Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How Not to Be Popular” as Want to Read:
How Not to Be Popular
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How Not to Be Popular

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  4,197 ratings  ·  438 reviews
Maggie Dempsey is tired of moving all over the country. Her parents are second-generation hippies who uproot her every year or so to move to a new city. When Maggie was younger, she thought it was fun and adventurous. Now that she’s a teenager, she hates it. When she moved after her freshman year, she left behind good friends, a great school, and a real feeling of belongin ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,197 ratings  ·  438 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, blog
Definitely one of my more enjoyable forays into young adult literature. Sugar Magnolia "Maggie" Dempsey is the surprisingly well-adjusted daughter of hippie parents. While loving and supportive, her restless parents uproot Maggie every few months and move to another part of the country. As a young girl, Maggie loved the adventure and diversity of her parents' nomadic lifestyle. However, Maggie is now in high school and this latest move has resulted in a break-up with her first serious boyfriend. ...more
Jan 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cara by: Ash
Sugar Magnolia, weird name right? But our main character prefers to go by Maggie. It would be an understatement to say that she moves A LOT. Her parents are the "free sprited" type and don't get tied down to one place. She is fed up with losing friends (and now boyfriend) everytime she moves, so she comes up with a brillant plan (well she thinks it's brillant). At her next school she is going to do everything possible to be the most unpopular student ever, so she'll never have to lose anybody ag ...more
Nasty Lady MJ
Aug 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People Looking for Lost Shit in Publishing
Recommended to Nasty Lady MJ by: My Sister thought it looked cute this is why she plays oboe
To see full review click here.

She’s not related to Patrick Dempsey if that’s what you’re wondering. If she was, I might’ve liked Sugar Magnolia (Maggie) better.

If you want to really know how to be unpopular all you have to dress in an inconspicuous manner and have a desire to do something other than socialize (like read YA books). Of course, you might get French Fries thrown at you in the school’s courtyard, but that’s another story for another time.

This book though tells you that the only way t
Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was incredibly funny, though it's mostly because the main character embarasses herself so often. I found myself being embarassed for her a few times myself.

Qucik Overview: Maggie(Sugar Magnolia being her given name) has been moving around with her hippie parents her whole life and she's tired of it. Having to say goodbye to friends she just made, and having to be the new girl all over again. This last move was different though because this time she had to leave a boyfriend behind. A bo
Oct 25, 2010 rated it liked it
“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you”
Christian Morganstern

Meet Sugar Magnolia (seriously that is her name, I'm a little bit jealous... how cool is it to be named after a Greatful dead song?!?!?!). Uprooted from every home she has ever known, Sugar(Maggie) is forced to move around with her hippie, free-spirited parents. After her longest stint somewhere of 6 months, she has acquired friends and a boyfriend only to find out they are moving again. She decided she is going t
Nov 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Ziegler, Jennifer. 2008. How Not To Be Popular.

Oh crap. What did I just do?

How Not To Be Popular begs the question how far would you go to not be popular. Maggie Dempsey hates her life, hates her parents. Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word. She hates the fact that just when she's getting settled down, making friends, having a love life, her parents decide it's time to move. Again. And again. And again. This time, Maggie has had it. She's definitely HAD IT. No more settling down. No more makin
Steph (Reviewer X)
May 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
I guess the reason I was so in dire need to read How NOT To Be Popular is that I, too, have moved around my fair share and I wanted to see if I could relate to the main character, Sugar Magnolia Dempsey (no, I am not kidding) (call her Maggie). I am so sick of reading sad books about moving--damn it, I have my own life's sob fest to keep me depressed if I wish to be. I wanted some humor along with the situation. And anyone who's read the back cover's Tips for NOT Being Popular (posted above) can ...more
Bunny McFoo
Feb 25, 2011 rated it did not like it

You know, unless it's explicitly stated that the book I'm reading is fantasy, I like it to have some kind of grasp on reality.

This one didn't.

I got about half way through before I gave up and read the last chapter before tossing it on the pile to take to the used bookstore. The characters were unrealistic and the plot was ridiculous and shallow and none of it seemed to get any better by the end of the book.

Maybe it's me? Maybe I was expecting too much? But the idea - a girl who has spent her
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-book
I loved this book. Maggie reminded me about how tumultuous high school can be and boy, am I happy to be through those years. Yes, her story is a bit exagerated, but at the same time high school can be so full of drama. Having had the chance to experience it vicariously through daughter numer two. Glad it's over. Loved the Austin touches and Maggie's character in general. She felt real in so many ways.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Maggie Dempsey has just moved to Austin, TX, and she is not happy about it. Her parents are hippies that have moved her around her entire life. This time is harder though. Aside from leaving behind some good friends, she also left behind a boyfriend. Maggie decides that there is no point in trying to fit in or make friends in Austin. It is just too upsetting. After all, she'll be moving again, anyway, right? Maggie decides she will do whatever it takes to avoid getting to know anyone even if mea ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
I heard of this book through a tumblr post recommending "sunny afternoon books" and the title had grabbed my attention. I read a few negative reviews and thought "Mmmh, I do not think this is going to disturb me / I won't see it that way" and started reading. Boy, was I wrong.
People complained that this book was unrealistic, that no sane girl would try purposefully NOT to be popular, because at this age, everyone craves to be liked. I can believe it, but what I couldn't condone in this book was
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The story centers on Maggie (Sugar Magnolia by birth), who is the daughter of hippies that don't stay in one place too long. Her parents are free spirits and every time she moves, she always loses friends, and sometimes boyfriends. It picks up when they are moving to Austin, Texas. Maggie has a boyfriend, but not long after they have gone, he sends her a text saying he can't do the whole long distance thing. So Maggie hatches a plan to not let herself get attached in Austin, since she knows they ...more
I anticipated giving this a four stars, but the last quarter of the book was not as strong as the first part. Cute and funny, though.
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was amazing! Her and all her little antics in not wanting to be popular just made me smile throughout. Her and Jack (the goody two-shoes) were great together and even though she messed up she made the right decision in the end and didn't become who she and others thought she was.


Later review:
If you do not know already this book is a favorite of mine so expect a glowing review. I just hope I can be able to do this book a fraction of justice with this rev
Ginger Woods
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
She did what?!?!

This review will be short.

This book was pretty epic I think in some ways. There were things I loved and things I absolutely could not stand!

I loved the whole idea of the book. It was hilarious! Trying to be unpopular and doing outrages things to achieve it. It was so different from the other high school books I've read! I had to keep reading just to find out what crazy thing she'd do next!

I liked the idea of the little romance in the book, not the Trevor part. Her pining over her
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sugar Magnolia Dempsey (Maggie) hates moving around the country with her hippie parents. They just don’t understand that she makes friends where they live and this time she got a boyfriend. A perfect boyfriend. She doesn’t want to leave but she has to, they are going to try long distance but after a few weeks, he breaks it off. Maggie is heartbroken and this time around she is determined to not make friends so she doesn’t have to go through the heartbreak the next time they move. She plan is to ...more
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Maggie Dempsey is a pro at fitting in. That’s because she never stays in one place for more than eight months. And that’s because her parents are all about “going somewhere.” They don’t see it as “leaving,” unlike Maggie, who’s had to leave behind a best friend and a boyfriend in Portland, Oregon. Maggie is tired of being hurt, so she comes up with Operation Avoid Friends: she’s going to be unpopular.

This is harder than it sounds. Maggie has to come up with ridiculous schemes in order to seem li
Jude F.
I'm currrently reading "How Not to Be Popular". This book is about a teenage girl who keeeps moving all around the country and now she has landed in Austin, TX. The big thing in this book is that, since she moves around so much, she's just going to not make any friends in Austin because she knows she's just going to move again. This book is very fast-paced because at every turn, there a friendly girl, a hot boy, and her parents doing something insane. Maggie has come to hating her parents becaus ...more
Lizzy Abhold
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
“How Not to Be Popular” was a phenomenal book. It’s the story of a girl whose parents don’t like to settle down a lot and for that they don’t stay in one place very long. This time, she’s decided to not fit in so she doesn't feel bad leaving people behind. I liked the humor that the author brought to this book, from her parent’s zany actions to the outfits she wears to try and not fit in. The ending was a rather large twist; something I didn't see coming. I liked the view this story was written ...more
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is great entertanment, and it's really funny. It always made me happy for a strange reason. It's a great book about this girl Maggie who always has to leave schools/town/etc because her parents travel a lot. So she always leaves good friends behind, and this time she also leaves a boyfriend behind. So she comes up with a plan to have no friends in the next town she goes to, so when she leaves it wont be hard for her. But then she ends up liking a couple of people....
One of my favorite
Katrina Passick Lumsden
Two or three stars, three or two? Hmm.

This book actually annoyed me more than anything because Maggie is such a snobby bitch throughout most of it....but since the point is that she changes, I guess she kinda had to be...? Right? It's just hard finding any sympathy with her because she's just slightly intolerable. And that romantic ending? Really? What a letdown.

Screw it, two stars it is. I really had higher hopes for this one. Oh well.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I felt this book was an overall good read. Maggie the protagonist of the story is tired of moving around all the time. So she vows to not make friends at her new school because she will be leaving soon anyway. I found this story heartwarming and funny, with real life teen issues being tackled such as bullying and fitting in.
Nov 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was really interesting the first girly- girl book i pick up by my self one day having no interest in the books in the library.
I give it 3.5 stars wasn`t the best book in the world but its interesting, this book is more as a girl book so boys don`t pick it up and read it, its going to kill some more brain cells of all of you trying to read it.
Feb 01, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is really funny and entertaining. I thought the girl (Maggie) was a bit mean, even in the beginning when she thinks that she can't possibly ever think of dorks as freinds. Also Maggie did not do a good job in not being popular. She could've tried to be standoffish and blend in to become invisible. That would keep her from getting freinds.
Its a fun read but not a must read.
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who can say hippo
i liked it!!! there are sooo many books about girls who will do anything to popular, but theres barely any about those who strive not to be. I think Maggie made some really bad mistakes in here but thats what makes it interesting. Sometimes its a little weird but i garentee youll love it anyway. :) i totally think everybody should read this book. Everyone would absolutly love it. :)
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Alex
This was a sweet young adult book, with Sugar Magnolia Dempsey as main character, daughter of hippie parents which don't get tied down to one place. The thoughts going inside Magnolia a.k.a Maggie's mind are hilarious!

"How Not to Be Popular" was funny and enjoyable. Nothing much, but the light reading that I needed.
Mar 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
really good, and super funny! I wish I had the guts to enact a social experiment like that!
Feb 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was nice but I didn't like the ending.
May 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen
Super cute and too, too funny!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Possibilities of Sainthood
  • Do-Over
  • The Sweetheart of Prosper County
  • Castration Celebration
  • Antsy Does Time (Antsy Bonano, #2)
  • Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
  • Geek Magnet
  • Cubanita
  • Violet on the Runway (Violet, #1)
  • Prom Kings and Drama Queens
  • The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading
  • Brothers, Boyfriends & Other Criminal Minds
  • Fancy White Trash
  • Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots
  • OyMG
  • The Queen of Second Place (The Queen Companion Novels Book 1)
  • Beauty and the Bully
  • The Great Wide Sea
See similar books…
“Tip: Unpopularity is a state of mind. Feel nerdy. Think uncool thoughts. It also helps to use the word “vaginal” a lot.” 18 likes
“To be unpopular, you must look the part. Remember four words: plastic flowered swim cap.” 16 likes
More quotes…