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How Not to Be Popular    by Jennifer Ziegler order for
How Not to Be Popular
by Jennifer Ziegler
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

All of her life Maggie Dempsey has moved from one place to another with her carefree, hippy parents. At first she loved the new adventures and new friends that came with every move, but now that she's a senior in high school leaving friends behind is much harder. Just when she begins to belong, it's time to say good-bye.

The last move took her family to Austin, Texas from Portland, Oregon. Maggie decides not to make friends this stop so when they pull up roots again she won't be heartbroken. To be sure no one attempts to be friends with her, she embarks on a plan to become the most unpopular kid at Lakewood High.

Since her dad is running a second hand store, she is blessed with an endless supply of the most hideous clothing ever. She's sure no one will risk their own reputation by talking to her. But things don't go as planned. One attempt after another fails to make Maggie as unpopular as she wants to be.

The school's reigning prince of the popular crowd keeps coming on to her. He can't believe she's unsusceptible to his charm. Maggie would have loved the attention at past schools, but she's determined to ignore him here. She can't believe how easy it would be to fit right in with the bippies (Maggie's name for the most popular girls in school) now that she's not even trying.

When she joins the Helping Hands Club to have something to put on her college application, she is embraced by the nerds and losers who make the club look so satisfying at first glance. She even begins to see Mr. Do-the-Right-Thing, the club's uptight president, in a different light now thatís she's not trying to fit in.

Any possible romance between Maggie and Jack comes to an end when Maggie decides joining the popular crowd is the real way to keep from becoming attached while she waits for her parents to pack up the hearse and hit the road again.

Ziegler's novel How Not to Be Popular, as told by her charming heroine, is witty and funny. Maggie's descriptions alone make it worth reading.

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