Review Blog

Nov 24 2011

Popular by Gareth Russell

cover image

Razorbill, 2011. ISBN 9780141334530.
(Ages 15+) This is the first book in a new series by an Irish author. Set in modern day Belfast readers are introduced to the privileged world of Meredith Harper and her friends Imogen, Catherine and Cameron. The main motivation in life for these teenagers is to be popular and they ruthlessly manipulate the people around them to achieve this. They lie, scheme and gossip while attending parties and spending lots of money. Beautiful and rich Meredith is the Queen Bee and her callous treatment of her friends is particularly uncomfortable to read. The plot revolves mainly about one of the girls having two boyfriends at the same time and how this can be hidden.
The novel could be read as a satire by more savvy readers but my concern is that many teenage readers would not find themselves internally challenging the behavior of the characters as perhaps the author intended. At times the dialogue is amusing and the characters are well constructed if mainly unlikeable.
Fans of the Gossip Girl series may be interested in reading this series.
Chris Lloyd

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