Aspiring elementary school comedian Louie Burger is back, this time tackling popularity.
Following The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger (2013), Louie’s favorite comedian, Lou Lafferman, airs the video of Louie barfing at the school talent show. Louie’s brush with fame wins him public recognition from adults, but more importantly, it makes him interesting enough that the other kids talk to him instead of ignoring or bullying him—with the exception of cardboard bully Ryan Rakefield, of course. When it looks like his 15 minutes are about to expire, Louie becomes obsessed with recapturing his fleeting popularity. His older sister, Ari, hilariously explains the three ways of winning popularity: make people fear you, make people love you or get a temporary “popularity bump”—Louie’s television cameo being one such bump. When attempts to force another bump fail miserably, he decides that the best way to achieve lasting popularity (and the subsequent protection from bullying and mockery that it brings) is to win the vote to become the class marshal for the school Halloween parade—an open popularity contest. His campaign to win leads him to neglect his best friends, Nick and Thermos, shockingly. Eventually, Louie reconciles being his weird self with being popular, as well as learning a lesson on valuing friends over popularity. Though the lessons are obvious, they are conveyed easily, and Louie is an appealingly flawed character.
Funny and accessible. (Fiction. 7-11)