Julie and Lydia discover just how rocky the road to romance can be in the sixth installment of Ignatow’s Popularity Papers.
Things have gotten complicated ever since Roland kissed Julie. She isn’t sure if he wants to be her boyfriend or just friends—until he asks her on a date to the movies. Julie navigates her first relationship, guided by plenty of questionable advice from meddling classmate Jane and rules from a very worried Papa Dad (“If at least one of Julie’s fathers does not like her date then she is not allowed to date them. Ever”). Meanwhile, Lydia learns that her mother is marrying her former soccer coach, Eric. Lydia and her sister, Melody, implement Operation Sabotage to stop the wedding and keep Eric from leaving his children in England—the way their father left them years earlier. Through their shared notebook, Julie and Lydia detail the changes love brings to their lives. Although the girls have plenty of problems to solve, their quick banter keeps the tone light. Lydia’s and Julie’s brightly colored doodles bring Ignatow’s story to life and showcase their personalities, but the book’s passed-notebook format feels forced, especially as the girls rehash experiences they’ve shared together. Still, fans of the series will be rewarded with plenty of giggle-worthy antics from Julie and Lydia.
A fizzy, quirky tale of adolescent angst that has, perhaps, outgrown its format. (Graphic fiction. 9-13)