Thursday, May 12, 2011

Review - Popular

Alissa Grosso
Fidelity High is ruled by Hamilton Best, the golden girl who sets her own rules. She throws the parties, she writes the guest lists, and she decides who gets to hang out with her. Her friends are part of a tightly-knit clique, each girl handpicked. Unlike the rest of the school, Olivia, Zelda, Shelly, and Nordica are always on the guest list for one of Hamilton's parties. However, as senior year begins, the strands holding the clique together begin to break. From social-climbing Shelly who has plans to dethrone Hamilton in spectacular fashion, to freaky Zelda who's decided that Hamilton's boyfriend Alex is her "destiny," to young, frizzy-haired Nordica who worries what will happen to her next year after Hamilton graduates while she still has a year left of high school.

This book is written from the POVs of each of the girls in the clique, showing the unravelling of senior year and Hamilton's reign through five sets of eyes. There's the sense throughout that something nasty is simmering just below the surface of Hamilton and the clique's perfect life. Things feel off and throughout much of the book it was difficult for me to put my finger on just what seemed off. The few things I did notice I originally planned to mention in my review, but because of the shocking plot of the book, it's best to go into the story wide-eyed and naive, with absolutely no possible spoilers.

While it takes a few chapters to get used to the various viewpoints used here, the short chapters and obviously-different characters really help. This is not a clique populated by strawberry-lipgloss-wearing, pom-pom-waving Barbie types. Instead, Hamilton and her friends are different, each of them seeming like they really should belong to a different high school group. Nordica and Zelda especially seem to skew the expectations of popularity, which is both perplexing and refreshing. As the school year wears on, the clique gets tired of Hamilton's rule, each for different reasons. And while I felt that there was a lot of telling here, descriptions of feelings and characters that seem unsubstantiated, this writing style ultimately ends up working to the book's advantage. Because as much as this is a book about popular girls, it's also a bit more, because Hamilton Best has a secret. It's a secret that threatens her popularity, a secret that only her enigma of a boyfriend Alex is aware of. And, trust me, it is a secret that will shock you.

This book was amazing. Despite that feeling of something being off, not quite right, it was impossible to put my finger on just what it was. (Although, trust me, I had my ideas about what might happen.) The set-up and follow-through of this story is absolutely brilliant and while the writing style and certain events can be annoying at times, the various elements ultimately come together to create a shocking and unforgettable book.


  1. this sounds really intriguing, I had never heard of it so thanks for the introduction, hopefully I'll get a chance to read it in the future !

  2. I cannot wait to read this one - it looks awesome!