Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang (The Popularity Papers #1)

Book 1 of 7 in the The Popularity Papers Series
Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grade 4n/a4.014847
Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang are best friends with one goal: to crack the code of popularity. Lydia’s the bold one: aspiring theater star, stick-fighting enthusiast, human guinea pig. Julie’s the shy one: observer and artist, accidental field hockey star, faithful recorder. In this notebook they write down their observations and carry out experiments to try to determine what makes the popular girls tick. But somehow, when Lydia and Julie try to imitate the popular girls, their efforts don’t translate into instant popularity. Lydia ends up with a bald spot, their parents won’t stop yelling, and Julie finds herself the number-one crush of Roland Asbjørnsen. Worse, they seem to be drifting farther and farther from their goal—and each other.

Amy Ignatow’s hilarious debut novel introduces the intrepid fifth-graders Julie and Lydia, whose quest to understand popularity may not succeed in the ways they want, but will succeed in keeping readers in stitches.

From Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books:
Lydia and Julie, BFFs since birth, are now preparing to enter junior high, and they're on a mission to become popular. First, however, they have to determine exactly how popularity is achieved, so they decide to approach the matter as any good scientist would: observe those creatures already at the height of popularity and apply said observations to themselves, in the hopes of cracking into that mysterious world of junior-high stardom. The two record their observations and the often spectacularly unsuccessful outcomes of their various social experiments in a scrapbook-like journal, complete with notes passed at school, lists of projected popularity goals, and credibly goofy and kidlike drawings. The story here is fairly familiar: the girls fail miserably at their first attempts at the A-list (Lydia's hair falls out after a botched dye job, among other disasters) but eventually find acceptance in the upper echelon, only to learn the valuable lesson that it's the people you're most comfortable around who make the best friends. The diary format, however, adds an extra dimension of funny, and as in Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid series about Greg Heffley, it allows Julie and Lydia to come alive through their witty dialogue, their perceptive commentary, and even their characteristic handwriting. Secondary characters shine as well, particularly Julie's embarrassing but ultimately charming two dads, along with Lydia's goth-punk sister, a font of random quips and junior high wisdom. The popular kids end up being far from perfect and each has issues of her own to contend with, making the actual friendships that form among the girls all the more endearing. Those waiting for the next installment of Greg Heffley's adventures will be well served by this amusing experiment in sixth-grade celebrity. KQG
Paperback, 208 pages
Published on December 19, 2011 by Amulet Paperbacks
ISBN-10: 0810997231
ISBN-13: 9780810997233
27 Book Reviews
  • bsc
    bscSunday, November 29, 2020 at 7:01 am33 stars
    This book was good. Lydia and Julie are best friends. They are basically like two peas in a pod- ever since Lydia's dad left her family. Their goal for the new school year is to become popular. But how will they do it? They decide to spy on the popular kids. They write all their observations in their notebook. So after they have gathered all of their 'research' they decide to change themselves so they'll fit in. But it doesn't turn out so well. People yell, Julie get hurt, Lydia gets a new hairstyle, and much more. But their friendship seems to be drifting as well. This book twists friendship, popular girls, crushes and so much more into the pages. You'll find yourself feeling connected to what the girls go through. I give it 3/5 stars. Some of the handwriting was in cursive, so it might be a little difficult to read if you can't read cursive. Happy reading!
    • zzayumi
      zzayumiMonday, May 20, 2019 at 5:24 pm55 stars
      This is a really good book! It teaches you about friendship. This is about two girls who want to be popular. It is kind of like a journal.
      • oliviakim
        oliviakimThursday, October 20, 2016 at 8:20 pm55 stars
        I decided to read this book is because I think the picture is pretty and interesting. Also I like this book because the story is very fun and the words come to my brain easily. I like the book of the popularity papers.
        • gymnastaussican
          gymnastaussicanSunday, March 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm44 stars
          I think that this book was really well thought out. I felt like I was reading Lydia and Julie's actual notebook/diary because everything was drawn and written so neatly. Every page was different. I like how it described a lot of how everybody is different and not everybody is popular. I wish I could give this a three star and a half but now I relies that 4 stars it more accurate.
          • bluehorse3
            bluehorse3Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm55 stars
            This was really cute and a lot like how girls think except not all of us would be that extreme in trying to be popular. I didn't read any more in the series only because I couldn't find them, but I would have, if I could. :)
            • soccerawesome18
              soccerawesome18Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 7:13 pm
              i really really really really REALLY want to read this series
              • cocogirlFriday, October 17, 2014 at 10:16 amFeatured
                Popularity Papers is my favorite book in the world it's funny, crazy,awesome, and has drama.these two best friends Lydia and Julie research popular girls ,so they can be popular.they also have some friends that are popular named Jane,Lisa,and Gretchen .But they mostly research The Bichons the popular group in the 8th grade and the whole school .I recommend this book to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                • crazyladybug
                  crazyladybugFriday, October 3, 2014 at 3:14 am55 stars
                  This book is about Lydia And Julia. They want to be the popular girls. They try many ways, but some didn't work. It is very funny. I think my favorite part is Jane (the popular girl) she break her foot, so Lydia help Jane to sing the song and she sang very funny and crazy. Some people say she is the next Super Star! Because I think she sings very crazy and yucky but some people still say she is the next super star it's too funny! I recommend this book to you, because it's too funny.
                  • callmedrewbie72
                    callmedrewbie72Friday, May 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm55 stars
                    This was really good!
                    • headream100
                      headream100Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 9:19 pm55 stars
                      One of the best books I EVER READ!!!!!!