Popular- A Book Review
About the Book:
Name of the book: Popular
Author: Alissa Grosso
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Price: INR 199
About the author:
Alissa Grosso like most English majors has held a variety of jobs- from a newspaper editor, a children’s librarian, a book distributor sales representative to a tavern wench complete with Colonial style costume. She is the author of young adult novels like Ferocity summer and Shallow Pond
About the cover and back cover:
The cover illustration portraying a teenage, gorgeous looking girl goes well with the title and the preview of the story on the back cover. I particularly like the color shades of the cover.
The back cover done is a beautiful double shade of brown with an interesting preview of the book that speaks of grudges, ambitions and a secret that ruled the protagonist's life.
Popular is the story of the clique that is the heart of Fidelity High. Olivia, Zelda, Nordica and Shelly are the members of this clique, handpicked by the most popular girl in the school Hamilton Best.
Any party thrown by Hamilton was the most happening thing at school and you know that you are "in" when you have made into one of the guest lists. Though perfect and flawless from outside, Hamilton's clique is far from it. Each member holds a grudge of her own which directly or indirectly has Hamilton in the bigger picture.
As the graduation draws closer, lives get tangled, confusion mounts, imperfections and insecurities are brought out in front.
Weighing down upon everything is however, a big secret, something that threatens to break the fragile thread of balance. A secret that only Hamilton's boyfriend Alex knows.
My views on the story:
I picked up Popular because it had been a while since I read a young adult novel and the back cover was pretty interesting.
The story however, triggered mixed reactions from me. The first part of the story is done is five different narrations- from each member of the clique. The narration was pulled off excellently; five different parts is no easy task and the distinction between each character was especially good. As you get accustomed to the five narrations, the tone of the different clique members becomes very evident; you can easily say whose part it is without even seeing the name.
The story initially seemed pretty shallow to me. The first thing that struck me was the aspects of an American high school which in so many ways was new and muddling to me.
The first thing was the insane urge and necessity to fit "in" and be a part of something. It was as if you needed the stamp of the most popular girl of the school to prove your own worth. Each member of the clique had serious issues against Hamilton which was pretty normal, the girl grudges, but the reasons seemed pretty lame.
Alex, Hamilton's boyfriend seemed like a shady character in the first part; his associations with other members of the clique while calling himself Hamilton best's boyfriend was very confusing. As the story advances, everything becomes a mystery and it finally starts to dawn on you that the story might be something more than the story of wannabe teens trying to become popular.
The second part of the story, with Alex's narration is where everything is finally thrown in proper light. Once again, the narration is done really well, the past and present running simultaneously was carried off successfully.
And the twist. Believe me, it isn't something that you would have imagined. It was jaw dropping. Everything starts making sense and you would kick yourself for having missed all the hints.
The pace of the story was erratic- The second part was fast paced and the first part had some places that dragged.
Overall the book was a decent read, the ending twist making up for whatever didn't strike a chord initially.
I would rate this book a 7/10. If you feel like reading a young adult novel that has a great twist to it, this would be the book for you.