I'm excited to welcome another Girlfriend from the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, Elise Allen! POPULAZZI came out in hardcover last year, but today we're celebrating her paperback release!
WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you had the chance to erase your past and reinvent yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be? Would you grab it? Would you stick with it, no matter what the consequences?
Cara Leonard always wished she could be one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say. One of the Populazzi.
It always seemed impossible… but now could be her chance.
When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend urges her to seize the opportunity and change her life… with the help of The Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys higher and higher on the Popularity Tower, she can reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi, the most popular girl in school.
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.
Some reaction to the book:
"In her first solo novel, Allen offers a smart mix of hilarity and tragedy in this Macbeth–meets–Mean Girls tale.” -- Publisher's Weekly
"The story unflinchingly depicts the dark and dangerous side of high-school popularity, making it a captivating read."—Kirkus Reviews
Named a "Great Summer Beach Read" by Shape Magazine
One of Justine Magazine's "Chick Lit Picks"
Named one of the "Top Hits of the Summer" by Girl's Life Magazine
Interview With Elise Allen:
1. Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
Girl Transforms For Popularity, Hilarious Disaster Ensues.
2. Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
Robert Schwarner! He wasn’t even in the first draft, which seems impossible, since he’s pretty much the conscience of the whole book. Robert is a “Happy Hopeless,” a guy so low on the popularity tower that he isn’t even aware of the tower’s existence, and hence lives in a state of ignorant bliss. The guy dresses up as his favorite sci-fi character, wields a broadsword, and regularly quotes Yoda. He is a social disaster… and yet easily the most self-aware and self-confident character in the entire book. I love him.
3. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
WRITE! It’s practically cliché and sounds obvious, but if you want to write, you have to get the words down on paper. As a corollary, I’d say that when you get opportunities to get paid for your writing, grab them, even if they’re not the kind of writing you imagined you’d do. I had a couple dead years between TV writing jobs, and ended up writing dialogue for Furbys (remember those? Interactive fuzzballs who spoke their own language and “learned” as you played with them). The job was a far cry from the prime time sitcom writing I’d been doing, but it was a fun creative challenge, and actually ended up opening doors to all kinds of other writing projects.
4. What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I constantly wrote as a teen, mostly in script format, mostly for theatre classes. I’m particularly proud of two seriously funny adaptations, one of The Odyssey and one of Medea, which of course is known for its heavy-duty slapstick potential.
I also had two long-term writing projects as a teen. The first was The Sagas, a novel my then-BFF and I wrote between 7th and 9th grades. This was an epic romance novel that charted the wild exploits of the two of us… and George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! We’d swap chapters back and forth, and since both of us desperately wanted George (shut up – he wasn’t gay then! I totally had a chance with him!), each chapter had soap-operatically-crazy plot twists that sprung George back and forth between us.
In 10th grade I started a new project with a new writing partner. This one was written as a TV show, and involved something going terribly wrong on the set of The Monkees (no, I’m not old enough to have seen The Monkees first-run, but I am old enough for MTV’s obsession with the show in the ‘80’s). In our ongoing sitcom, Mickey, Davy, Peter, and Mike accidentally ate radioactive carob-coated alfalfa sprout clusters that propelled them into the future, where they met BFF and I, accidentally fed us some of the clusters, and thus began a constant romp in which the six of us bounced haphazardly through history, barely dodging disaster as we desperately attempted to get home.
5. What's the last book you read that you really loved?
Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer. It just left me speechless. Okay, not speechless since I loved it so much I blurbed it, but it really got under my skin. I was blown away by the book’s emotional honesty, and the characters are so true and compelling that I feel like they’re people I knew in real life.
To thank everyone for their support with the paperback launch, I'm doing a giveaway on my blog where commenters can win a pack of five books -- Populazzi plus books from the four authors who blurbed it (including the marvelous Girlfriend Eileen Cook!). Here's a link to that: http://eliseallen.com/2012/bookscoop/populazzi-paperback-prize-a-palooza/
After starting her career in television, ELISE ALLEN has emerged as a vibrant new voice in teen fiction. She is the co-author of Hilary Duff's New York Times Bestseller Elixir, as well as its sequels, Devoted and True. She received an Emmy nomination for her work on the PBS show Dinosaur Train, and fulfilled a lifelong dream when she wrote for the Muppets. She lives in Los Angeles, where she indulges her inexplicable desire to run marathons. Visit her at www.eliseallen.com, or on Twitter @EliseLAllen.