Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Clique

It's not often that I start out disliking a book and change my mind by the end. The Clique by Lisi Harrison is the exception.

At first I thought The Clique was akin to Gossip Girl for seventh graders, full of stereotypical characters and flashy brands. I cringed to read about the mean girls who are held up in an aspirational manner, the clique of the title being Massie Block and her trio of popular followers. Would-be heroine Claire is middle class and living in Massie's guesthouse with her family, providing plenty of opportunities for social competition and mishaps. Midway through the book, things got interesting. Claire turns out to not be such an angel, some of her actions are underhanded and nasty. And I liked it! Too often, these formulaic novels show characters as one-sided: Massie is rich and bad, Claire is nerdy and good. Harrison ably shows that it is impossible to be one or the other.

Do I hope my students will be like any of the characters in this novel? Definitely not. But I would be curious to discuss the novel with them: what do they find realistic? Does any of it seem ridiculous to them? Sometimes reading fluff can be fun and lead to more in-depth conversations than expected.

1 comment:

  1. I read this post and thought, "Hey! That's good news!" My middle school girls loved these books, and I'm ashamed to say I've never even read one. I try to keep up with everything they read, but this series just never appealed to me. I'll give it a shot! PS: I don't know about Gossip Girl the books, but Gossip Girl the TV show? So addictive :)

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