Wednesday, June 22, 2011


This book was so much more than I expected:

Popular, by Alissa Grosso. It starts out as a contemporary novel with multiple narrators: high-school girls, all members of the most popular clique in their school. At first, it seems that this is a book about a power struggle between the clique members, a straightforward drama about friendship and ambition and back-stabbing.

As it turns out, it's anything but straightforward. Early on, there are hints of strangeness, of things that don't quite add up. The character Alex--boyfriend to the most popular girl--seems so inconsistent that it's hard to get a handle on who he truly is and what he truly wants. And, it turns out, there's a good reason for this. As the truth unfolds, this story turns out to be something else altogether. It's not really about a competition for popularity. It goes to a much deeper darker place, and the weird little pieces that at first didn't make sense fall into place.

The other day on Twitter, I asked people to recommend books that had done something original with character, plot, or form. I got good suggestions, such as Blythe Woolston's The Freak Observer. But now I could add this book to the list, with kudos to Alissa Grosso, because it's been a long time since a book surprised me this much.

source of recommended read: bought


  1. Thanks for such an interesting recommendation. Marked "To Read."

  2. Thanks so much for this nice review! I have to say The Freak Observer is a great book.

    I'm also embarrassed to admit that I STILL haven't ready The Secret Year, but it is in my stack of books to read, and it looks like I'll have a little bit of quiet time this summer to finally get caught up on my reading.

  3. Enjoy, Mieke!

    Alissa: My pleasure. I call 'em as I see 'em.
    And no need to apologize--we all have huge TBR piles and read what we can!