Reviews for Clique : A Novel


Booklist Reviews 2004 August #1
Gr. 5-8. Head-to-toe Calvin Klein is in. So is Ralph Lauren. Burberry is so out. And as for Claire's platform navy Keds and two-year-old, white Gap jeans--doesn't she know that clothes are like milk or cheese with a "best-before date" and a limited shelf life? Claire is clueless when she enters seventh grade, a newcomer and total outsider when it comes to her wealthy cousin Massie's friends at an exclusive private girls' school. Massie leads her clique in humiliating her poor relation (including splashing those jeans with red paint to make it look like Claire has her period), and the instant messaging is very mean. It's also hilarious, especially because the viewpoints switch between the two cousins and Claire gets her revenge--sort of. There's too much detail about how the superwealthy live, but Harrison, who writes for MTV, knows peer pressure, and her first novel has fun with the tyranny of brand names ("she was wearing . . ." is a constant). Buy this quickly, though, because the very specifics that teens will recognize will be "so out" before the year is over. ((Reviewed August 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 May #4
Middle schoolers who have participated in the "popularity game" may be drawn to this series opener by a first-time author, which takes cliquish, snobbish behavior to Hollywood extremes. Massie Block, whom readers will love to hate, is rich, conniving and the uncontested leader of the "A-list" group of seventh graders at an exclusive private girls' school in New York's affluent Westchester County. When Mr. Block's unemployed college friend moves his family into the Blocks' guest house, Mrs. Block pushes Massie to befriend their daughter, Claire, who is the same age but dresses "like one of the cast members from Barney and Friends"; Massie predictably rebels. She wastes no opportunity to let Claire know there is no room for her in the in-crowd; Claire, however, decides to fight back. What follows is a rigorous battle of wills between the girls involving backbiting, scheming and carrying out nasty pranks. With an arsenal stocked with designer clothing and cosmetics, fancy cell phones and "mani/pedi" appointments, Massie and her friends publicly humiliate Claire time after time, and Claire, slowly but surely, figures out a way to turn Massie's friends against her. Readers who are initially amused may find that the successive acts of one-upmanship result in a one-note read-while Massie and Claire experience a moment or two of camaraderie, they stay pretty superficial, unchanged by their victories and defeats. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 June
Gr 5-8-Claire Lyons moves with her parents from Florida to wealthy Westchester County, NY. Until they can get settled, the family stays in the guest house of Mr. Lyons's college buddy, who happens to have a daughter who is also in seventh grade. Expected to welcome her, Massie instead chooses to make Claire's life miserable for no other reason than she's the new girl. Massie enlists her clique of friends at Octavian Country Day School, all part of the beautiful and popular crowd, to help with the harassment, which ranges from catty comments on Claire's clothes to spilling red paint on her white jeans in a conspicuous spot. Tired of it all, Claire tries to fight back, but then the abuse worsens. The book has trendy references kids will love, including Starbucks in the school, designer clothes, and PalmPilots for list making. However, this trendiness doesn't make up for the shallowness of the characters or the one-dimensional plot. Nor is the cruelty of the clique redeemed with any sort of a satisfying ending. The conclusion leaves one with the feeling that a sequel is in the works. Amy Goldman Koss's The Girls (Dial, 2000) shows the same cruelty of girls with a more realistic story and resolution.-Diana Pierce, Running Brushy Middle School, Cedar Park, TX Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2004 October
This novel is another Gossip Girl type of book but for younger teens. In this first installment, seventh grade girls at Octavian Country Day School are introduced by social hierarchy. Massie Block is the leader, and she is not thrilled at the arrival of Claire Lyons, daughter of a parental friend and hopelessly unchic. Claire cannot believe that Massie and her Über-friends Dylan, Alicia, and Kristen ignore her for not having designer clothes, so she mounts a campaign to launch herself into their presence. Although the luxury living of these girls is not real life for most teens, the thread of junior high snobbery and peer issues is. The story offers some fun surprises as Claire discovers the girls behind the stylish façades in the elite Clique. There is some dating and kissing but not the sex and drugs of the Gossip Girl series, as this book is clearly aimed for the younger set. Junior high girls will eat it right up, especially those who follow the lifestyles-of-the-rich-teen series, a trend that should remain popular for another year or two. The book is recommended for public library purchase and for middle or junior high schools with moderate recreational reading budgets.-Amy Alessio 3Q 4P M J Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.

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