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Deep Down Popular

By Phoebe Stone

For anyone who's ever loved the cutest boy in school

6th-grade soccer star Conrad Parker Smith, the most popular boy in his small town, a true Southern heartbreaker. Jessie Lou Ferguson is the kind of girl who sits alone at lunch every day, a sorry Southern tomboy. Conrad doesn't think about Jessie Lou, but Jessie Lou thinks about Conrad - every minute of every day.

Then Conrad hurts his leg, and Jessie Lou is assigned to help him home after school. Conrad can't quite keep up with his old friends, so he and Jessie Lou start hanging out more and more. But will someone as deep down popular as Conrad ever be true friends with a prickly pear like Jessie Lou - or is she heading for some serious heartbreak?

Deep Down Popular is a book as funny and achingly delicious as first love itself.

Reviews and Awards

A Summer 2008 Book Sense Children's Pick
Booklist Top Ten Youth Romances

⋆"Sixth-grader Jesse Lou is consumed by thoughts of popular Conrad Smith, but in the small Virginia town where they live, Conrad is popular, while tomboy Jesse Lou has only “maybe-when-I-feel-like-it” friends. At the beginning of the school year, Conrad starts wearing a leg brace, which translates into loss of his considerable popularity and gives Jesse Lou an opening. Soon she, Conrad, and quirky fourth-grader Quentin Duster become a triumverate involved in an outlandish plot to save Bailey Hardware from competition from a “big box” store. Meanwhile, refreshingly honest Jesse Lou hopes that Conrad keeps limping. This is an ode to love in many forms. Jessie Lou has loved Conrad since second grade, and she learns someone has been in love with her, as well. There is also a sweet relationship between Jessie Lou and her grandfather, who knows how to turn a Southern phrase, and between Granddaddy and his daughter, Jessie Lou’s mama. Jessie Lou tells her tale with the strong, rough-edged purity of a young poet, which she is; equally strong are the story’s underpinnings, longing and laughter, and a willingness to believe in something despite the facts, which tangibly manisfests itself in a field of flowers that were never supposed to bloom." - Booklist, starred review

"Sweet and winning." - Kirkus Reviews 

Purchase Options
Indiebound • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Spring 2008
Middle Grade Novel
ISBN: 0-439-80245-8
Price: $16.99 / $20.99 Can
Trim Size: 5 1/2" x 7 1/2"
Page Count: 288
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes

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