This is my review for the graphic novel: The Popularity Papers: Book Five: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow
Part of my issue with this book was that it is book five of the series, and it is not a series you can pick up in the middle of it. I find that if a book can stand alone, but still be a continuation, that is a good book/series. And while me the (physical) adult, could pick things up, I am not sure if the kid reader would.
And another part was I never really got into the characters. I did not find them likeable. Julie and Lydia are two friends who share a written journal. It is a way for them to communicate with each other. And this tells their story of trying to start a band, their friend-drama, and more. Now, since I read book five and did not see how this all started, I am not sure if they do this “same time” (one writes, one replies) or if they switch the book around. However, regardless of the how, it feels like we are watching their conversation as if they are in the room together and/or talking to us. There are some online chats they have that if Ignatow had kept the entire book in that style, it would have worked better.
Then there is the theme. It is one we’ve seen before (trying to navigate middle school, friendship, popularity). And therefore, there is nothing “new” said. I did enjoy some of the “crayon/color pencil” look to some of the illustrations as that was different, but overall things are just okay. Julie looks like she has two mouths and no nose (off putting for me to say the least). The blue hair of Lydia was fun and showed her personality.
I felt it is a combination of Peanuts meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Terri Libenson. Girls ages (strong) 8 to 10 could find something to enjoy but do start with book one.