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Populazzi Hardcover – August 1, 2011
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"Populazzi is a fresh, fun peek behind the popularity curtain. Elise Allen is a welcome new voice in YA fiction." —Eileen Cook, Author of The Education of Hailey Kendrick
"Populazzi is a smart, fun, and energetic ride through the twisting hallways of high school popularity." —Deb Caletti, author of The Secret Life of Prince Charming
"Hilarious, physiologically chewy, downright Machiavellian, and heartfelt in all the most satisfying ways." —Matthew Quick, author of Sorta Like a Rock Star
"In her first solo novel, Allen (coauthor of Elixir with Hilary Duff) offers a smart mix of hilarity and tragedy in this Macbeth—meets—Mean Girls tale."—Publishers Weekly
"The story unflinchingly depicts the dark and dangerous side of high-school popularity, making it a captivating read."—Kirkus Reviews
"Satisfying chick-lit...This brilliantly titled novel delivers exactly the right escapist fluff while remaining clean and innocent enough to appear on both junior high and high school shelves...and it should." —School Library Journal
About the Author
Elise Allen has written for children's television and film and co-authored Hilary Duff's novel for teens, Elixir.
Top customer reviews
"Populazzi" takes the reader on a journey with Cara, a high school junior, as she attempts to gain acceptance into her school's highest social group, the Populazzi. Having moved to a new school, Cara is seen by Claudia, her best friend since kindergarten, as having an opportunity to climb the "Ladder" and to increase her social standing. In her zeal to help her friend succeed, Claudia creates a notebook which contains the steps she sees as necessary to move from one rung of the "Ladder" to the next higher level. Cara immediately puts this plan, which is worthy of a five-star general, into action. As she succeeds in moving from one social group to the next, Cara must also come to terms with the sacrifices and moral decisions she makes. In the end, Cara discovers the price she has paid to climb the "Ladder." She recognizes that those who are truly important to her and who really care about her may have been individuals she passed as she moved from rung to rung.
Although set in a private school and having characters from wealthier families, the issues addressed in "Populazzi" are those many young people commonly confront. Elise Allen has done an outstanding job of capturing the trials and tribulations of today's teens' daily lives. In doing so, she has also given readers, both parents and children, numerous avenues for discussion.
I highly recommend that parents read this book and then use it, in a family setting, to discuss topics such as self esteem, individuality, the price of being "popular" and the value of true friendships. Parents of `tweens and more conservative individuals should be aware that the "f-bomb" is used in the characters' conversations, drug use and drinking occupy some scenes, characters "hook up," one character presents himself as straight in order to remain a member of the Poppulazi, and one character deals with an eating disorder. Nevertheless, these issues are an integral part of the story; they are neither idealized nor judged. Further, these are issues our children may be confronted by during their middle school and high school years. "Populazzi" seems to be an excellent starting point for discussion and for sharing those values which you personally view as being important.
I have rated this book as a 5-star read, both for its writing and its value as a discussion tool. It is a book that will hold the interest of almost any reader. Because it is a novel which engages the reader in the charcters' lives and challenges, it is hard to put down. It is a novel to be read and shared.
Everything changes for Cara with two simple words from Claudia, her best friend: the Ladder. The Ladder is a way for Cara to get everything she has wanted from high school: confidence, self-assurance, and most importantly, the much-coveted top spot on the Populazzi tier of the Ladder. At first, Cara laughs of her friend's suggestion, saying that they have always wished everything would change since they were little kids. However, soon enough, Claudia has rooked Cara into the plan, and before she knows it, Cara is quickly climbing the rings, going higher and higher. What happens, though, when the Populazzi level isn't as nifty as it seems? What happens when you start to lose parts of yourself, the best parts, as well as a chance with the boy of your dreams because of it? Cara has a lot of thinking to do, but it's sure to one fabulously extraordinary trek through the many tiers of the crazy social ladder of high school...
If there's one thing that always make a book for me, it's a witty and fierce yet sometimes flawed main character, and Cara was just that. Cara is the type of girl that everyone has been at least once in life: someone who desperately wants to find their place in the world. I know I have been, and that's why I loved her journey through Populazzi. What I loved most about her character, however, was the fact that she was one hundred percent realistic. She gives people benefits of doubt. She loves and helps people, even when they don't necessarily desevere it. She's a good friend and sometimes she isn't. She screws up sometimes and makes mistakes, but she doesn't let them get in the way. Instead, she learns from them. Sometimes it takes her a while and some more mistakes for her to do so, but she does eventually and that makes all the difference.
With the addition of her character, there were many more fabulous ones as well. One was Claudia, Cara's best friend. Claudia was charming as well, and her friendship with Cara was endearing and fun to read about as well. There also was Archer, Cara's possible love interest and friend. Oh, was he hilarious, especially when he and Cara bantered back and forth. I was constantly laughing out loud when Cara and Archer made their way together on the pages, and if I wasn't, I was most likely going "Aww!" or something of that effect. The whole Populazzi crew was something as well- something evil but a great addition as well.
Moving on, I adored the plot in this one. Elise did such a great job of portraying the many different social scenes of high school and with lots of truth and comedy nonetheless. I also enjoyed how she made Cara's trek through the ladder something that was intricate- something that took some time as well as plenty of funny events to develop!
Elise's writing was also great. I don't normally full out laugh-out-loud during books. Sure, I chuckle lightly at times. However, with this one, I couldn't stop laughing, especially when a certain song was involved (*hint, hint*).
Hilarious, heartwarming, and just out right excellence, Populazzi is a novel that calls to be read, and Elise Allen is an author to watch, because if this book was any indication, her future books are sure to be magnificent!