Cover image for Con-fidence
Title:
Con-fidence
Author:
Strasser, Todd.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, 2002.
Physical Description:
154 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
Lauren would love to be part of the popular crowd at school, and when an attractive new girl seems to befriend her and offers a chance at popularity, Lauren does not recognize how she is being manipulated.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
630 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.1 4.0 64500.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.7 8 Quiz: 33856 Guided reading level: R.
ISBN:
9780823413942
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

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.


Author Notes

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.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Lauren wants to be a member of the DYWYWM (Don't-You-Wish-You-Were-Me) group, presided over by Krista, and she thinks she has found a way in when she's befriended by Celeste, a new girl who has been accepted by the clique. Lauren is so taken with her new friend, who exudes even more confidence than Krista, that she is slow to realize that Celeste is using her: Lauren's CDs disappear after Celeste visits; she is never repaid for Celeste's "forgotten" cab fare or lunch money; and she takes the rap when Celeste cons her into embezzling money from the school. Too late Lauren realizes that Celeste's main goal is taking over Krista's role in the group. Told in second person, this story of peer pressure, the craving for acceptance, and the darker side of cliques is more effectively explored in Adele Griffin's Amandine (2001), about high-school students. But by making Celeste a devious middle-school con artist, Strasser adds a nice twist to a familiar plot that always seems to find an audience. --Ed Sullivan


Publisher's Weekly Review

In this convincing, crisply written novel, Strasser (Give a Boy a Gun) 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 and her 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 Lauren and 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 Lauren learns a painful lesson about the value of genuine friendship and of confidence that comes from within. Ages 10-up. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Popular Krista reigns over the cafeteria as the top DYWYWM ("Don't-You-Wish-You-Were-Me") girl and Lauren, her former best friend, sits with fellow reject, Tara. When new girl Celeste Van Werner comes on the scene, everything changes. Her confidence is unmatched even by Krista, and when she claims Lauren as her friend, the shy, tentative girl is ecstatic. The two of them work together (actually Lauren does all the work) and get elected as class co-treasurers. It takes Lauren a while to realize that Celeste is using her for a bigger goal-to take over Krista's position, which Lauren unwittingly helps her accomplish. Told in second person, this novel highlights the darker side of cliques, peer pressure and acceptance, and friendship. However, it is not entirely convincing that Lauren's lack of self-confidence would explain her blindness to Celeste's evil side. Any reader will know long before Lauren that Celeste is up to no good, causing the revelation at the end-that Celeste has stolen the class money and successfully blamed Lauren for the crime-to fall flat. The theme of friendship is fully explored, among others, but when Lauren disregards the faithful Tara simply because Celeste is one of the "chosen," she comes across as a less than worthy heroine.-Linda Bindner, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.