL BROWN thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Sep 23, 2014

TigerLily_16 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 13, 2014

blue_rat_58 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 10 and 99


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