Following series opener Project (Un)Popular (2016), 12-year-old Perry once again finds herself in trouble for trying to help the school geeks become popular.
Her best friend, Venice, is distracted by her boyfriend. Her sister is evolving into a militant humanist vegan, and her parents refuse to allow her access to social media. Perry feels increasingly lost, but at least yearbook seems to be looking up. Anya, the back-stabbing photography editor, has been replaced by the uber-organized Javier. But while Perry wanted more responsibility, the load Javier places on her threatens to crush her. Soon Anya’s undermining her again, her sister’s got an insane idea to run off to Thailand, and a boy is crushing on her, all of which brings Perry to a breaking point. When she finally obtains access to PopRat, she decides to use the social media app to clear the air—but somehow, it makes everything a whole lot worse. The cast is somewhat racially diverse, but, Latino Javier excepted, the principals seem to be white. While the drama of crushes, frenemies, and hovering parents is spot-on, the portrayal of adults as clueless is over-the-top. Awkward dialogue and one-dimensional characters further hamper the story. But it is Perry’s tendency to hyperanalyze everything that suggests the drama is more within than without.
Exhausting and (un)crushworthy. (Fiction. 9-13)