By Elise Allen
Publication date: Aug. 1, 2011
Harcourt Children’s Books, 400 pages
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.
— Goodreads.com description
Woooo can Elise Allen write a good flirting session! As soon as Cara met Archer, I was in love. Their quick exchanges of dialogue were smart, silly, sweet and just…perfect. Archer was everything you wish you’d found in a boy when you were a teen.
But I knew it was too good to be true. I mean, I was only 10% through the book. This “first potential romance” bliss I was feeling was bound to be short-lived.
And it was. Oh! The sorrow of the “girl meets boy, things get confused, girl loses self in quest for popularity, everything she touches begins to explode” plotline! It’s so darn good, but it’s so hard for me to focus because I just want to skip ahead to the good parts, aka anything involving Archer. And I was SO angry with Cara and her choices.
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 guaranteed I’d stick around for the a payoff. Elise Allen lost me for a bit, but she really did nail that part. I’d definitely read more of her books.