YMMV: The Clique

  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Are Claire, Dylan and Kristen bullies or bully victims who play along with Massie and Alicia because they're so afraid of them? The final books in the series very strongly hint towards this.
    • Alicia's implied promiscuousness and strange behavior is a result of sexual abuse.
    • Massie's is a sociopath and/or mentally ill.
    • Dylan has a developing eating disorder.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise: It's a series told from the Alpha Bitch's point of view. If you don't like that character type (it's nearly universally despised) there's a good chance you won't be interested. Still, some people say the series might have worked if it had been a Deconstruction of the Alpha Bitch archetype, or a parody or even a Black Comedy, rather than playing the trope straight and expecting us to root for her.
  • Bile Fascination/So Bad, It's Good
  • Critical Dissonance: Meager critical respect did little to quell this series' popularity back in the day. Today, it's a different story.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A common complaint about the series, mostly due to the Chronic Backstabbing Disorder and unsympathetic characters. The fact that nobody suffered in the end apparently angered quite a few readers. And anything even remotely resembling Character Development happens so late in the series you wonder why the author even bothered.
  • Deader Than Disco: Seems to have become this in recent years, for several different reasons (the pop culture references aging badly, society frowning on anything bullying related, etc.). It pretty much went from a New York Times bestseller to a mainstay in second-hand stores.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Disturbingly, Massie and Alicia get a lot of this (mostly by younger fans).
  • Dude, Not Funny!: To readers who have had to deal with these kind of girls in Real Life.
    • The Dylan subplots have been accused of making fun of girls with eating disorders, something which many people find incredibly distasteful.
    • Claire's treatment in the first few books.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Layne, to many who dislike Alpha Bitches in general.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: As the Alpha Bitch is the protagonist, it falls into a sort of Blue and Orange Morality which means any lessons learned or implied tend to be this.
  • Funny Anuerysm Moment: Now that more is known about eating disorders, nearly everything about Dylan has become this.
  • Growing the Beard: Starting with These Boots are Made for Stalking and My Little Phony. There's more meaningful character development (particularly with Claire, Massie, and Layne and Cam[!]) compared to most of the other books and a lot of the Flanderization that was going on gets undone - in particular, the characters actually start to mature and Claire finally grows out of letting Massie remold her into yet another PC clone and tries to stand up to her. In short, the series finally becomes the series people were actually expecting/hoping for. Unfortunately, it came too little too late, in the third-to-last and second-to-last books out of a nearly two-dozen long running series.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Recent events having to do with bullying have made this series incredibly hard to enjoy. The treatment of Claire in the first few books goes from Dude, Not Funny! to downright horrifying.
    • The plastic surgery jokes are this now that preteens getting them has been revealed to sadly be Truth in Television.
    • Nowadays, girls are dressing too old for their age and are being sexualized like the Pretty Committee.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Dylan. Even the girl portraying her in the official photos is incredibly skinny. Even the girls In-Universe point this out.
  • Love It or Hate It: It's either a Guilty Pleasure or a glorification of bullying and shallowness.
  • Love to Hate: Massie and Alicia
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • The author's Costume Porn is described as if the Pretty Committee are in their twenties when they are much younger, which makes it feel like Lolicon and can be very off-putting.
    • 12-13 year old girls with breast implants.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Among the genuine fans, Massington (Massie/Derrington); Clam (Claire/Cam); Dolert (Dylan/Plovert); Jalicia (Josh/Alicia); Closh (Claire/Josh).
  • Replacement Scrappy: Alicia tries to bring in In-Universe examples when she tries to form her own clique: "Strawberry" for Dylan, Kori for Kristen, "Faux-Livia" for herself and herself for Massie. It ends up failing miserably, partly because Alicia can't help but think of them as Replacement Scrappies for her real friends (and partly because the "knockoffs" are Too Dumb to Live)
    • Ironically enough these same "knockoffs" form Claire's own (very short-lived) "anti-"clique in My Little Phony.
    • When Alicia starts yet another clique (this time by stealing away the originals) Massie is desperate enough to outright hire her own Replacement Scrappies from a talent agency, this time handpicked based on not resembling the people they replace (though she can't help herself on some points, picking a girl known for starring in commercials as a soccer player ala Kristen who also co-starred with Claire on Dial L for Loser). It doesn't end well, for the exact same reasons why Alicia's first attempt failed.
  • The Scrappy: Cam tends to fall towards this, if nothing else dragging Claire down with him through her constant obsession with him.
    • Alicia due to the nightmarish amounts of squick she tends to cause in most readers.
  • Squick:
    • Nina, especially when you think about her a bit.
    • Todd putting hidden cameras in Massie's shower. The same shower his sister uses.
    • The sexualization of middle school aged girls really hasn't fared well with most readers. Some reviewers have even compared this to child porn.
    • As well as the fact that a lot of the preteen characters have had plastic surgery.
    • The implication that Alicia's breasts are implants. As well as the hints that she might be sexually active.
      • Some find the idea of a preteen girl with Gag Boobs in general to be this.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Some people's reaction to Kristen in the Summer Collection.
  • They Just Didn't Care: Throughout the whole Summer Collection Series it's obvious that the books were churned out in a real hurry - in addition to the short page counts (the longest one is just over half the length of the shortest "proper" Clique novel) and the compressed publication dates (the whole collection came out over the course of Spring/Summer 2008), the series is rife if not outright pockmarked with obvious copyediting errors. That said, these (particularly Dylan and Kristen) are some of the best books in the whole Clique series.
    • There are various continuity and other errors throughout the whole series. In one of the books, Claire tips over a glass towards herself, but the stain ends up on Massie's dress. This happens over the course of consecutive paragraphs.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some think this could've worked better as a straight Deconstruction or a dark comedy.
  • Toy Ship: They're 11-13, all of the ships are like this.
  • Wangst: Dylan and her weight.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit: Which is why this series won't get a revival anytime soon.
  • The Woobie: Claire, Dylan and Kristen.