Release Date: August 1, 2011
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.
Maybe it's just me, but I wasn't anything like this in high school. I wasn't popular, but I wasn't a loser. I had friends, and I got along with most everyone (I think.). I really couldn't have cared less about where I ultimately fell in the high school "popularity tower". But in Populazzi, it mattered to Cara--or it mattered to Claudia, Cara's best friend.
How many times has the "best friend" been the mastermind of really terrible plans in the literary world? A lot. So to all you "best friends" out there, I apologize--this book is no different. What began as simple social climbing turns into a full body and personality makeover for Cara. The deeper into the experiment Cara gets, the more she wants out of the entire "Ladder" plan. Claudia (the best friend) continues to push Cara to keep up the charade, even when Cara begins doing things she never planned on or wanted to. Before the "experiment" is over, Cara hates herself. And she's not the only one...
I liked this book. I didn't love it, but I did like Cara's growth throughout the book. Toward the end of the book, she did some soul searching and figured out who she was and wanted to be, which redeemed her in my eyes. I'd say this is one to get from your local library, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone younger than high school age. There are drug and sexual references that I would say are for mature readers only.
**I received this egalley from the publisher for the purpose of review.