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Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  201 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
While Lula Bell Bonner tries desperately to fit in by not standing out, her wise and irrepressible Grandma Bernice says: Let your light shine! It's Grandma Bernice who provides the joy that balances Lula Bell’s difficult school life, but when this balance is upended, when Kali Keele turns up the heat on her cruel teasing, and when the talent show—that she should NEVER have ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Two Lions (first published October 1st 2012)
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A Long Way from Chicago by Richard PeckA Year Down Yonder by Richard PeckBut I Don't Want to be a Movie Star by Margaret PinderLula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair by C.C. PayneThrough a Brief Darkness by Richard Peck
Cool Grandmas in YA books
4th out of 16 books — 7 voters
Fangirl by Rainbow RowellHow to Date a Nerd by Cassie MaeHow to Seduce a Band Geek by Cassie MaeThe Avery Shaw Experiment by Kelly OramThe Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
YA Nerd/Geek Books
84th out of 135 books — 222 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jan 31, 2013 Aly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Reviews and Geeky Goodness on:

Lula Bell Bonner just wants to fit in. She doesn't want to, as her Grandma Bernice keeps insisting, let her light shine. All she wants to do is be as invisible as possible, to avoid the bullying of once-friend Kali Keele and her entourage, to make it through the Fifth Grade, and not humiliate herself in the talent show, one inconspicuous step at a time. But when she loses her best friend, Lula Bell realizes that maybe playing turtle-po
 ☆∞Love Frances∞☆


Make yourself as small as possible
Vegetables are NOT comfort foods
Don’t fit in by standing out
These are a few of the life lessons Lulu Bell has learned to date. Her Grandma Bernice encourages her daily to “Let your light shine”, advice Lula does NOT follow. A typical tween, Lula Bell feels that a bully in the form of an ex friend, a geeky hanger on, and hair that doesn’t curl, are her biggest issues. The book introduces Lula and us to valuable l
Jun 23, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it

Lula Bell just wants to make it through the fifth grade. She is doing everything that she can to stay out of the way even though her Grandma wants her to shine brightly. Unfortunately, an old friend turned enemy, doesn't want to let Lula Bell slide by unnoticed. Then an unexpected tragedy happens that forces Lula to reevaluate her presence in the school. Should she really try to get by without being noticed or should she start to follow her grandmothers advice?

My thoughts:
I really enjoye
Jan 31, 2015 Urs rated it liked it
Shelves: read-w-s-c
I read this book with my nine and eleven year old nieces. I bought a copy for them and for me while it was on sale for $1 on the Amazon kindle store.

The title would lead you to believe that this is a story about fitting in and finding your place in the world. However, this is very much a story of grief and loss. Had I known this, I might not have read it with my nieces or I would have read it with them sooner as they lost their grandmother (my mother) just over a year ago and their uncle (my br
Jan 18, 2013 Jacquelyn rated it really liked it
This was a great little book. Easy to read for an adult, and quite relatable for those in the target age range. I would guess that it would be for 4-6 grade based on the age of Lula Bell, as well as the overall message behind the book.
Heather Williams
If you have ever lost a loved one this book will be difficult to read without at least tearing up. This is a clean, honest YA book about a fifth grade girl going through trials and tribulations while trying to come to terms with who she is and how to leave the world a nicer place - through music, forgiveness, and general good deeds... no matter how much you DON'T want to do them. The show must go on!

I think the funniest quote from this book is, "Once a person puts on leopard print, the question
May 09, 2014 Sue rated it liked it
Shelves: children
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
Plenty of humor, but don't you dare judge this book by its cover! There's a lot of deep-feeling, soul-searching stuff packed into the story too.
May 21, 2016 Stacey rated it really liked it
Shelves: age-9-12
The title drew me in and I thought this would be a funny book. It's more than that. There is heart. I teared up a few times on the sad moments. I could relate with Lula when a dear love one past away. Lula has so much to learn and it's good to learn who are true friends are. Even thought she didn't have to be kind to a bully, Kali, who used to be a friend of hers when they were young kids, Lula showed a kind side. She gave a gift to Kali who needed it the most. It's so easy to be mean to someone ...more
Dec 18, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
I thought this book had so many wonderful life lessons.
Feb 16, 2014 Jaime rated it really liked it
Lula Bell is a 10-year-old in 5th grade who is smart, likes tuna…and just wants to fit in.

Her Grandma Bernice (maternal) lives with her family and thinks of ways she would like to die.
Lula's mother takes major umbrage with this.
Lula's father is in a band and often on the road, but is more than happy to make his family smile.

"I think it's nice when a person dies on the same day they were born. It gives the impression that things went exactly as planned--it's just so…elegant." - page 27

I've never
Apr 05, 2013 Belldandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fourth Graders
Shelves: ebook
I read "Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom, & the Challenges of Bad Hair" solely based on the amazing title (come on, you were just thinking what an amazing title it is, weren't you?). It turns out that it's a bit younger than what I usually read, this title is perfect for pre-teens, but why not try out something new?

Lula Bell Bonner just wants to fit in with girls in her 5th grade class. There's nothing Lala Bell can do to win over Kali Keeles, the class bully and leader of all the girls in Lul
Apr 29, 2013 Shirley rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Lula Bell is a fifth grader who is just trying to be invisible at school. She stays quiet as can be while on the school bus, and tries to wear what all the other girls are wearing just so she can blend in and NOT be noticed. This is all because of Kali Keele, a former friend who now just finds every opportunity to taunt and make fun of Lula Bell. Kali is the ultimate bully--she says mean things to Lula Bell and gets the other kids to join her. For Lula Bell, the best part to everyday is coming h ...more
Megan (The Book Babe)
Other reviews at The Book Babe's Reads.

Due to copy and paste, formatting has been lost.

Lula Bell was exactly what I expected as a MG contemporary-- a sweet, younger girl who's going through some issues but is soldiering on. Lula Bell was an awesome main character perfectly innocent and nice enough to imagine her well. I think I was a bit like her, honestly. But I didn't have the grandma that she has-- Grandma Bernice was my favorite part. She was so wacky and out there, but she also had some hon
Oh, Lula Bell. I love you, but I am a bit peeved too, because I know that after reading you I am going to start reading a bunch of Juvenile fiction again, even though I had previously stopped reading this genre, because you have showed me that not all books in the juvenile genre are babyish.

You see, people, Lula Bell is undoubtedly middle grade. But it isn't a book that only middle schoolers can enjoy. There are many people who could read and be truly delighted with this book:

Emily Morris
Oct 24, 2013 Emily Morris rated it it was amazing
It has been some time since a book has managed to pull me completely back to a long-ago age, and this one celebrates all the ups and downs of those 5th grade memories. Lula Bell is a heroine of all awkwardness and uncoolness, a girl struggling with her identity as she attempts to fit into the cool crowd and deal with her beloved grandmother's death.

I began this expecting a run-of-the-mill story, but while this had all the best themes of these types of books it also had a little something extra i
Mar 04, 2013 Marissa rated it really liked it
I wasn't really in the mood for a tween book, but something about this one struck my fancy. Maybe it was knowing that the author was from Kentucky. Maybe it was the lead character being named "Lula Bell". Whatever it was, I'm really glad I gave it a shot.

Loved Lula Bell pretty much from the word go, and this made me think back to my own fifth grade/getting ready to go into middle school years. She was a great storyteller, and I was right there with her the whole time, through the laughter and s
Jun 05, 2014 Lorna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good but young

when I first got the book I thought it was going to be about tweens but it's for younger girls than that but still it was a good book
May 22, 2013 Christie rated it liked it
Shelves: library, children, cfya-4
i don't really know what to say I pick it up as a recommendation for a challenge. It was not bad but I am not amazed either. I guess it is just because of a string of okay book I want something to amaze and awe me right now.

I was a book of a girl who does not fit in, even though she has great talents and good friend add in a grandmother who keep telling her to let her little shine. We learn about how the popular girls make fun of her and how she is trying to get through the sixth grade. Not to
Jun 27, 2014 Carla rated it it was amazing
A nice, feel-good story for tweens with an important message of being true to yourself and appreciating real friends. This is one I'll keep to read for my class.
Mar 31, 2015 Olivia rated it really liked it
Not bad. I've read better, but definitely not bad.
Jun 28, 2013 Jackie rated it really liked it
Lula Bell has to deal with bullies, the challenges of fifth grade, preparing for a talent show, and putting up with geeky, nerdy Alan, but the hardest thing was coping with the death of her best friend...crazy, wacky Grandma Bernice. Bernice always told Lula Bell to let her light shine, but the sorrow and guilt she feels when Grandma leaves this earth, is almost too much to bear.

With the help of Alan, her teachers, her parents, and a little guiding light, she is able to come to terms with her lo
Jun 24, 2016 Peggy rated it it was amazing
Erin Jones
Mar 13, 2013 Erin Jones rated it really liked it
Shelves: pure-fiction
I'm not sure who this book was intended for. When I read the excerpt on Amazon, it reminded me of Chelsea Handler's books of childhood flashbacks. So I bought it. Little did I realize that the entire book was from the point of view of a 5th grader. Not that it was bad... it was quite good and funny and an interesting read.

I just definitely think this is for a middle-school aged girl. I'm not sad that I read it. It just wasn't what I was hoping for.
E. G.
Jun 07, 2013 E. G. rated it really liked it
I like this author. Cate and I read this together after loving Payne's "Something to Sing About" (which I liked better, actually). This novel addresses everyday middle-school issues like feeling awkward and trying to fit in with the "popular" crowd, but also deals with heavier themes such as bullying and death. Ultimately though, the author shows the importance of being true to yourself and not trying to pretend to be something (or someone) you're not.
Jan 07, 2014 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-phone
None of my friends have read this so I don't know why I bought it. Must have been on sale for the kindle. It's a nice book about a 5th grader trying to find her place in the world when her grandmother dies and a former friend teases her at school.
Apr 28, 2014 Ezra rated it really liked it
Lori Hannon-theaker
Oct 09, 2013 Lori Hannon-theaker rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book! Lula Bell has her issues, as all 5th grade girls do: the boy that likes her, but he has that HAIR, the mean girl on the bus, and embarrassing grown-ups. But with a little help from her Grandma Bernice, the unwavering friendship of that boy and some perseverance, Lula Bell overcomes some typical childhood obstacles and ends up shining!
Lula Bell is a quirky, smart and funny ten-year-old girl, but she has one big problem - she wants to be popular!

This book is one of the most beautifully written juvenile fictions I have ever read. It is so funny. Boy, do I love Allan and his hair! And also a bit heartbreaking. I had such a great time reading this book.
Jan 09, 2013 Marna rated it liked it
Shelves: juvfic
Lula is a 5th grader who wants, above all else to fit in. The book is the story of how, after the loss of her best friend, she begins to value her own, and other people's differences.
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C. C. Payne was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, by a family chock-full of superb storytellers: readers, writers, teachers, librarians and lawyers – yes, Payne insists that any lawyer worth his salt knows how to tell a good, persuasive story! Growing up,she says, all kinds of stories were used, to quiet, to entertain, and to teach life lessons, but all stories worked to instill a love of th ...more
More about C.C. Payne...

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“You only did it once,” Grandma said, “because somebody took the time to teach you that throwing a hissy fit wouldn’t get you what you wanted in life—everybody has to learn that at some point.” 1 likes
“You know, Lula Bell, being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid,” Daddy said. “Being brave and having courage mean going ahead even though you are afraid.” 1 likes
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