Friday, 12 August 2011

Book Review - Populazzi by Elise Allen

Populazzi by Elise Allen
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: 1st August 2011
Genre: Young Adult

Copy from Netgalley

Summary (Amazon):

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 light hearted 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.

I’ve tried to write this review twice now and each time I go on a big rant about Cara’s parents. It’s hard not to because growing up I’ve been on the tail-end of some extreme reactions of my dad like Cara put up with from her stepdad. At first I sat there thinking, ‘who does that? Who behaves like that?’ when I realised that some parents really are that controlling in real life. Not all of them support and forgive in the manner they should, and I really do applaud Elise Allen for writing that subplot into the book.

Anyway, I’ll keep it short and sweet on this one, or I’ll risk ranting again. The writing was excellent in this book. Sometimes over-described, but the heart of the matter was excellently laid out. My issue though was that Cara was a weak character for me, and that might just be the point. She allows everyone to tell her what she should and shouldn’t be doing, without really thinking about it. Especially when it comes to her best friend’s, Claudia, influence.

Nothing dragged in the story and everything moved at a good pace. I could picture everything happening in my head clearly, including seeing the outcome of some of Cara’s actions before I read it. I didn’t like anyone in the book except for Archer. I got him. The rest I just couldn’t relate to, not even Cara and the relationship she has with her parents.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves Mean Girls and can keep reading even when they can see the car crash coming.

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