Author: Elise Allen
Release date: August 1, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Cara has never been one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and always ready with the perfect thing to say. A girl at the very top of the popularity tower. One of the Populazzi.
Now, junior year could change everything. Cara’s moving to a new school, and her best friend urges her to seize the moment—with the help of the Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms into the perfect girlfriend for guys ever-higher on the tower, she’ll reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi.
The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment, a straight climb up, but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted. And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.
Populazzi was not at all what I expected. I hate to say it but I kind of thought it would be just more of the same YA where the loser girl wants to be popular so she reinvents herself stuff but it was so much more than that. It was sweet, funny, heartbreaking, and awesome!
First, the characters were fabulous. Sure there were times when I thought Cara and her best friend, Claudia, were pretty shallow but I still enjoyed reading about them. They had a great friendship and it was good to see a relationship that can withstand many trials, which they do throughout the book. I really loved Archer though. He was so cute in a geeky way. He is my kind of guy and I only wish he was in the book more. The three characters that I absolutely hated though were Cara’s mom, dad, and stepdad. I loathed them! I don’t think I have ever hated characters as much as I hated these three. They were just plain mean! I don’t know what I would do if I had parents like them.
The plot was a little typical but not as bad as I thought it would be. Claudia creates a popularity ladder and she wants Cara to climb it by dating a guy on each level and then dumping him when a boy higher up on the ladder shows interest in her. The reason I didn’t mind the plot was that Elise Allen spiced it up with a lot humor. Warning though: the humor is not for younger teens. In fact, a lot of this book is not for younger teens.
Overall, older teens, if you are interested by the summary, I urge you to check this one out. It is full of biting humor, crazy characters, and some nail biting tension at the end. I really did not know what was going to happen. In my opinion, Elise Allen is an author to look out for.
First line: “Don’t you see, Cara? This will be the year everything changes.”