In How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler, main character Maggie is sick of making and then losing friends when she moves, so she decides to do everything she can to turn people off and avoid personal relationships in order to hate her new town. Of course, things don’t work out exactly as planned.
The book has a great premise, and Maggie’s parents are fantastic. I mean, truly great. The book also has some really interesting and fun characters: Penny, Jack, Digit, the twins, the adviser of Maggie’s after school group, the women in her water aerobics class. (Water aerobics, yay!)
I also loved how far Maggie was willing to go fashion-wise to be unpopular. Her outfits sounded totally hideous.
What I didn’t like was Maggie’s cruel streak, the way she picked people to befriend because of how terrible she thought they would be.
The other big thing that bugged me is that Maggie is clearly a regulation hottie, and she never owned it. The popular kids wanted her to be one of them, the hot guy liked her even though she was mean to him, the geek kids loved her, etc. Oh, and then, of course, the other girls wanted to be like her, fashion freak that she was intent on being. I still have no idea what on earth made Maggie so desirable, honestly.
I also thought her turnaround came too late in the narrative. So instead of sympathizing with her, I found her mostly annoying. Which is too bad really because the book would have been more enjoyable if I didn’t spend most of the book waiting for her to get over herself.