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Holiday House, 2002 - Juvenile Fiction - 154 pages
2 Reviews
In this convincing, crisply written novel, Strasser tackles head-on a very real middle-school predicament--the price one can be tempted to pay for popularity. Referring to herself throughout in the second person, narrator Lauren immediately draws readers into her life as she explains that she andher best friend Tara are eating lunch in that part of the cafeteria she dubs "the realm of the socially inferior," while the popular girls sit at the "Don't-You-Wish-You-Were-Me table." Though she longs to be part of the in-crowd, Lauren lacks the confidence to even attempt to belong; she refuses to wear makeup, for example, because she fears that her classmates would "snigger and say you were trying to be an A-list girl. It's safer not to try." The author carefully tracks the girl's growing self-confidence after Celeste, an outgoing new girl who instantly becomes a member of the elite group, befriends Laurenand convinces her to run with her for co-treasurer in their class elections. Unlike Lauren, basking in the glow of her new popularity, readers will pick up on the numerous clues that the manipulative, plotting Celeste is hardly trustworthy. Strasser caps his story with a believable denouement, in which Laurenlearns a painful lesson about the value of genuine friendship and of confidence that comes from within.

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User Review  - bplteen - LibraryThing

Review by: Shakespeare CON-fidence is a hard-to-follow book, which is my opinion. It is about an unpopular girl, named Lauren, who is suddenly recognized by a new girl that is popular. The two become ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Todd Strasser was born in New York City. While still a child, Strasser and his parents moved to Roslyn Heights, New York on Long Island. Strasser attended the I.U. Willets Elementary school and then the Wheatley School for junior high and high school. Strasser went to college at New York University for a few years, before dropping out. He lived on a commune, and then in Europe, where he was a street musician. While he was in Europe, Strasser wrote songs and poems in letters to his friends. He decided to try writing. Upon his return to the United States, Strasser enrolled at Beloit College where he studied literature and writing. After graduating, Strasser worked at the Middletown Times Herald-Record newspaper in Middletown, New York, and later at Compton Advertising in New York City. In 1978, he sold his first novel, Angel Dust Blues. Strasser used the money to start the Dr. Wing Tip Shoo fortune cookie company. For the next 12 years, Todd sold more fortune cookies than books. n 1990, Strasser moved to Westchester County, N.Y., where during the next few years, he wrote various movie novelizations, including Home Alone, Free Willy, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Jumanji. In 1993 he wrote Help! I'm Trapped in My Teacher's Body and since then has written 16 more Help! I'm Trapped... books, as well as several other series. All together, he has published more than 100 books. Strasser is alos a speaker at schools and conferences when he is not busy writing Strasser has won numerous awards in the course of his career, including the 1995 New York State Library Association Award for Outstanding Children's Literature for the Help! I'm Trapped Series, several State Literature Awards, the 1996 International Reading Association Children's Choice as well as the 1996 Children's Book Council Children's Choice for Give a Boy a Gun and the 1996 American Library Association Best Book for Teens. He won the 1997 American Library Association Notable Book for Abe Lincoln for Class President, the 1988 American Bookseller Pick of the Lists, and was a 1988 Edgar Allan Poe nominee from the Mystery Writers of America.

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