Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review of Populazzi by Elise Allen

Harcourt Children's
By Elise Allen
Warning—this novel makes Mean Girls look like child’s play! Cara and Claudia have always dreamed about being at the top of the popularity food chain, but have been the krill devoured by the "social killer whales" at their school since kindergarten. When Cara moves to a new high school, she decides to take full advantage of her anonymity, bag an acceptable boyfriend, and use his status to climb, rung by precious rung, to the top. She will live the dream for both of them. But when Cara ascends to the final step, she realizes her footing on the social ladder might be precarious at best, and the fall from the top is a lot further down than she imagined it would be. Although the message revealed in the climax is no big surprise and the novel (400 pages) is a tad on the lengthy side, the word-play between Cara and the other characters in the novel is fresh and entertaining, and the relationships between Cara and her new-found "friends" very believable. And as much as I wanted to condemn Cara and Claudia for their shallow perspective (be happy with who you are, right?), who hasn’t longed to be envied and admired by the entire high school population? A clever and edgy spin on an otherwise tired subject, Populazzi is a lens into the superficial world of high school.

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