Author: Elise Allen
Release Date: August 2011
Published By: Harcourt
Goodreads Rating: 3.83
Review: When Cara moves to a new school, she finally has the chance to use the Ladder and become popular. By changing herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys on increasingly higher rungs, she can move up groups and reach her ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi. At first it all seems like fun and games, but as time goes on, it becomes clear that nothing is going the way it should. Soon she's lost everything, and there's only one thing she can do to fix it - but will she?
I accepted this book for review just because I liked the cover. It brought to mind a light-hearted, fun story even if I did have some concerns about predictability and clichés, but not too far in, I realized POPULAZZI is not a fluffy read. Although this didn't exactly deal with the darkest of teen issues, it still touched on important, relevant themes and had a real character struggling with very real problems.
Speaking of characters, Cara wasn't always my favorite person to read about. She did some horrible things to people and had completely messed-up priorities, and I couldn't always understand her motivation for certain things. This doesn't mean she was entirely bad, because there were definitely parts where I liked and related to her. By the end of the book in particular, I thought she had really grown as a character, but I did wish she was a bit more mature and nicer overall earlier on.
Though there were great resolutions involving the conflicts with her friends, I was rather confused by the conflicts with her parents. When I first read about Karl, I thought she had a secondary issue with emotionally abusive step-parents, but I still can't tell. Some of the things he did and the ways he acted were strange, over-the-top, and even a bit cruel, but this was a problem the author barely touched on. I had hoped that the ending would deal with this, but unfortunately, it didn't.
This wasn't the book I was expecting, but that doesn't mean it was bad - in fact, I enjoyed reading it. I did wish that Cara was a more stable character who didn't always act so cruelly, and the issue with her stepfather continues to bemuse me. However, the last few pages were a perfect ending with a feel-good but realistic resolution with her friends and crush, and that smoothed over the conflicted feelings I had for POPULAZZI. One thing this book did avoid was being predictable, so if you're looking for an original and entertaining book about popularity, this is for you.
I received a free copy of this book for review. This is no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.