Gay – Elementary/Middle School
Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang have been best friends practically forever. Like most girls, they want to be popular, and they worry about the pressures of junior high. With the idea of recreating themselves over the coming year they embark on a project to figure out how to become popular. They keep a secret notebook, with Julie recording the results of their various experiments in words and pictures, while the braver Lydia will be the subject (or victim) of these attempts to understand what it is that popularity is all about.
They try to bleach Lydia’s hair with laundry bleach; try to be interested in boys that the popular girls seem to think are interesting – or try to be interested in boys at all; they try to convince their parents’ they need cell phones (Julie has two dads, something that is only mentioned in passing, although they do appear in the story periodically); join sports that they aren’t really interested in; try out for the school play; enter the talent show, etc.
They make some new friends, learn that the popular girls have problems of their own, have a falling out, and come back together again.
The characterizations are spot-on, the graphic format appealing for the age group, and preteen girls will recognize themselves in Julie and Lydia, and laugh at, and with them.