How far would you go to be popular? Is popularity really all that great?
Katie Winthrop was on the verge of depression after she was introduced to The Market by a mysterious stranger through IM one night. She learns that The Market is an online bidding site someone at her school set up where all the girls in the senior class are ranked. Katie finds that out of the 140 girls in her senior class, she is ranked a measely #71. 71?! That's less than average--she's in the lower half of the class! Surely she must not be that bad! Okay, so she isn't exactly the queen of fashion at her school, but her taste in clothes isn't horrendous! And she is a slightly shy, but nice girl that holds a part time job at the local bookstore--so she can't possibly be so low on the food chain, right? Greatly upset to be considered a "junk bond" on The Market, Katie runs to one of her closest friends, Dev, and confesses everything to her. Lending a sympathetic ear, Dev listens to Katie's tearful account and quickly hatches a plot to use the situation to their advantage--they're going to beat the system!
Dev explains to Katie that all the share holders had to pay $500 real cash to join the Market and get Market money to bid on different stocks, or senior girls. At the end of the year, the bidder/player with the highest folder gets all the money, and with that money being several thousand, Dev devises a plan to help Katie beat the system so they can win and split the prize money. So Dev fronts the $500 and they buy a folder and call up their friend Callie (who does have a good eye for fashion) to help Katie with her makeover. Dev is hoping that if Katie can improve her looks, befriend the "Proud Crowd" (the most popular ring of girls at school), and make her mark, Katie's stock price will go up, as well as their folder's worth.
And thus, Katie is dragged around for said makeover--they hit the clothing stores for some trendier threads. Not too long after, the made-over "Kat" hits the school runway, turning heads with her new found fashion sense and confidence! The two hottest boys in her class, Will and Jack are starting to notice her, and even talk to her! As time progresses, with help from Dev's plots, Kat steadily climbs the social ladder, nearing "blue chip status." Even Gretchen Tanner, the head girl of the Proud Crowd has noticed her and invited to to hang out. As these hang outs, parties, and other events becoming more common, Kat starts to stray from her original friends and values.
But how long will this new found popularity last? As they say, the higher you are, the harder you fall. Has Kat gone too far to achive "blue chip status?" Gone is Katie, the sweet girl who cared about her friends, in her place is Kat, a girl who wants to be #1 on The Market, and will stop at almost nothing to do so. Is Kat really trying to beat the system anymore, or has she become a power-hungry girl that wants nothing more than ultimate popularity? She has all but left her friends, got caught up in a harsh love triangle, and has trampled on many people, not caring if their feelings are hurt or not, in an attempt to keep up with Gretchen and her Proud Crowd. Is popularity really worth losing her friends, her dignity, and ultimately, herself? Kat learns that behind the illusion of endless friends and getting everything you want, popularity has an uglier, back-stabbing side that could leave you friendless and emotionally hurt.
The Market was a fantastic read that will capture you with its honesty and creativity. Many readers can relate to Katie and her quest for popularity, since most teens want to be accepted and have wanted to be popular one time or another at school. But Katie ultimately sees the truth in things and that looks can be decieving, so don't lose those who understand you and who have stuck by you from the start!