A popularity war heats to boiling when follower Polly Pierce has to take over the leadership of a middle school talent competition.
Like old age, middle school popularity isn’t for sissies. It gives a girl power, prestige and pleasure, but it comes at a price. For Polly, achieving and maintaining popularity means never saying what you feel, instead tailoring your personality to please others—a mindset that has earned her the nickname Plastic Polly. Polly is the perfect popular girl number two. Unsure of who she is or what she believes in, Polly is happy to let others, particularly her determined and self-assured best friend, Kelsey Taylor, the queen bee of “the Court” at Winston Academy, tell her what to say, think and feel. When Kelsey injures herself, Polly reluctantly takes over as PlanMaster of Groove It Up, a hotly contested annual talent contest between two competing schools. No one believes Polly has the chops for the position, not her dog-eat-popular-dog school committee, the principal or even her hard-driving lawyer mother. Polly’s journey from rudderless follower to resourceful leader is heartfelt. Lundquist carefully sets up obstacles to showcase Polly’s step-by-step evolution, making the trip both dramatically and emotionally credible.
Readers will surely be saying, ‘Polly, you go girl.’ (Fiction. 9-13)