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Monday, November 18, 2013

Module 13: The Clique

Module 13: Graphic Novels and Series

The Clique
Author: Lisi Harrison

Book Summary:
     Claire Lyons moves into the guest house of the Block family. She thinks that she can be friends with Massie Block because of their close proximity, but Massie has other plans. Massie and her clique, Kristen, Dylan, and Alicia, try their best to alienate Claire. But Claire fights back. She tries to turn Massie’s clique against her and break Massie’s heart by introducing her to her crush’s girlfriend. The Clique shows both good and bad sides of the two main characters personalities, Massie and Claire, but both girls come off as superficial and petty. Will they be friends, or will the rivalry continue?
APA Book Reference:
Harrison, L. (2004). The clique. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

     This book was a very quick read; I read the whole thing in one sitting. However, I found myself bothered my all of the characters. Usually there is a protagonist the reader can route for, but this book was lacking in that aspect. I suppose the protagonist is supposed to be Claire, the new girl being bullied by her neighbor. However, Claire even stoops to the level of the clique of popular girls when she sneaks into Massie’s room at night and impersonates her through instant messenger.
     Not only were all of the characters unlikeable, they were not really relatable either. Even though these characters are supposed to be rich kids, I find it unbelievable that they would have their own credit cards and be able to shop for their 600 dollar tank tops with no supervision while they’re only in the seventh grade. The dialogue and some of the girls’ actions were perhaps indicative of someone so young, but the rest just seemed over the top to me. Perhaps it was just a tool the author used to show how different the clique really was from Claire, but I was not deluded by it.
     A lot happens in this short book, but there is really no resolution. The reader gets to see that maybe Massie is not all that bad, but she still does not know what to do about Claire in the end. This book was obviously set up to be part of a series from the beginning. 

Professional Review:
Pierce, D. (2004). The clique (book). School Library Journal, 50(6). 143.
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.

Library Uses:
     This book could be used in a book talk about books involving cliques. This book could be incorporated into a library program where young girls talk about cliques and bullying.

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