Camy Bakers How to Be Popular in the Sixth Grade
In a snobbish, somewhat snarky tone--too adult-sounding to be believable as the voice of the sixth-grader she claims to be--Camy professes herself an expert at being popular. After all, she has honed her skills at Beverly Hills Elementary, where ""being popular was the most important thing."" Now Camy is on her way to being all the rage on her new turf, Peoria (as in ""will it play in...?"") Middle School in Illinois, where her family recently relocated. The author's basic philosophy is simple: ""If you feel good about yourself, others will feel good about you."" But most readers already have learned that expressing one's individuality is often at odds with fitting in with the popular crowd. So, while many of the rules here, including ""Don't follow trends--set them!"" ""Be independent,"" ""Be yourself,"" and ""Stand tall,"" are positive nuggets of advice (if not to say old chestnuts), they may not go down with the target audience. A few dated pop-culture references and derogatory remarks about stepparents also detract from this work. Particularly patronizing (spoken by a person of any age) are remarks like ""I don't believe that all adults are necessarily worthy of my respect.... But we need to be nice to teachers because they have a hard job and don't get paid a lot of money. And they're educated at colleges."" On a brighter note, a closing question-and-answer section and Web site address may offer support to girls dealing with confusing issues of adolescence. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) FYI: A companion book, Camy Baker's Love You Like a Sister, is due for simultaneous release; it offers rules for friendship ($3.99 paper, -48656-X).