Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek was published earlier this month, is a memoir written by a now 15-year-old Maya Van Wagenen.
Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek was published earlier this month, is a memoir written by a now 15-year-old Maya Van Wagenen. The book is a true month-by-month diary, which follows Maya’s awkward 8th grade school year in modern times. Maya dedicates her 8th grade year to following tips from a 60-year-old guide on how to be popular, and logs her attempts to become more cool.
Until this experiment, Maya has never been popular. She has always tried to blend in by never raising her hand in class or talking to people, and has never called herself pretty. Her dad bought Betty Cornell’s Teen-age Popularity Guidefor Maya as a joke at a thrift store, and Maya found and read it a few years later. She made the decision that every month she would try a one of Betty Cornell’s tips to try to become more popular. Betty Cornell was a model in the 1950’s and wrote a detailed step by step guide on how to become popular by being polite, using proper manners, and knowing what clothes to wear (hats, gloves, and girdles). Maya’s best friend thought she was crazy for doing this test; she didn't know that her friend would write a book! Will 60-year-old grooming, hair, and fashion advice help Maya become popular? Read this book to find out.
Maya’s book made me wonder why she would ever agree to do the social experiment. This was a very funny book; I laughed out loud as Maya started wearing makeup and learning how to throw a party 1950's style! The situations and Maya’s reactions were extremely funny. I have read a lot of books, but none of them have been by a 15-year-old author! I can recommend this book for mature kids ages 12 and older, but no younger because there are some mature themes like teen pregnancy, drugs, death, and school violence as part of everyday life in a border town. Today’s teen may want to read Betty Cornell’s book, but it is not totally necessary because most of the important quotes are in Maya’s book. If you enjoy this book, look for the movie that Dreamworks will make!