On Thursdays, we review middle grade books.
In Miss Popularity by Francesco Sedita, Cassie Knight is the most popular girl at her Texas school. When her father’s job relocates the family to Maine, Cassie finds herself on the outs of her new prep school. Determined to never let anyone dull her sparkle, Cassie organizes a fashion show to show to make new friends.
Whenever I was younger, I loved the books in the Candy Apple books series (The Accidental Cheerleader, The Boy Next Door, etc.). They had girly and sometimes even sparkly covers. The books were quick and fun to read and had main characters that I wanted to be. I always wanted to read Miss Popularity, but I never ended up purchasing the book. I found this book recently at a library sale and I know my fifth grade self would have loved this book, even though I can see how cartoonish and cliched it is now.
While the main character, Cassie Knight, embodies the Texas girl stereotype, she is also a great role model for girls. I’ve seen in a lot of reviews that Cassie is superficial and is a bad role model for girls because of her focus on popularity, however, I didn’t get that message when I read the book. Unlike many other popular girls in middle grade books, Cassie was always nice to people, even if they weren’t so nice to her. Even when she was ridiculed for her peppy attitude and brightly colored clothes, Cassie always stayed true to herself and never doubted her talents. Even though she sometimes came across as cartoonish, I appreciated how she acted throughout the book. I definitely would have wanted to be like Cassie if I read this book when I was younger!
On aspect that I think could have been done better is the whole drama between Cassie and the mean girl at her new school (I’m totally blanking on her name). To make friends, Cassie wants to get more involved in the school so she decides to get involved with the mean girl’s school fundraising project. In the end, Cassie pretty much takes over the event with little input from the person who started it. I wish that Cassie would acknowledge this more throughout the book because it definitely makes her rival’s actions more understandable and also doesn’t really go along with Cassie’s character.
Since this was a light and fun read that I had minor problems with, I rate Miss Popularity with 4 out of 5 stars.