Kate Winthrop exists at Millbank High School.  She isn’t on the lowest  rung of the social ladder, but definately isn’t at the top either.  The story begins with Kate attending a party put on by the Proud Crowd, the A-listers of the school.  An invitation showed up in her locker and even though she was reluctant to go since she doesn’t run in those circles, her two best friends, Callie and Dev, insist she go so she can tell them all about what happens.  The party isn’t a fun experience for her though.  Gretchen, the queen bee of the school, lets her know with catty remarks that she was never supposed to be there.  She also calls her 71 and Kate becomes curious about the refernce.

One night at home while on the computer, Kate gets the answer to her question about 71.  She receives an IM giving her a website leading her to the Millbank Social Stock Market.  The MSSM is a ranking of all 141 girls in the senior class at Millbank High.  Kate learns that she is ranked number 71.  After filling in Callie and Dev about the stock market, they device a plan to increase Kate’s value.  In order to enter the market, you have to put in $500.  At the end of the school year, the person with the largest portfolio, wins the pot which would be about $25,000. 

After developing a business plan, Dev, Kate, and Callie, begin to implement the changes to her wardrobe, hair, and other daily behaviors.  Throughout the ups and downs of the market, Kate learns about friendship, love, and the importance of popularity. 

J.M. Steele, author of The Taker, has written another relevant novel about the pressures of high school.  The unique angle to this story is the stock market element.  It would be a great way to connect literature to an economics class.

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