September 6, 2012

Guest Post From Trudi Trueit Author of Stealing Popular +Giveaway

Back in March when I held my March of Middle Grade celebration I was able to connect with a great middle grade author - Trudi Trueit.  So when Trudi told about her new book, Stealing Popular, coming out for Simon and Schuster's Aladdin MIX line for tween girls I definitely wanted to help her promote it!

She's here today to talk about how her time in middle school affected her writing and the story of Stealing Popular! Plus she's offered up a copy of the book to one lucky reader!

 Tired of the popular kids at her middle school getting all the breaks, twelve-year old Coco Sherwood is on a mission to steal from the fabulous and give to the freaks. Suddenly, girls who rarely get noticed are making cheer squad and morphing into beauty queens. But when Coco takes on Dijon Randle, the most popular girl at school, her quest to fulfill the dreams of others just might turn into the biggest nightmare of her life! Can Coco get away with Stealing Popular, or will the high and mighty win again?

Welcome back to The O.W.L. Trudi!!

Hello, Jill and everyone at The O.W.L.!

I’m delighted to join you for the release of my new tween novel, Stealing Popular (Simon and Schuster/Aladdin MIX). It’s exciting for me because this is my first book for tweens since I finished the Julep O’Toole (Dutton) series in 2007. I’ve spent the last four years working on the elementary school series, Secrets of a Lab Rat (Aladdin), which was geared more toward boys and reluctant readers. I know the publishing industry views ‘middle grade’ as anything between 9 and 13, but that is such a huge range for a writer. What engages readers in the fourth grade is certainly much different from what captures them in the eighth grade. As a writer, I actually like this wide area, because it gives me endless possibilities. In Secrets of a Lab Rat I was writing from the perspective of a fourth-grade boy, Scab McNally. Scab is always getting into mischief at school and coming up with crazy inventions like sister repellent spray and parachutes for squirrels. I had a great time writing humor but once I finished the series, I was ready to switch gears and do something for upper middle school girls—talk about a totally different audience!

Stealing Popular came about because I thought it would be intriguing to de-construct the social order of middle school. It fascinates me how this is such a constant. The world can make great strides in science, technology, and communications, but anyone who has ever been twelve knows the horror of eating lunch alone. When I was in middle school, I was a nerdy kid. Translation: good student, weird hair, big glasses, bigger saxophone. When you’re in that stage of your life, when you’re trying to figure out where you fit in, you don’t really stop to question things. You’re too busy treading water and just trying to survive. But it got the writer in me wondering, ‘what if you could turn the tables?’ What if the unpopular girl with the wild hair and speech impediment got to be the prom queen? Is it even possible? It was a delicious premise to explore. My main character, Coco Sherwood, is fairly new at school so she’s got nothing to lose by taking from the ‘Somebodies,’ as she calls them, and giving to the ‘Nobodies.’ Here’s an excerpt from the book:

“It didn’t take me long to figure out how things worked at Big Mess: Any girl named after a gourmet food, fancy water, or a city was a Somebody. Top athletes and elected student leaders were Sortabodies. Everybody else was a Nobody. Somebodies could associate with Sortabodies, but only in public and for no longer than three minutes. Sortabodies could talk to Nobodies, but could not eat, study, or become friends with them for fear of being seen by a Somebody, and being demoted to a Nobody. Nobodies were not allowed within a five foot radius of a Somebody, unless verbally invited into the inner circle by the aforementioned Somebody. In the case of Dijon, who was both a gourmet food and a city, verbal permission and a gift card were required.”

What Coco misses in her observations of middle school life is that friendship is the great equalizer. The ‘Nobodies’ don’t necessarily want to rule the world, they just want to know that they matter to someone. I wasn’t popular in middle school, but I had a core group of friends that made me laugh and got me through the tough times. Many of those friends are still in my circle of friends today. I guess tortoise-shell glasses, pimples, and braces bond your for life. At the time, you don’t realize how precious that is, because you feel so out of place. But it is everything. One friend is everything. In the book, I also wanted to deal with some of the more subtle types of bullying that tend to occur in middle school; the little digs and insults that chip away at your self-image. This is what I went through and I can tell you that it haunts you for a long time. For me, friendship was my force field against some pretty hurtful remarks. Everyone needs to be loved and to know they are loved. It is as true for me today as it was when I was in middle school. So I guess that’s what I want readers to know. There is hope beyond the heartache. I’m a living example – from nerdy girl to middle grade author. If I can make it, so can you.

Doesn't this book sound great for tween girls?!!? And I love hearing how the story came about.  That always fascinates me.

You can visit Trudi’s website at

Check out the cool trailer for Stealing Popular!

Now for the giveaway.
Up for grabs is a copy of Stealing Popular
To enter fill out the Rafflecopter.
Must be at least 13
Must be a US resident
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds like such a FUN twist on "Robin Hood"! Love it! :)

  2. Wonderful premise to which so many girls can relate. I can't wait to read it.

  3. I remember all to well the challenges of middle school. I have no desire to go back there. Most of my friends were of the literary variety.

  4. This sounds like a great recommendation for my students who love the Dork Diaries . ..

  5. Congrats Trudi on the release of Stealing Popular. I think it's wonderful you were able to draw from those harsh memories and create a positive outcome with Stealing Popular. This would be perfect for one of my granddaughters.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com