She's the real deal. She's fugazi.

She's a self-made, came-from-nothing pop star. She grew up well-off on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

She's a loner. She's needy.

She's a freak. She's a down-home gal with Italian and Catholic roots.

She's a creative genius. She's a rip-off artist.

Whatever the real story behind Lady Gaga, she remains the most fascinating pop superstar on the planet.

Maureen Callahan attempted to document just who Lady Gaga, aka Stefani Germanotta, is and where she came from, from her days playing Norah Jones-esque music in NYU dive bars to her days atop bars and tables as a burlesque dancer to her "little monsters" going crazy over her in Japan.

"Poker Face: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga" is a juicy read, which is probably why it made the cut in Newsday's 30 must-read celebrity biographies.

Interviews with Gaga's friends and associates, from then and now, shed some light on the girl behind the disco stick. What's true and what's not, you never know with these biographies. Everyone remembers things differently. Still, you'll be intrigued at the things Callahan has unearthed for the "monsters" and the haters.

But, the 228-page book, released by Hyperion in mid-September, will leave you with just as many questions as you had before you opened it. Such is the mystery of Lady Gaga.

Top Stories

Newsday LogoCovering LI news as it happensDigital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months