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3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  806 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews

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 Ca

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 1st 2011 by Harcourt Children's Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jan 12, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
If you have read the blurb for Populazzi I think you will agree with me when I say that this is nothing new and that we’ve heard stories like that a thousand times before.

When I started reading I was immediately reminded of the movie
Mean Girls and now, after having finished the book, I have to say that this comparison is pretty accurate.

When 16-year-old Cara moves with her family to a new town and therefore has to attend a new High School her best friend Claudia sees this as THE chance for Cara
Jan 05, 2011 Danny rated it really liked it
This was so much fun! It was the perfect story from a girl that was always invisible, who hated High School and the social rules that makes some people the super popular ones while the other ones are the outcast nobody cares to notice.

When Cara moves to a new school, she and her friend Claudia plan to chance the invisibility for Cara and make her popular. This is their chance to start new, to finally be someone!
First, find a boyfriend who is down but not at the bottom of the High School hierar
Jan 05, 2011 ~Tina~ rated it really liked it
You can do this Cara," she said, leaning in close. " I know you can. And you won't be doing it just for yourself; you'll be doing it for me, too. For everyone who have ever felt like a misfit, everyone who was ever picked on, or laughed at, or treated like they weren't good enough. You can prove we're no different than the Supreme Populazzi by becoming one of them. And you can do it with the Ladder.

Populazzi is a amusing and entertaining read about Cara Leonard, who ever since has the "incident"
Jul 12, 2011 Meredith rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
So, I have this problem with my TBR pile. Basically, it's so big, it could eat me. Usually it's this big pile on the floor of my bedroom or on my desk. One day, I was looking for a new book to read and picked up the first one I saw sitting on the top of my TBR pile. Populazzi. It looked all right, and I thought I might as well try it. So I did, and I loved it!

When Cara moves to a new school, she jumps (ok maybe, she gets a little push from her BFF) at the chance to start over. To get a fresh sta
Cara Leonard doesn't want to be invisible at her new school. She doesn't even want to simply fit in. Cara wants to shine, to sit at the top of the social heap. Cara wants to be Supreme Populazzi, and she's determined to do whatever it takes to make her way to the top. But popularity isn't always what it seems, and Cara must decide if she's willing to hurt those who help her climb the social Ladder.

So...I'm going to be "dating" myself here, but my one of my very favorite movies ever is Can't Buy
Kate McMurry
Jan 16, 2011 Kate McMurry rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: older teens and adults
Recommended to Kate by: found it on Net Galley
Humorous and poignant, young adult chick lit

Sixteen-year-old Cara Leonard and her best friend, Claudia, have always longed to be part of the most popular clique in high school, the Populazzi, the polished, charismatic, gorgeous teenagers at the top of what Claudia calls the “Popularity Tower.” But the Populazzi are as out of reach to Cara and Claudia as the stars since they became consigned to the lower reaches of the Tower forever from the day that Cara involuntarily wet her pants in kindergart
Sep 14, 2011 Krystle rated it it was ok
Wow, jaysus. If my high school life was even half as dramatic as this girl’s one was I think I’d be raving psychopath. Because that’s what this book is – drama, and more drama, and then even more drama. It’s got more drama than a Korean drama!

This book is heinously long. Do we really need four hundred pages of this tripe? Don’t think so. Yeah, anyway, on to the review. Every stereotype, cliché, and overblown tropes about high school and their respective cliques and the hierarchy distinction betw
Dec 09, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it
What a fun, funny book that touches on the universal and relatable theme of acceptance and fitting in! Yes, there are a lot of books out there similar to this one. Yes, Populazzi is a lot like Mean Girls. But it's also hilarious and poignant and one of my favorite contemporary reads to-date.

Elise Allen is the often-overlooked writer that helped Hilary Duff with Elixir, and she's also the author of several children's books. I was really surprised at how much I loved her first solo YA project. Fro
Aug 05, 2011 Kristi rated it liked it
This was such a fun story to read. Elise does an excellent job depicting a realistic and genuine teen voice. Cara was a one of a kind character, and I simply enjoyed experiencing her story with her.

It's easy to get caught up in this story. I know, personally, that I remember all to well craving that feeling of acceptance from my peers and classmates. I didn't necessarily want to be the Supreme Populazzi, although I'd be lying if I didn't day-dream about being the most popular girl in school, bu
Alex Bennett
Elise Allen won me over with her novel Elixir, which she co-wrote, and I was so eager to read more of her work after reading that book. So when I found out about Populazzi, I was more than excited. Though it is different than what I am used to reading, Populazzi confirmed my love for Elise Allen’s writing, and made me more eager to read more of her work than ever.

The story of Populazzi may seem like chick-lit, and it kind of is. I mean, it is about the new girl in school doing whatever it takes
Jul 20, 2011 Bookworm1858 rated it really liked it
Populazzi by Elise Allen
Harcourt Children's Books, 2011
390 pages
YA; Contemporary
4/5 stars

Source: Received a free e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'll admit that I didn't have the highest hopes for this book given that I had zero interest in being popular in high school (do popular kids get to sit and read at lunch? No; they have to socialize. Do popular kids get to stay at home and laugh hysterically with their family and read on the weekends? No; they have to go shopping at
Sep 19, 2012 Justin rated it liked it

I'm really on the fence about how I feel in regard to Populazzi. It's not a bad book, but it's not one I can say I thoroughly enjoyed either. High School can be an extremely tough place, and I think Elise did a good job capturing that in her book. You will run into some really tough issues in this book, such as eating disorders for example. I really disliked that part of the book, I don't mind it in books and I do think it is something that should be talked about but I just didn't care for how t
Mar 26, 2011 ephrielle rated it liked it
The best thing this book has going for it is the message that you will be happiest where you naturally fit in. Those upper levels are not what they seem to be. I must admit that with the introduction of Archer the story really starts to get interesting. My favorite part is really the horror movie fiasco. How awesome is that? So anyway there were times that this book dragged and you really had to wonder what Cara is thinking. What made this such a great idea? The mixed signals in this book are qu ...more
Jim From YAYeahYeah
Jan 06, 2011 Jim From YAYeahYeah rated it really liked it
Note - I read this book via NetGalley. Thanks to the publishers Harcourt children's Books for providing it to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Cara Leonard has always wanted to be one of the in crowd. One of the Populazzi. But when people remember you wetting your pants on the first day of kindergarten, it's hard to reinvent yourself. At least until you move across the city of Philadelphia. With a clean slate, and help from her oldest friend Claudia, Cara sets out to climb to the top
Jessica Lawlor
Apr 01, 2011 Jessica Lawlor rated it really liked it
Cara has always dreamed of being popular. When her family moves to a new town, Cara jumps at the chance to reinvent herself and have the high school social life she’s always dreamed of. Cara’s best friend Claudia jumps into action with a plan to help Cara move up “The Ladder” to become part of the extreme populazzi at her new school.

The plan involves starting near the bottom of the social ladder and dating her way up. Claudia encourages Cara to find a guy to date, meet anyone she can in his soci
Mar 05, 2011 cecilia rated it really liked it
Shelves: yellow-covers
I don't know what it is, but I seriously love to see the many ways high school cliques can be described - and let me tell you, some of the nicknames are really clever! Populazzi was no different, but this nice thing is that Elise Allen kept it pretty simple with 4 types: Happy Hopeless, Cubby Crew, DangerZone, and Populazzi (with a Supreme Populazzi in charge).

Cara is the typical new girl in a new school who can basically re-invent herself and work her way up to Populazzi glory. She's not so gun
Jul 25, 2011 Clementine rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, ya, 2010
Cara Leonard has never been one of the girls who embodies self-confidence and poise. Those girls reign supreme over their schools. Those girls–the Populazzi–are the ones whom other girls look to for all things. When her parents announce a move to a new school, Cara’s best friend Claudia urges her to start over and climb her way up the social stratosphere with the help of the Ladder. The Ladder uses relationships as its rungs, and if Cara does everything right, Claudia thinks she can reach the to ...more
Dec 24, 2011 Totallydazzled rated it it was ok
To me Populazzi felt like a Disney movie with it's cliche plots of love, friendship and drama. I had very different expectations of the book. I did like some of the funny conversations between the characters, but overall it was like watching another version of Mean Girls.

I really liked how Cara was in the first couple of chapters, but she changed to much and to many times for my liking. My fave character was definitely Archer, who's the sweet, funny and down to earth guy we all love to love.

Mar 12, 2011 Stacey rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
Definitely a little more Mean Girls than the movie let on, "Populazzi" is engrossing enough to keep you reading well past the point where the pettiness and predictability would have made you normally stop. A few things made this book rate a little lower for me:

* 'Populazzi' is not going to happen. Stop trying to make it happen! (The word, presumably a mash-up of "popular" and "paparazzi" is just awkward and used on nearly every single page.)

* There are several points in the book, mostly dealing
When I started reading Populazzi, I didn't expect it to be so entertaining, nor so addictive. In fact it was such a surprise that I couldn't literally stop reading until the very end.

One of the best thing about Populazzi is that the main character, Cara, far from being perfect, was shown for who she really was, with all her flaws as well as her qualities, and not as a poor victim of the high-school popularity tower.

Cara's story was very fun to follow, and the more serious parts were as enjoyable
MacKenzie Daub
Mar 11, 2016 MacKenzie Daub rated it really liked it
I read Populazzi by Elise Allen and the genre is fiction. The book is about a girl named Cara Leonard who moves from her old school, Pennsbrook High School, to Chrysella High having to leave her best and only friend Claudia behind. From having one incident in kindergarten, Cara and Claudia have always been the outsiders in school. Now that Cara is going to a new school Claudia convinces Cara to try to become someone they have always wanted to be, one of the Populazzi. The Populazzi are the ruler ...more
Jaime Fields
Oct 03, 2015 Jaime Fields rated it liked it
This was an interesting book, although rather unoriginal. It has a similar plot to many teen books and movies out there, and let me just say, I totally called the ending! It was a fun read, but some of the plot elements were a little, okay a lot, dark. Some of the bits of the plot that caught me off guard (spoiler alert) were a) at one point she dates a drug addict whose mom is in a coma and whose dad leaves him and his little brother alone to go have sex with his mistress, and she tries drugs h ...more
Santa Claus
Jan 03, 2015 Santa Claus rated it it was amazing
Never read this book as a 10-year-old. I made that mistake. Never go into the teens section at the library when you are still supposed to be in the children's section. Phrases from this book still echo vividly in my head at night when I'm trying to sleep. I am now in my mid thirties. Last night, I decided to re-read it. It's QUITE a good book, lots of drama, gossip, romance, typical teen stuff. I enjoyed it tremendously, and will most likely re-read it tomorrow as it was quite thrilling. I espec ...more
Mar 18, 2014 Jesi rated it really liked it
All schools have a social hierarchy of popularity. Cara and Claudia at the bottom of theirs! When Cara’s family moves to a new school district between sophomore and junior year, Claudia sees it as an opportunity for Cara to use her anonymity to reinvent herself and climb The Ladder. The idea…date her way to the top. At first, Cara is skeptical of the plan, but Claudia is enthusiastic and persuasive. When Cara meets Archer (Theater Geek) on the first day of school she decides to make him her firs ...more
Feb 16, 2014 Vaishu rated it liked it
Overall, Populazzi is a decent book to read. It's plot was always changing and it wasn't necessarily predictable either. To me, it seemed like a typical YA book. The characters weren't always likable, but they were definitely interesting. (SPOILERS AHEAD- I have stated where there is a spoiler, if you don't want to read the whole review.)

The reason I don't think this book reached it's full potential is mostly because of the main character- Cara. I felt that she was a very weak character and she
Beth Rodgers
Feb 24, 2015 Beth Rodgers rated it it was amazing
'Populazzi' by Elise Allen was an entertaining and fast read. I loved going through high school with Cara, and watching her navigate the "Ladder," as she and her friend Claudia called the steps of social cliquedom, if you will. I thought that it seemed believable that someone like Cara would want to reinvent herself and see how she could be different at a new school where no one knew her.

She started off getting to know and really like Archer, a theater guy, and he seemed liek a really nice guy.
Anna (
All in all, this story was a darker, more upsetting and, honestly, stretched-out than I anticipated, but the light, flirty goodness at the beginning between Cara & Archer guaranteed I’d stick around for the a payoff. Allen lost me for a bit, but she really did nail that part. I’d definitely read more of her books.

Full review to come on
Apr 13, 2015 Brittany rated it it was ok
I kind of hated this book. The main character isn't very likable. Not even a little. She thinks only of herself through the whole book and plows head first into situations she knows she shouldn't put herself in. She let's the first guy to ever kiss her go around the bases, save for the most important one, and decides to do pot with him so he'll like her and continue to date her. Not to mention she changed her whole look an disposition to get him to notice her in the first place. And that's just ...more
Dec 31, 2015 Stephanie rated it liked it
Populazzi is one of those super cliché, chick-lit books that tends to give you the feels. I definitely enjoyed reading this book but personally I feel like the concept here and the story plot is so overdone that I’m just going to give it 3 stars because let’s face it, it’s time to move on and either make this overly redone cliché plot into something better or give it a major twist. Anyways, despite what I said, I still enjoyed this book – it definitely gave me the swoons in some areas but at the ...more
Feb 11, 2014 Ashley rated it did not like it
****SPOILERS included***I was so disappointed in this book. I had high hopes it wouldn't be cliche...but that is all it was. It started out pretty well. I like Cara and the idea of 'the Ladder". That actually made sense and is pretty much how high school functions, too a point. After getting to know Cara and the beginning of her relationship with Archer, I really liked her and Archer. They had a fun relationship. It all went downhill for me when she tried to kiss him. No high school boy in his r ...more
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Cheesy High School Book 2 7 Mar 25, 2012 05:52PM  
  • Girl Wonder
  • The Sweetest Thing
  • The Lipstick Laws
  • The Anti-Prom
  • The Oracle Rebounds (The Oracle of Dating, #2)
  • Popular
  • Rival
  • Here Lies Bridget
  • Dreams of Significant Girls
  • Pearl
  • OyMG
  • Displacement
  • One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight, #2)
  • The Secret Society of the Pink Crystal Ball
  • The Summer of Firsts and Lasts
  • Sass & Serendipity
  • The Darlings are Forever (The Darlings are Forever, #1)
  • My Favorite Band Does Not Exist
Elise Allen has been writing professionally since 1996, with credits that include TV, DVDs, internet shows, and books.
She's recently co-written Elixir, Hilary Duff's first YA novel.
Her new book, Populazzi, comes out on August 2011, by Harcourt Children's Books.
More about Elise Allen...

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“I had always wondered why people closed their eyes when they kissed. Now I knew: they can't help it. The feeling is too overwhelming: the taste, the touch, the smell, even the sound. The sense of sight had to be excluded, or it wouldn't be possible to funciton.” 16 likes
“One of the cashiers had taken to calling out, "Hey, Clark!" as I came in and marking my exit with "It's a bird, it's a plane, it's SuperGoth!" This was not only tiresome but inaccurate. There's a huge difference between goth and emo, but I never had the time or energy to give him a tutorial.” 7 likes
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