How Not to Be Popular By Jennifer Ziegler introduces us to Maggie Dempsey, who has had to survive the latest relocation of her ‘hippy-dippy’ parents. When she arrives in Austin, Maggie decides she won’t open herself up to the pain of losing another set of best friends. She’ll remain an invisible loner at high school until her parents decide to move on.
Here we see the common theme of teenager trying to fit in turned on a handstand. The more Maggie strives to become an outcast, the more attention she draws from her classmates who become intrigued rather than repelled by her odd behavior. She gains points for being authentic and brave while in reality she’s transforming into the biggest phony. Will Maggie morphs into a new flavor of mean girl by turning her back on the people who tried to help her, or risk true rejection by revealing her lies. The story pulls us along as she tries on new identities, makes mistakes and gradually learns it’s not in her nature to remain friendless.