About the Book:
Cara always wished she could be one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say. A girl at the very top of the popularity tower. One of the Populazzi.
When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend, Claudia, urges her to seize the moment and change her life—with the help of the Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara can just mold herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys ever higher on the tower, she’ll reach the ultimate goal: she will become Supreme Populazzi.
What starts off as a lighthearted social experiment becomes increasingly dark and difficult. The Ladder may have seemed like a straight climb, but it ends up gnarled and twisted. By the time Cara reaches the top, her life has hit rock bottom. Only the most audacious act she can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.
The force is strong with this one.
LOL, Starwars. Before you go laughing at my lameness, there's a very lovable character in this book who is always quoting Starwars. So there's my excuse.
This book was very amusing to read. Not that it's just completely loaded with hilarity (although it is), but that having a highschool dynamic written so plainly on the page was weirdly funny to me. I know, that's a strange thing to say, but it was a strange thing to feel, so I don't know how to explain it. Populazzi totally captured how highschool works, in only a slighlty more dramatized way.
That said, I loved it! It was completely relatable. Cara's just trying to figure out how to navigate this terrible time, and starting over at a new school seems like a great place to reinvent herself. A few times, in fact. And if she's reinventing herself, why not do so in a way that makes her the school's it-girl?
Cara and her best friend Claudia devise a plan to climb the social ladder. If she slowly works her way up the list of boys according to their social standing, then eventually she'll make her way up to Populazzi status--the populest of the popular. So she starts with sweet, drama-geek Archer. And from there, she continues on, making waves with emo-rockstars and populazzi boys. On her quest to recreate herself and move higher on the ladder, she inadvertantly starts to lose herself.
I loved the characters in this book. They all had a specific personality, and while some of them did fit into cliches, it was in a mostly realistic way. They were totally believable for the story. The way Cara molds herself to fit in with the boy of the moment was funny and you winced right along with her as she bought clothes and fumbled through lines.
The thing that mostly stood out for me though were the settings. Highschool and home. Both were fully established, from the mingling cliques to the stepdad who never felt appreciated. While the school aspect was highly touched on, I think Cara's home life was really interesting. It wasn't all puppies and I love my family!, but it wasn't death and my family sucks I'm running away! either. It was a real home, with a family's problems and a kid's breaking rules and a parent's midunderstanding.
At one point in the book I realized that what actually felt like a few different books was only one. This is because Cara becomes so involved with her life with the boys that while the story as a whole is completely smooth, it definitely felt sectioned off. Not in a bad way, but you get so sucked in the different lives that it's a little jarring when you leave them. They're all very interesting though, so it really isn't that big of a problem.
As a whole, Populazzi was a truthful and sweet read, filled with embarrassing moments and cheering and giggling and even some unexepected swooning. A fun story worth checking out!