The Pretty Committee Strikes Back: A Clique Novel -- Lisi Harrison

Okay.  After reading this book, I really think that someone out there (not you, Naomi Wolf) should write a book about this series.  Either that, or a grown-up book club should read 'em all.  Suggestions for discussion:

Celebrity Idolatry.

She was even starting to embrace the fact that he wore shorts in the dead of winter.  It was his "thing".  And every famous athlete had to have a "thing", or else his fans wouldn't have anything to copy.  Massie's stomach suddenly tightened at the thought of Derrington surrounded by hordes of shorts-wearing fans, because in this scenario she would be the glamour girl standing by his side.  The girl every other girl wanted to be.  And nothing was more ah-mazing than that.

Note that Massie isn't disturbed by the fact that everyone emulates famous people.  She knows it and likes it -- because she wants to be one.  I read this passage at least four times, and it creeped me out every single time.  Honestly, there wasn't a whole lot about actual celebrities in the book, unless you count the the girls as such -- which is certainly a fair reading, given that that's exactly how they seem to view themselves. 


I'm especially fond of this bit:

Massie ballooned with pride.  Her crush was the most popular guy in her grade.  And she was the most popular girl.  They were a perfect match, like DK and NY.

I'd say that, on average, there was at least one brand name mentioned on every page.  That's two-hundred and sixty-five instances of name-dropping.  Are companies going to start paying for this service?  Are they already?  It's pretty gross.  The fictional 'Glossip Girl' lip gloss is mentioned again and again -- it comes in a ridiculous array of flavors, I couldn't help but think of Bertie Botts -- but doesn't it seem like some sort of weird subliminal advertisement for the Gossip Girl books?

Peer Pressure:

Missing one of Massie's get-togethers meant spending a sleepless night tossing and turning, wondering if you were missing anything good and wondering if anyone was saying anything about you behind your back.  And nothing was worth that kind of torture.

Succumbing to peer pressure is what Claire is all about.  Over and over again, she scurries back to Massie & Co., even when she doesn't want to -- because she wants to be one of the shining ones.  Yes, that is pretty realistic, I agree.  But knowing that doesn't make her seem any less shallow and pathetic.  She's supposed to be the most sympathetic character of the whole crew, but she comes off as the most unattractive.

I really hope that girls aren't using this series as a place to garner advice:

"You're a sex goddess in," she told herself.  When her countdown was over, she lifted her head and dabbed on a final coat of Cinnabon Glossip Girl, making sure the center of her bottom lip had an extra dollop, to make it look fuller.

GROSS.  Who wants to kiss THAT?


There are strange food issues throughout -- Massie can't eat because of her nerves and Dylan won't shut up about losing ten pounds due to her recent bout of the flu.  She's so proud.  Her specific size is mentioned:  Size 2.  TWO.  A size 2 plus ten pounds does not equal fat.  Period.  The rest of the girls are sick of her yammering, partly because she won't shut up and partly because she wasn't fat in the first place, but no concern is raised.  Of course, all of the girls are extremely self-centered, so that is in character.

The book involves the girls going on a three-day 'camping' trip for a school field trip.  The camping trip costs $1500 each and the girls bring, on average, four suitcases each.  I assume that the kids who read this series understand that there are points where our heroines are being mocked.  At least, I hope they're being mocked.  If they aren't, Massie's 'lavender angora slippers' are a lot less funny.

Layne, Claire's sort-of friend, gets her period and is upset because she's 'the first one to get it'.  What the hell grade are they IN, anyway?  The average age for a first period is 12.  I've been assuming that the girls are in middle school and if so, I refuse to believe that no one else has it yet.  Over and over again, Alicia is described as having huge knockers.  Yet she doesn't have her period?  IT JUST MAKES NO SENSE.

I'm very serious when I say that these examples are just scratching the surface.  I'm so strangely fascinated that I might go back and read the others.  I've kind of been comparing my relationship with The Clique to my relationship with Days of Our Lives:  I can read one, skip three, pick up the fifth and still know what's going on AND even though I don't care about a single character, I still want to know what happens next.

Okay.  I admit it.  I'm also hoping for some more amazingly bad poetry:

I never liked him as more than a friend;
I was hurt because I got dissed.
Please don't say that this is the end:
I won't be happy till we've kissed.

[Edit: A Few Hours Later]

I have a confession to make:  After looking at Lisi Harrison's website, I kind of want to read the other Clique books.  She's really funny. 

[Even Later]

Gail Gauthier's posts on the subject are also worth reading.  (She's the author of the fabulous A Year with Butch and Spike, among others.)