Publication date: May 8th 2011
Published by: Flux
Genre: YA Contemporary, Mystery
Eligible for Debut Author Challenge 2011
Meet the clique that rules Fidelity High: Olivia, Zelda, Nordica, and Shelly, each one handpicked by über-popular Hamilton Best. You know you're "in" when you make the guest list for one of Hamilton's parties. And in the thralls of senior year, everyone wants to get noticed by Hamilton.
But Hamilton's elite entourage is coming apart at the seams. Olivia fantasizes about finally having a boyfriend, Zelda dreams of ditching high school, Nordica wants to be alone with her photography, and Shelly's plotting to dethrone Hamilton. Lies and secrets are ripping away the careful ties that have kept them together for years. But Hamilton has the biggest secret of all, one that only her boyfriend Alex knows. If the truth got out, it would shock everyone and destroy Hamilton's fragile world—and she'll do anything to protect her secret and keep her clique together.
If you haven't read Popular, please avoid the SPOILER ZONE below.One single "event" is everything that Popular is about and even though I don't want to reveal it, I can't possibly write a review without referring to it.Sorry!
Popular is told through multiple perspectives:
Hamilton - Queen Bee, most beautiful and popular girl in Fidelity High. She absolutely loves Alex, her boyfriend, who is kind of a loner and no one really gets how he ended up with a girl like Hamilton.
Olivia - sarcastic and witty, she's been friends with Hamilton the longest, is crushing on Chance, a soccer player at school
Nordica - shy and introvert, has a secret crush on Alex
Shelly - superficial and mean, wants to dethrone Hamilton and take her place.
They are "The Clique" .
What do they all have in common?They hate Hamilton! They all think she is a manipulative, shellfish bitch that won't hesitate to stab each and everyone one of them in the back given the opportunity. Now, I have read a lot of high-school-popularity-centered-books and the posse's jealousy of their leader is always a given. But in Popular things were a little bit more heated than I expected. There doesn't seem to be any reason why any of them should be friends, as they are completely different people. In fact the hatred isn't only targeted at Hamilton, but at times I think they kinda hate each other, too. Thing is, despite all the smack they talked about Hamilton, I never saw it. I never saw this mean and evil girl everyone made her out to be. All I saw was a sad and terribly confused young woman who tried every second to not completely lose it.And that was even before I found out about this HUGE(and I mean HUGE!)secret that she was carrying. Honestly, I didn't expect it. Well, I kinda suspected it 100 pages before the end, when Alex's POV started but it really doesn't make a difference because it's still a jaw-dropping twist. Which I unfortunately now have to name because I can't go any further without referring to it. Sorry!
I'm gonna keep this short.
After the twist is revealed (the multiple personality thing), I was stunned. I couldn't believe that Hamilton, or should I say Jayne, had such a serious mental problem and she still functioned properly, going to school, having a boyfriend etc. And then I wondered about her mother and how in the world did she let her daughter go on with the normality of everyday without seeking psychiatric help for her first! Because it was obvious that she didn't. And how is it possible the boyfriend that says that loves her so much could hide such a secret from everyone because he was worried what her classmates would think of her and because he was in love with all her personalities? Well, at least he is a stupid teenager, what's her mom's excuse?
As far as I'm concerned, her stepfather was the one to blame for Jayne's "condition" first, then her mom and then Alex for letting this go on for no reason other than stupidity and ignorance.
I felt sorry for Jayne. She was so lost, poor girl. That's why I think her personalities hated her, because she was wallowing in self-hatred and self-pity since she was 5 years old. And that's why she was so afraid of graduation, stressing that she couldn't be able to maintain these personalities after high school and that scared the hell out of her, being alone. I can't even imagine what it's like to have multiple personalities disorder so I am not gonna try to understand it or give any words of wisdom on the matter.
END OF SPOILER ZONE
Popular is a very different and interesting take on popularity-centered teen books. Alissa Grosso did a very good job on her debut novel and I will definitely keep an eye out for her future books.