Today's March MG Madness stop features my review of Jenny Lundquist's Plastic Polly, which releases today! There's also a great giveaway for a signed copy.
Popularity has its pitfalls, and Polly is discovering them firsthand in this middle-grade M!X novel. Polly Pierce likes being the second-most popular girl at Winston Academy, right after her BFF, Kelsy. Popularity comes with special privileges, like a seat at the best table in the cafeteria and a coveted spot on the planning committee for the school’s big talent show competition, Groove It Up! And since all Polly has to do is agree with whatever Kelsy says, being popular is easy—even if kids do call her “Plastic Polly” behind her back.But when a freak accident takes Kelsy out of the picture, Polly is suddenly in charge of the Groove It Up! committee. She’s not prepared for her new status—and neither is anyone else. Backstabbing friends, an intimidating crush, and diva demands from an injured Kelsy all threaten to derail Polly’s plans. Can she prove to everyone—and herself—that she has a personality of her own?
I really loved Jenny Lundquist's other middle-grade novel Seeing Cinderella, so I was super excited to dive into her new book Plastic Polly, and Lundquist has once again captured the world of tweens with honesty, humor, and heart.
Polly is the second most popular girl in her middle school and the right hand gal to her BFF (and reigning queen bee), Kelsey. Polly enjoys being popular and all the privileges that come with it, like a seat at the Court in the cafeteria, invites to all the best parties, the envy of her peers, and getting to plan the annual Groove It Up. Groove It Up is a yearly talent competition between Polly's school and the other middle school in town, and this year's prizes include an exclusive concert from the famous Shattered Stars. Kelsey is the Groove It Up PlanMaster, until an accident lands Kelsey in the hospital and out of school for three weeks. As her second in command, Polly becomes the new PlanMaster, but she quickly learns that being popular isn't as great or easy as she once thought. Polly must deal with mean backstabbing frenemies, a complicated crush, a difficult mother, and a former BFF, all while trying to prove that she's more than Plastic Polly.
Plastic Polly does something that not many middle-grade books do: it focuses on a main character that is considered popular and not an outsider. I'll admit that I was a bit hesitant when I realized this because I tend to be a fan of the outcast, underdog characters, but I was pleasantly surprised with what Lundquist did with Polly and her story.
Lundquist knows how to capture the tween and young teen voice perfectly. And the middle school world she has created is pretty spot on. The tension between the popular kids, the brainy kids, and the artsy kids is crafted with unabashed honesty and realism (but always remains appropriate for its intended audience). The kids in this book act and talk like very real middle schoolers, which I think readers, especially young readers, will really appreciate. And Lundquist doesn't glorify or encourage the often nasty and mean behavior of her characters. I really like the way that this mean and bullyish behavior isn't limited to the popular kids; the unpopular kids are just as guilty of judging and insulting others as well.
Polly turned out to be a really fabulous character. With Polly, Lundquist has given a voice to what so many young people want and desire: to simply be accepted for who they are. Polly is smart, determined, brave, and kind, but she makes mistakes and doesn't always do the right thing, making her relatable and likable and easy to connect with. Polly's journey from follower Plastic Polly to strong, capable Polly with a voice of her own, is one that younger readers will be inspired by and parents will feel good about.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Plastic Polly surprised me in the best way possible! Jenny Lundquist has used her dazzling writing talent to weave a story that is full of laughs, heart, and memorable characters. This book left me with a happy heart and big smile.
Jenny Lundquist grew up in Huntington Beach, California, wearing glasses and wishing they had magic powers. They didn't, but they did help her earn a degree in intercultural studies at Biola University. Jenny has painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to write a book at a café in Paris. Jenny and her husband live in northern California with their two sons and Rambo, the world's whiniest cat.
Win a signed copy of Plastic Polly plus swag!
Jenny Lundquist has generously offered one signed copy of her book, plus swag, to one winner.
-will run until 3/31
-must be 13+, one main entry per person
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-I am NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
Fill out the Rafflecopter form: