This second slice-of-life/school life book in the "Clique Summer Collection" series by Lisi Harrison is published by Poppy, Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group.
The Clique: Massie is written for kids ages 10 to 13. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Rich, fashionable Massie Block has entered seventh grade and it's off to a bad start: Her dad's old college friend and his family are moving into the Blocks' guesthouse — and that includes fashion-challenged Claire. Massie, the leader of her school's most popular clique, immediately lets her "friends" Alicia, Dylan and Kristen know they must shun Claire. Massie even prescribes cruel tricks and behaviors for them to use in degrading the new girl. Despite the humiliation, Claire wants to be one of the "in" crowd. She uses a few tricks of her own to fool Massie's followers and improve her social status. After much inhumanity has passed between them, Massie and Claire find themselves hiding in the bushes together at a party to avoid being embarrassed by their drunken dads. There, they begin to talk amiably (setting readers up for book two in the series).
Claire prays she won't be in class with someone, and a TV interviewer jokes with a soap star that everyone's "praying" the soap star will recover from his coma. Alicia tells Claire she looks like Satan when she's holding a flashlight up to her face. Claire replies that she is Satan.
Massie's and Claire's fathers (William Block and Jay Lyons) are old friends. Neither appears much in the story except at the end, when they're both visibly drunk and singing to elicit donations at a fundraiser. The girls' moms are both relatively clueless about the rivalry between their daughters. They certainly don't realize the extent of the cruelty and lies involved in the girls' battles. Isaac, the Blocks' chauffeur, treats Claire kindly and tries to encourage Massie to temper her rudeness toward others. Vincent, the art teacher, is snippy with his students. He takes them to the city for a taping of "The Young and the Restless" on school time. As the leader of her clique, Massie orders her followers to behave in cruel ways toward Claire or anyone else she doesn't like.
Other Belief Systems
None, except that Massie and her friends idolize fashion and popularity.
Variations of God's name taken in vain appear a number of times. Suck, a-- and b--ch appear a time or two. Massie makes a crude comment to her chauffeur about how he's "all up in her" backside.
A few short discussions of women's chests appear. In one case, the girls talk about someone getting "felt up" on their shopping trip by the lady who helps with bras. Alicia puts red paint on Claire's pants and starts telling everyone Claire got her period in class. Claire tells a ghost story that involves a couple making out in a car because they didn't have anything else to do. At a pool party, the girls suggestively dance to Britney Spears' songs, and lines from Spears' lyrics are included. Trying to sell her friend's homemade lip gloss, Massie says the popular boys like tasting it.
If your children have read this book or someone has read it to them, consider these discussion topics:
- Did you like Claire?
- What do you think of the way she takes out her revenge on Massie?
- Claire, Massie and the other girls do a lot of lying, both to adults and to each other.
Did that bother you? Why or why not?
- Why do think some girls do mean things to other girls — purposely embarrassing them or spreading lies about them?
- Have you ever been treated this way?
- How did it feel?
- Have you ever treated anyone like this?
- If someone was cruel to you, the way Massie and her friends were to Claire, what might be a godly way to handle the situation?
- In one part of the book, the girls talk tongue-in-cheek about voting Claire off the island.
What do they see as her worth or lack of worth?
- At the slumber party, Massie asks, "Would you rather be completely and utterly friendless or be someone with tons of friends who secretly hate you?" Both Claire and Massie struggle with this question throughout the book.
What would your answer be, and why?
- Do any of the adults in this book get the respect they deserve?
Explain your answer.
Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.