Summary: Populazzi by Elise Allen looks at one of the essential questions of teen-dom: If you could start fresh and become someone else – someone popular – would you? The result is a novel that veers from funny to sad and is occasionally cringe-inducing. As a reader who was able to empathize with Cara, the main character, I often found her choices and the situations she created for herself to be painful to read – just like the mistakes of a real teen.
Cara has never been popular – she and her best friend, Claudia, have always rested comfortably near the bottom of the popularity scale. But now, at the beginning of her junior year of high school, Cara’s family moves. Faced with starting at a new school where no one knows her, she follows Claudia’s advice and tries to change her standing. Claudia has created an approach she calls “The Ladder,” and, in order to become popular, Cara must begin the climb up its slippery rungs. Each rung is a relationship and Cara must repeatedly reinvent herself to become the perfect girlfriend for the guy on the next rung up in order to achieve the ultimate goal – become the Supreme Populazzi , the most popular girl in school.
As anyone can tell you, you don’t climb to the top without stepping on a few people on the way. Will Cara’s quest to become the best (liked) cause her to lose all her (true) friends, the trust of her parents, and her shot at her first choice college? Who knew being popular could make you so miserable?
14 and up
Areas of concern (content):
Foul Language: mild
Nudity/Adult Content: moderate