Monday, September 26, 2011

Review: Populazzi by Elise Allen

Title: Populazzi
Author: Elise Allen
Release Date: August 1, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Source: Publisher
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.
Review: I hadn’t heard a lot about this book when I was first asked to review it. I liked the synopsis of it so I went for it. When I began reading it, I wasn’t sure of what I was going to get. Hilary Duff called it “Fresh, funny, and sometimes wrenching, Populazzi nails what it’s like to try to find yourself while navigating the crazy world of high school.” I thought that was high praise for this book at that time but now, I know it’s well deserved. Populazzi was fresh and funny and sometimes wrenching. It was real.

I liked Cara a lot…most of the time anyways. Sometimes, I was frustrated with her actions and the decisions she made. But she and her best friend Claudia are funny and awkward and ready for something new and exciting. It’s something I saw in myself, really, as a high school student who is always in need of something new and exciting. Cara was a great character and someone I connected with. She thought she knew things and people but they came out and surprised her. She made mistakes but she saw the wrong and tried to make it right.

Two problems I had with this book: First, Claudia and her ridiculous Ladder, I felt, were the reason Cara got into so much trouble. Claudia kept on insisting Cara was made to get to the top of the Ladder and it bugged me so much. I never thought I would happen but I hated Claudia a little less when she realized her mistake. Second, Karl, Cara’s step dad. He, in my opinion, went over the top sometimes. He made small things into such huge problems that I had no idea what was wrong with him! And his obsession with Cara’s grades! Okay, parents should be concerned, it’s only natural, but Karl went over the top.

The plot was really great and though I felt it was slow at times, I sped through this book. All the things that happened in this book were things that I’d heard of or seen happen in real life. I’m still not sure how Elise Allen got all these things correct. The romance in this book was awesome. It didn’t develop instantly but over a long period of time. Cara was able to grow as a character and see right from wrong (but she made mistakes too, along the way, which was okay. It’s life people; it’s not perfect.)Overall, I liked this book a lot. It was funny and sad and sometimes I got angry. Sometimes I hated some of the characters for what they did and didn’t do. I can’t wait for more from Ms. Allen!

Overall: 4/5
Cover Comments: 3/5—I’m not the biggest fan of this cover. I’m tired of all the half faces of girls on book covers. BUT I do like the necklace that spells out the title and the fact that this model (all that we can see of her anyways) represents Cara really well!

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree on the cover. I want more originality these days. I've overlooked this one a lot, but it sounds fun and interesting. Great review! :)