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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  911 ratings  ·  179 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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Average rating 3.65  · 
Rating details
 ·  911 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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Jillian Marie
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I actually loved it at first. But around page 200 the book started to become boring and the character I loved, Archer, wasn't around as much. The main character could get on my nerve sometimes. The endings seemed like a stretch, to be honest. It was too sudden. Like the author was trying to make the ending too happy. ...more
Dec 28, 2010 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
Dec 28, 2010 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
Nov 19, 2010 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"
Apr 17, 2011 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
Kate McMurry
Jan 16, 2011 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
Oct 06, 2010 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 bet
Dec 29, 2010 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
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
Oct 06, 2010 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
Hannah Kinnon
Jun 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I hated this book! I would give it zero stars if I could!
First of all, the whole plot is how Cara can become popular. She uses people to try to become friends with people who aren't nice at all and ditches/ruins her relationship with people who 'aren't cool' although they make an effort to be friends with her.
Then she changes everything about herself, just to get a boy to be her boyfriend, so she can ditch him after he has 'brought her up higher on the popularity ladder.'
She gets very involved w
Oct 07, 2010 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
Nov 20, 2010 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
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010, fiction, ya
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
Jul 18, 2012 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
Jim Dean
Jan 06, 2011 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
Mar 05, 2011 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
Feb 18, 2011 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
Mar 02, 2011 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
Laura Diane
Dec 24, 2011 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.

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
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Amara Luciano
Nov 23, 2010 rated it liked it
An all around fun read, I don't think I've laughed quite this much in a long, long time. Populazzi has a side-splitting humor at many points throughout so much so that I think the comedy will be the aspect that stays with me the most, making me smile every time I pass by this book. Cara, Claudia, and others in the book nearly had me choking because I couldn't seem to stop cracking up.

Cara and Claudia--these best friends made this book for me! I can't even totally consider Cara as the star of the
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, 2011
When Cara starts at a new school, her best friend Claudia presents her with The Ladder -- a foolproof plan for her to become the Supreme Populazzi (the most popular girl in school) -- that involves dating her way up the social tiers of high school. For some reason this premise, despite my belief that such divisive high school cliques are a thing of fiction -- really interested me. I've read plenty of loser-girl-tries-to-become-popular novels, but this was the first one that presented an actual p ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
i liked this book because this book kinda relates to me because when i entered a new school i didn't know anyone and i wouldn't fit in any gropes of the other people i dont really like these type of girly books but this one was some what interesting like i actually wanted to keep reading it .and i can also relate because when i moved to a new school and made a best friend and till this day we are still best friend ...more
Jill Davis
Apr 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the beginning of the book very much. I fell in love with Archer the first instant. At first it was fun to see her pretend to be someone else in order to go up the chain. But after a while it became a bit of a routine and there just wasn't anything new to like about the book. The ending was wayyyy too sudden. I felt that she needed to win Archer back, but she didn't even have to try. He deserves better. ...more
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book has definitely taught me a few lessons on High School. I loved every single page and would always die to read the next one. It was super intriguing, I never lost interest through out this whole novel. For every teen girl that ever reads this, I would say they could for sure relate on some of the topics being spoken about. I gave it a four stars just because some of the parts in the book were kind of cliche and predictable but other then that this was a really good book.
Isabelle | Nine Tale Vixen
Not too bad considering the potential to play the cringey "not like other girls" trope. Vivid characters, purposeful plot, some interesting ideas; the romance was decently written, too. ...more
Xelyn Ng
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The most amazing teen novel I have ever read.
Quite surprised that it isn’t more popular; maybe it’s because some prefer books that’re dumbed down for them.
Feb 16, 2014 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
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