It’s not often that my books have songs for titles, but Alissa Grosso’s Popular saved me a step. And I’m just now noticing the author’s name, but I’m going to bet that Grosso was not the best name to survive high school with. Anyway, Grosso’s book features Hamilton Best, teen queen extraordinaire, and her clique, Olivia, Shelly, Nordica and Zelda. The story of senior year plays out in alternating chapters, each presented by a different member of the group, with the final chapters featuring Alex, Hamilton’s boyfriend.
There’s twists in them there chapters and I don’t want to ruin the shock for you, so it’s difficult to talk much about the book. But, on the other hand, I don’t really want to recommend that you read the book. Without the twist, Popular is a pretty shallow story about the fears of leaving the safety of high school and moving into the unknowns of college and adulthood. I have to admire Grosso’s imagination, though. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this particular plot in a Young Adult novel before.
**SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER**
There’s no clique. Hamilton Best has multiple personalities and all the girls are really her. Which I should have known because the girls had such stupid names. Nordica Freemingle. Uh-huh. Alex is so excited to be dating the prettiest girl in school that he’s driving himself insane trying to protect Hamilton’s secret. He doesn’t need to bother at all, though, because the entire school is so besotted with Hamilton that they don’t even care that she frequently eats lunch completely alone at a large table, argues with herself out loud, or switches personalities in the blink of an eye. Apparently, once you’re popular, you’re popular forever. I’ll be sure and tell Cabbage Patch Dolls and Leif Garrett.