Release Date: May 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
For reigning popularity queen Hamilton Best, the very idea of graduation is filled with fear. She's always been the star of Fidelity High's most exclusive clique, idolized for her perfection and her fabulous parties—you know you're "in" when you make Hamilton's guest list. As high school draws to a close, Hamilton is about to lose everything that makes her who she is. To make matters worse, the clique is slowly coming apart at the seams. Although the hand-picked members—Olivia, Zelda, Nordica, and Shelly—all have their own agendas, desires, and secrets, they do have one thing in common: they're desperate to break away from Hamilton. Yet Hamilton has the biggest and most shocking secret of all, one that only her devoted boyfriend Alex knows. If the truth got out, it would completely destroy her fragile world. And she'll do anything to keep that from happening.
To be honest, at first I was a bit reluctant to read Popular because it's a book about five high school girls all members of a popular and exclusive clique. I like reading about characters I can relate to and I was worried I wouldn't find that in this book. I'm also not a fan of books like the Gossip Girl or Clique series and I was afraid Popular was going to be like those books. Boy, was I wrong.
Popular is a debut novel by Alissa Grosso and now that I had finished the book, I think it was a pretty ambitious debut novel. There were six main characters and each chapter switches off between the girls in first person narration. You would think it would be confusing but it was not at all. I love it when a book is in first-person because I feel like I get to know the characters on a personal level. Admittedly, at first, the different narrations didn't sound like individual voices to me but as I continued to read, it got better and better until I found myself completely immersed in the thoughts and voices of the girls and Hamilton's boyfriend Alex. Sometimes after I had read, I would still think I'm at Fidelity High watching the most exclusive clique fall apart at the seams and myself admiring quiet and contemplative Alex from a distance. Ms. Grosso writes beautifully with great narrations from all the characters and the book had a great plot that sent me on a roller coaster ride of emotions and reactions.
As for the plot, I loved that Ms. Grosso added a most surprising and interesting aspect to it that I never had suspected to be in the book. The shocking part was something I never read before in other books, it was a bit unsettling yet interesting for me. I can't tell you what it is and why it happened though, it will spoil this amazing book but it seriously caught me off guard. Looking back now, I think I wouldn't have felt as shocked as I was if only I read more carefully because it was hinted a bit at one point.
Overall, this is an amazing debut novel that I recommend to everyone who loves secrets and surprises. It's not a Gossip Girl kind of novel--it's a deep and engrossing read that I'll hopefully be able to reread in the near future to revisit the girls and Alex. My reading experience with Popular was so fantastic that its words and characters still haunt me days after I finished reading it. 5 out of 5 stars