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The Popularity Rules


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A hot new concept-led debut novel. It's the ultimate chick lit read; sassy, insightful and fabulous!

About the Author

Twenty-four year old Abby McDonald grew up in Sussex, England and studied Politics, Philosophy & Economics at Oxford University. She began writing at college, becoming music editor of the Oxford Student and completing her first novel. She has since worked as a music journalist and entertainment critic, interviewing acts as diverse as LeAnn Rimes, The Kings of Leon, and Marilyn Manson. Her writing has appeared in the NME, Plan B magazine, CosmoGirl!, and a variety of websites and blogs. In March 2009, her debut novel for teens, Sophomore Switch, was published by Candlewick Press. The Popularity Rules is her first novel for adults.


Ex-besties achieve fame by applying high school rules to London's social scene in McDonald's biting second novel. From the day they met as awkward, unattractive freshmen, Kat and Lauren were inseparable. But the summer they turned 16, Lauren transformed, returning to school gorgeous and instantly popular-leaving Kat in the dust. Now in her late 20s, Kat is a music journalist whose caustic feminist rants often find her passed over in favor of her less experienced, more fashion-forward colleagues. By chance she reconnects with Lauren, now a branding consultant, who reveals that her success came from a mysterious diary containing a detailed plan to achieving popularity that she discovered as a teen. The rules for the adult world are no different, she argues, offering to teach Kat. After an extreme makeover and some schmoozing tips, Kat is transformed into the music scene's new "it girl," and the writing jobs, sycophants, and party invites roll in. Kat's nagging doubts about selling out, and suspicions about Lauren, are inevitable, but a few clever twists that teach both women some surprising lessons about power, success, and friendship save the story. Though McDonald's supporting characters tend toward caricature and the endless stream of "industry events" can be tedious, readers will relish the ride. A gleeful skewering of pop culture, modern femininity, and female bonding. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

In McDonald's (The Liberation of Alice Love) latest chick lit title, protagonist Kat is rocker Bridget Jones, though she prefers to take journalistic vengeance on sleazy players than hem and haw over her boss's affections. A hard-core feminist with indie leanings, she strives to be genuine in a world that doesn't value truth. When an old friend shows up with the answer to all of Kat's problems (like getting fired for printing inflammatory remarks about a beloved singer), she decides to try out the "popularity rules." Said rules suggest that no one ever really "recovers" from high school, a premise that seems more fitting for a YA novel. Kat does change, while questioning if she's really being true to herself. Verdict Having missed the British chick lit craze that started with Helen Fielding, McDonald's novel feels a little dated; mentions of a crew of white-boy rappers as `the next big thing" doesn't add freshness. While not bad by any stretch, the stale feel and British slang might be obstacles for this fun romp. Purchase if chick lit circulates well; otherwise, skip it.-Stacey Comfort, Dexter Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

"A brilliantly written story full of humour, heartbreak and attitude - you'll love it." -- 4 stars Closer "A funny, true-to-life tale about a woman who ditches her laid-back, anti-schmoozing lifestyle for glitzy parties, buzzing contacts and popularity." heat "An entertaining story, cleverly told."

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