Popular by Maya Van Wagenen is a book like no other. Popular is a YA memoir about middle school in Brownsville, Texas, written by sixteen year old Maya Van Wagenen. See what I mean? At it’s core, Popular is a groundbreakingly candid glimpse into a teenage girl’s life (and as one, I can confirm it’s a completely accurate portrayal). It’s a memoir about adolescence without all the sugarcoating and happy endings. It’s ridiculously, refreshingly honest. It all started on an innocent summer day, before Maya’s 8th grade year, when her parents were cleaning out her father’s office. They found a book by 1950s supermodel, Betty Cornell, Betty Cornell’s Teen Age Popularity Guide. On a whim, Maya comes up with the craziest, most daring social experiment ever. Her entire 8th grade year, she would follow Betty’s exact instructions, from what to wear, who to make friends with, what to eat, how to act, and more. In her doing this, Maya makes new friends, suffers tragic losses, discovers herself, and redefines what “popular” really means. Her extraordinary memoir debut is not to be missed, and is out in paperback tomorrow (4/21/15).