I LOVED Populazzi. I fell in love with the characters and their humor. This fresh fun summer read. I'm super excited to share it with you all.
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.
An interview with Cara, heroine of Populazzi.
Hey Cara! Thanks for stopping by! OK so I kind of have this thing for Horoscopes, Karma, and Fortunate cookies. They always seem to give good advice, do you think? So the most IMPORTANT question ever! What is your sign? Lol
Lately, I think my sign should be “STOP!” Like the stop sign. Come on, it’s not that bad a pun… is it?
Okay, seriously though, you should totally hang with Claudia. She’s very sign and omen oriented, especially since the three witches in Macbeth were so dead-on.
Oh shoot. I said
Oh shoot. I said Macbeth. And I just said it again. I mean “The Scottish Play.” Don’t tell Archer I said the actual name.
Wait – you asked me my sign. It’s cancer, which means my star-crossed fate is tied to one of the worst diseases ever to plague mankind.
This is why I’m not into astrology.
What was your life like before you attempted the Popularity Tower?
Honestly, if my parents hadn’t had the unbelievably awful – awful at the time – plan to move away, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Yes, I was firmly planted in a Cubby Crew of two, just me and Claudia, alone together near the bottom of the popularity tower… but we had each other. And it’s not like we were tormented by the populazzi, we were just completely invisible to them. So it wasn’t like life was horrible, it was just… small. I wanted something more. Claudia did too. We just wanted to be noticed, you know? We wanted people to care about who we were. We wanted to matter.
What does it take to be Supreme Populazzi?
If you’d asked me before everything that happened to me in Populazzi, I’d have said Supreme Populazzi are born, not made. They’re rarified creatures born in a flurry of fireworks and the Hallelujah Chorus, with a natural magnetism that destines them to the kind of greatness mere mortals like me can only dream about.Since The Ladder was an experience, what would you do to tweak it and make it better? Since it didn’t go so well the first time lol
Now… I know that’s not really true. Becoming Supreme Populazzi takes some serious dedication and effort. Honestly, I look at the stories about the Olympic athletes, and I think about Trista, my school’s Supreme Populazzi. Pretty sure she puts in as much training as Michael Phelps… but with a lot fewer calories. Have you looked at what he eats every day? Like 12,000 calories. I could eat French fries dipped in chocolate milk shakes all day, but I still don’t think I could make it to 12,000 calories.
I don’t know, I mean… it kind of went well, right? Not so much along the way when I was convinced I’d be a million times happier if I miraculously slipped into a non-brain-function-threatening coma that lasted until the first day of college (forget the fact that if I was in a coma, I couldn’t take the SATs or fill out my college applications; any school would take pity on the girl in the long-term coma and let her in, right?), but some things happened that I wouldn’t trade for anything. So even though it seems like I must be filled with self-loathing to condemn myself to the same horror all over again… I don’t think I’d change a thing.
What advice would you give someone who was kind of in your shoes, new student etc and want to erase their past and reinvent their selves?
I asked my friend Robert Schwarner this question, figuring he’d have some Jedi-zen answer. He did, of course. “If no mistake you have made, yet losing you are… a different game you should play.”
Do you get that? Cause I don’t. I don’t even think it’s from one of the Star Wars movies, but Robert swears it’s a real Yoda quote, so it has to be from a novel or TV show that’s recognized as part of the “official” greater Star Wars timeline. The fact that I even know there is an official greater Star Wars timeline is still one of the mysteries of my current life.
Here’s what I think it means, or at least what I think it should mean. If you really want to erase your past and reinvent yourself, take a look at why. Are afraid to act goofy or say what you really feel because you think people will judge you? Does that leave you curled up inside yourself, quiet and invisible? ‘Cause if that’s the case, it’s not that you want to change yourself, it’s really that you want to become yourself.
So my advice to you? Don’t turn yourself inside out to be someone new. You can change your life in a way that’s a lot more profound – and save yourself an unbelievable pile of mortification – by letting go of your fear and being your genuine, unfiltered self.
Can you give us any details about what’s coming next for you? I’ve heard rumors that you might be heading to the big screen!
It’s a possibility! I don’t know anything about the movie business, but the book was optioned, and from what I understand, that’s the first step!
Oh – Robert’s talking to me again. He says he wants to be rendered in CGI and played by Frank Oz. Pretty sure that’s not going to happen…
Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Faye! I’m not usually good at deadlines over the summer, but this was a lot of fun! If you’re ever in the greater Philadelphia area, come visit me! We can go to Hersheypark – there’s a new roller coaster that looks insanely terrifying, and I’m kind of dying to try it.