When I first began reading DEEP DOWN POPULAR, I thought the cover was a tad too juvenile and very "girl-y". I also wondered if the book would appeal, not to teens or tweens, but younger readers. Then, two things happened. First, Natalie (my 15 year old) picked up the book and dove right in. Then, I read it and went searching for the cover to post here. Lo and behold: new cover. Better cover, too.
Jessie Lou hates just about everything: sixth grade, her classmates, her older sister and mother, and especially the pesky fourth grader Quentin who insists on butting into everything. However, there is one bright spot in her life. Conrad Parker Smith is cute and friendly, and Jessie Lou has a secret crush on him. At one time, Conrad was the most popular student at school. Now he is one of the loners like Jessie Lou due to his lame leg and the cumbersome leg brace. Jessie Lou and Conrad become friends when she is assigned to help him. But will surgery to correct his defective leg change things? There is much more to this story beside the burgeoning friendship/romance. Local businesses are being pushed out of town with the advent of a new shiny mall. Beauty pageants are fixed (gasp). There is quite a bit here to mine.