Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review: The Popularity Rules by Abby McDonald

Popularity Rules coverTitle: The Popularity Rules
Author: Abby McDonald
Genre: Fiction, Chick Lit
Pub Date: September 24, 2009, Arrow Books (UK)
Paperback, 473 pages
Book Source: Advanced copy from the publishers


Rule 1: All's fair in love, war and popularity...

Kat Elliot is no social butterfly: she's spent her life rebelling against phony schmoozing--and it's led her nowhere. Just as she's ready to give up her dreams and admit defeat, in steps Lauren Anderville. One-time allies against their school bullies, Lauren and Kat had been inseparable. Then one year Lauren returned from summer camp, blonde, bubbly and suddenly popular, and Kat was left to face the world alone.

Ten years later, Lauren's back. She wants to make amends by teaching Kat the secret to her success: The Popularity Rules. A decades-old rulebook, its secrets transformed Lauren that fateful summer. And so, tempted by Lauren's promises of glitzy parties and the job she's always dreamed about, Kat reluctantly submits to a total makeover--only to find that life with the in-crowd might have something going for it after all.

But while Lauren has sacrificed everything to get ahead, is Kat really ready to accept that popularity is the only prize that counts?

My Thoughts

OK, I have to be honest. This book is an example of why I don't generally read Chick Lit. I realize that sounds harsh, and I apologize for that, but I don't know how else to express it. I found the story and the characters to be very superficial and for much of the book I was absolutely annoyed with Kat. As I am so far behind on my review reading, I was tempted to call it quits on this book and pass it along after reading a few chapters, but I decided to persevere. And you know what? The book did improve for me and I found myself sucked into the story. Not only that, I imagine that regular readers of Chick Lit will really enjoy The Popularity Rules.

Despite some obvious predictability with the storyline, Abby McDonald has produced a well-written, sharp, and at times amusing story of Kat's foray into popular circles. My issue with stories like this is that I find myself getting depressed and disappointed when characters act the way Kat and Lauren did. I like to think that people in general are better than they are portrayed to be in books that focus on popularity and how to find success. Maybe I am overly optimistic and give people too much credit, or perhaps it's because I personally have never been (or aimed to be) part of the popular, "in" crowd.

Bottom line: While it wasn't for me, I imagine Chick Lit fans (and fans of the movie Clueless, for that matter) will enjoy The Popularity Rules. There is also a web site for the book that you can check out! It will be released on September 24th in the UK. A special thanks to Ruth with Random House UK for sending me an advanced copy.

My rating: 3 stars

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to include a link to your review, please leave a comment below!


  1. I haven't read this book, but I did read Sophomore Switch by the same author and I was impressed by the fact that the book looked like chick lit but in reality, because of the writing and plotting of the author was so much more.

  2. No need to be sorry, we can't all love the same genre after all. As a matter of fact, I rarely read chick lit either. Good review nonetheless Melissa. I think that one day when a desire strikes me to read some chick lit, I will reach out fo this book.

  3. Melissa,
    I'm impressed with your balanced and fair reviews. This is another fine example :). I'm not a fan of this genre, either, but I admire the fact that you can respect a high-quality writing style, etc., even when the genre isn't to your liking. No wonder I always check your blog..... : )

  4. Doesn't sound like my type of book at all! Good review, though!

  5. Do they at least get what they deserve in the end? :P

  6. I love chick lit. I understand completely your disappointment in the behaviour of the characters though, and I often want to smack them upside the head myself and I enjoy the genre. I think I'd like this book for a fun, lighthearded romp into popularity.

  7. Good review, is great you´re honest about what you think abou the book. I think the book is interesting, I would like to read it sometime.

  8. As you can see, we're all glad you're honest, even if that means you have to report that you didn't like a book. Thanks for keeping it real and honoring us with your true opinion. It counts!

  9. Hmm. 3 stars. Thanks for the honest opinion. I also am not a fan of Chick Lit. Maybe this book also isn't for me.

  10. Sounds like a fun plot that I might enjoy reading :)

    Thanks for the honest review!

  11. I'm not a huge fan of chick lit either, unless it's atypical and has characters that are deeper.

  12. Thanks for the honest review. I'm not really a fan of ChickLit either (I prefer YA), but I actually always did want to be part of the "in" crowd, so I feel like this book might speak to me. I loved McDonald's Sophomore Switch, and I was really impressed with the way she incorporated feminist theory into that book. I'm hoping for more of the same in this book.


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