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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mission (un)Popular by Anna Humphrey

Title: Mission (un)Popular
Author: Anna Humphrey
ISBN: 9781423123019
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Released: June 1, 2011
Page #: 403
Source: ARC from the publisher

"Margot Button has a resolution for seventh grade:
Be more normal.
Easier said than done when you're:
*minus best friend (sent to Catholic school because of your "bad influence")
*minus new clothes (stepdad had a "moral objection" to his job)
*minus eyebrows (tweezer mishap)
*plus improvised bangs (see above)
*plus new nickname ("Hamburgler")
*plus an unpaid after-school job (babysitting triplet sisters - five days a week)

Well, Rome wasn't built in a day. If Margot can just learn to control her big mouth (and hair), there is hope. The new girl, Em, from New York, needs a friend too, now that the popular girls have decided she's "weird." More accurately, Em is "intimidating." She dresses like a rock star, is quick with comebacks and doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks of her - especially Sarah J., the most popular girl in the seventh grade. Em has an agenda for change at Manning Middle School and wants Margot on her side. Progress!

So, okay, Em has a flexible relationship with the truth, and her secret campaign to turn the tables on the popular girls may involve bending some laws. But after years of enduring Sarah J.'s bullying, Margot finds it hard to resist. Her approval rating is finally up - and, it really couldn't hurt to take Sarah down a few notches ... could it?"
First Lines: (From ARC, check final copy for exact wording)

"Did you know that there are literally hundreds of ways to start the year off fresh?
When I was in second grade, my teacher gave us an assignment about it. Everyone had to pick a country and show how they celebrated."
Page 3

Longest. Summary. Ever. But that's what was on the back of the book. What can ya do!? Anyway, I was given this ARC after someone else had already read it... and I have to say that it must not have been meant for two readings. The pages are totally falling out. Here's hoping the final copies hold up better :).

Okay, so this is about a girl going into the seventh grade and really wants a new beginning. She wants to be more popular and to stop being referred to by unfortunate nicknames. When she begins talking to Em, the new girl, she finds someone who will stand up to the popular group. They begin scheming and making things miserable for them. It does involve some rule breaking, but it's worth it to see them squirm - especially when it results in Margot becoming more popular.

One thing I want to say right off the bat is that Margot drove me crazy. It's not the way she was written, I just know girls like her. They always are more worried about how people see them than anything else. It was almost painful to read her first day of school - walking up to random groups to say hi. Then being dismissed. I mean, pain. ful. I suppose I've always been a little non-conformist... so those people have always gotten on my nerves. Personal opinion, of course.

The cool thing about this book is that it's written about an Indian girl. You wouldn't guess it from the cover. You don't get it in the summary. She just is. That's my favorite kind of "POC" book. You're not hit over the head by their differences - unless it's necessary for the story. And you do get a little background about her father and how she sometimes feels out of place. But it was just done really smoothly and I was glad for it.

The character Em was really interesting to me. At first I was totally cheering for her and was so excited there was someone with a backbone in the story. But then you start learning more about her and how she isn't very good with the truth and she's kinda pushy... But you do get the feeling that Margot is better off from having met her.

I think there are lots of girls who will love this story. It's great for that middle grade reader because it deals with a lot of those bullying issues in school and how they can be dealt with (though I wouldn't recommend all of the tactics they used). It's definitely a light read - even though it's 400 pages long. I do recommend it, but I'm not sure it will be for everyone. Enjoy!
Other Blog Reviews:

Ten Cent Notes
Literature Young Adult Fiction
Kirkus Reviews
Reading Vacation

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