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Literature / The Clique

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The Clique, a series of middle-school novels by Lisi Harrison, revolves around the lives of the Pretty Committee: Massie Block, Claire Lyons, Dylan Marvil, Alicia Rivera, and Kristen Gregory. These spoiled seventh-graders (later eighth-graders) consider themselves the experts of fashions of Octavian Country Day School, and aren't afraid to let other students know what they think of them. In a nutshell, a series in which the Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse are the protagonists.

The books were bestsellers, and a direct-to-DVD adaptation of the first book was released in fall 2008 that today is most notable for starring pre-Good Luck Charlie Bridgit Mendler. There's also a graphic novel and DS game. Also has a spin-off series, Alphas, about related characters attending an ultra-exclusive boarding school.


Drinking game here.

Canonically, the series is as follows:

  • Charmed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Pretty Committee
  • The Clique
  • Best Friends for Never
  • Revenge of the Wannabes
  • Invasion of the Boy Snatchers
  • The Pretty Committee Strikes Back
  • Dial L for Loser
  • It's Not Easy Being Mean
  • Sealed with a Diss
  • The Clique Summer Collection
    • Massie
    • Dylan
    • Alicia
    • Kristen
    • Claire
  • Bratfest at Tiffany's
  • P.S. I Loathe You
  • Boys R Us
  • These Boots are Made for Stalking
  • My Little Phony
  • A Tale of Two Pretties

This series provides examples of:

  • Academic Alpha Bitch: Subverted In Kristen. While she is shown to be smart and is very driven, she doesn’t flaunt her academic superiority to control others.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Todd, for Massie and Alicia.
  • Adults Are Useless: Alicia actually depends on this, pretending to be sweet when around adults and downright ruthless when they aren't present.
    • Pretty much any adult character in this series. When Massie and her friends break school dress code with inappropriate Halloween outfits, her parents only give her a lecture and let her continue doing whatever she wants. Many of the parents are shown to be neglectful and overindulgent of their children and don’t take any actions to stop them from cruelty.
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: A lot. It's actually one of the main themes of the series.
  • Alpha Bitch: This trope is glorified among the OCD girls and many aim to be one. The top girl is literally known as the Alpha in this series.
    • Massie of the seventh grade. She’s the leader of the Pretty Committee and uses cruelty to keep her status.
    • Alicia tries to become one throughout the series but continuously fails.
    • Skye Hamilton is stated to be the eighth grade alpha at one point
  • Alternate Universe: The Prequel contradicts most of the series' canon and includes some (legitimate) fortune telling.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • See The Sociopath.
    • Alicia trusts nobody, is willing to backstab anyone, and wants nothing more than to be the center of attention at all costs. And is also occasionally implied to be sexually active. At 12-13.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Dylan decides to gossip about the stars of "Dial L for Losers" in the bathroom of the set of The Daily Grind. The problem? The co-host's mic was on, so the audience (and the stars of DLFL) heard everything.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The protagonists and most of the other characters.
  • Berserk Button: Do not mess with Massie's Clique, or her friends.
    • Dylan discovers Svetlana's Berserk Button in her Summer Collection title. Compliments piss her off since it reminds her of how someone screaming that she sucked led to her losing a tennis match. Dylan uses this to get back at her, causing her to destroy things in fury and wreck her reputation.
  • Beta Bitch: Alicia is the Beta Bitch to Massie’s Alpha Bitch though has tried upsurping her role throughout the series.
    • There are also times when Olivia Ryan becomes Alicia’s Beta such as when she tries creating her own clique with knock-off members of the Pretty Committee.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Alicia, but her attempts to outdo Massie always fail.
  • Big Fancy House: Massie, Alicia. To a less emphasized degree, Dylan. In the first book when the girls are being picked up by the limo, the mansions are described. Claire even tries taking a picture of one of the houses.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Alicia. She often pretends to be sweet and kind to get others to trust her when often times, she can be even more of a bitch than Massie.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Literally addressed in "Best Friends for Never" when the girls present various "uniforms" for different colorations (the blonde role being split between Kristen's dark and Claire's light, brunette as Massie, and redhead as Dylan.)
  • Butt-Monkey: Dylan becomes this post-Flanderization. Even her borderline eating disorder isn't really taken seriously.
  • Buffy Speak: Massie-speak, including her catch phrases mentioned below.
  • Catchphrases:
    • Alicia: "Point."; "given" ; "I heart X.".
    • Massie: "Ehmagawd", "Ah-bviously"; "Ah-dorable"; "Are you a... Then why are you...?".
  • Buxom Is Better: Alicia. She has huge breasts for her age, sufficiently large that it's a plot point. The boys at her school love her and shower her with affection. The other girls, including her Girl Posse, make fun of how absurd she looks at thirteen with such big breasts. Later we find out they're implants.
  • Clear My Name: The latter half of the first book after Claire hijacks Massie's IM.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The entire Pretty Committee, especially Massie and Alicia. They often take measures to usurp the other, such as Alicia switching the votes in a fashion competition to win against Massie. The girls don’t show much loyalty to each other and are willing to do whatever it takes to be the Alpha.
  • Costume Porn: Outfits are usually described in this manner.
  • Determinator: After Kristen fails with the Glambition project, she turns in a bankruptcy report as her project.
  • The Ditz: Alicia's friend and almost beta Olivia. She is described as a “dumb blonde” and shown to be naive. Massie calls her Duh-livia since she’s not too smart.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Alicia. She’s Massie’s Dragon as her Beta Bitch but often plots against her to take the role of Alpha. Examples include switching ballots so that she and Olivia win the fashion competition, and trying to start her own clique.
  • Egg Sitting: With synthetic babies in Claire's class in Bratfest at Tiffany's.
  • Extruded Book Product: Although the entire series was written by a single author, the series was originally conceived by a company that specializes in marketing online content towards teens, and then searched for a writer to realize the series (eventually settling on an MTV marketing and product development specialist with no prior novel publishing experience, which may explain some of the series' flaws).
  • Fallen Princess: Subverted. When Massie’s family loses their money in the last book, she goes through great lengths to hide that and avoid this trope so she could keep being the alpha.
  • The Film of the Book: Well, a Direct-to-DVD movie.
  • Fauxreigner: Alicia's dad (Mr. Rivers) isn't Spanish, but pretended to be so that he could marry his spanish supermodel wife, he then changed his surname to Rivera. Make of that what you will.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flanderization:
    • With each book Dylan becomes a bigger Big Eater and gets more disgusting.
    • And Kristen gets more paranoid and uptight about grades and getting grounded.
    • And Claire obsesses more over her relationship status with Cam.
    • And Layne becomes more and more of a Granola Girl - and then further Flanderized into an outright New-Age Retro Hippie Soapbox Sadie.
  • Four-Girl Ensemble: Before Claire's arrival there's the sanguine one (Dylan), the choleric one (Kristen), the melancholic one (Alicia), and the phlegmatic one (Massie)
  • Friendly Enemy / Friendly Rivalry: Massie and Layne edge closer and closer to this towards the end. Massie also admits one of the reasons why she admitted Claire into the PC was because she was impressed with how she stood up to her during the events of the first book.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's occasionally implied that several characters have one. Alicia’s parents are hinted at as encouraging to get plastic surgery for her boobs and the other Pretty Committee members seem to be victims of parental neglect. They do whatever they want while their parents fail to realize what’s going on.
  • Gag Boobs: Alicia's, which are implied to be fake. Keep in mind she's around twelve.
  • Gaiden Book: The "Summer Collection"; the subsequent books still lean on plot developments that happen in these books (particularly the events in Kristen) but for the most part they're stories that take place outside of the PC.
  • Gasshole: Dylan burps and also farts a lot.
  • Gecko Ending: The movie's ending implies that Massie leaves the Committee and starts hanging out with Claire. In the book, not so much. This was most likely due to the fact that a sequel probably wasn't going to be made.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Dylan, though a few girls in Real Life might have it.
  • Genius Ditz: Massie is amazingly proficient with History and Sociology (Even going so far as to nicknaming Julius Caesar J.C. which causes some issues) but still doesn't see that the Pretty Committee is kind of just holding her back from doing something important and/or worthwhile with her young life.
  • Girl Posse:
    • Kristen, Alicia, Dylan, and Claire make up Massie's Girl Posse.
    • For multiple times throughout the series, Alicia forms her own girl posses, one of them even includes boys.
    • Kristen and Layne have their own secret Girl Posse.
  • Good Counterpart: The Witty Committee, which is a lot like the Pretty Committee, except with girls who actually treat each other like friends and not employees/pawns.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: It's a series about the Alpha Bitch and her Girl Posse, and their frequent squabbles.
  • Hero Protagonist: Dylan, Kristen and Claire in their eponymous-titled Summer Collection books. Proof that these girls really are better off without the Pretty Committee.
  • High-School Dance: Middle school dance, actually. Nina goes to the Love Struck dance at Octavian Country Day School dance with Derrington, who is Massie's crush.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Allie-Rose Singer, who's a good foot taller than every other girl in the seventh grade.
  • Indecisive Parody: Is the series making fun of these girls, showing how messed up they are, or glorifying them?
  • In-Universe Nickname:
    • Massiechists (People who are obsessed with Massie and wish she liked them.)
    • Leesh for Alicia and Kris, Dyl and Mass for... Kristen, Dylan and Massie.
    • Derrington for Derrick.
    • Claire is called "Kuh-laire" in the first couple of books.
  • It's All About Me: Several characters have this mindset. Whenever Massie or Alicia is concerned, it often becomes the defining theme.
  • Jerkass: Alicia is undisputably one, Massie goes between this and The Power of Friendship, Kristen is only one when provoked, Dylan is never this and Claire only when she wants something.
  • The Joy of X: Dial L for Loser, a play on Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder.
  • Karma Houdini: The Pretty Committee get away with a lot of things, but Alicia is always forgiven no matter what she does to the committee.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Played with in-series:
    Jay Lyons: What's our name?
    Claire Lyons :Lyons
    Jay: And what do Lyons do?
    Claire: They roar!
    • Massie Block: She's a massive block for everyone else in the Pretty Committee
    • Alicia (Leesh): She's a leash (or leech) on everyone else
    • Dylan Marvil is a Subversion: She doesn't exactly see herself as a marvel
  • Mixed Ancestry: It's revealed that Alicia's dad is not Hispanic like his wife, which would make Alicia part Hispanic, part (presumably) non-Hispanic white.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: Taken to the point where it's actually genuinely disturbing. It's unknown if this was the author's intention. This might also be the cause of Massie's intelligence.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Claire, in the beginning and to a lesser degree throughout the books.
  • Not So Different:
    • Eventually Massie and Alicia (When they're running separate Cliques.)
  • It could be argued that one of the themes of the series is Claire's gradual transformation into being a Massie clone.
  • Operation: Jealousy:
    • Claire dates Dempsey so that Cam will get jealous.
    • Arguably the whole point of Alicia's (multiple) attempts to start her own clique, especially the first one, right down to explicitly trying to find "knockoffs" of Dylan and Kristen (with the implication that Olivia is either a knockoff Claire or a knockoff of Alicia herself).
    • Alicia's and Claire's cat-and-mouse game over Josh and Cam in The Pretty Committee Strikes Back
    • Bratfest at Tiffany's ends up having a rather complicated and multi-layered one with different people operating it at different levels. They even refer to it by the Trope Name.
  • Parody Retcon: When the series suffered major backlash in The New '10s, the author made several posts about it online that strongly come across as this trope.
  • Pastimes Prove Personality:
    • Horse-riding Massie is a rich snob. Various other rich and spoiled characters play tennis, golf, squash, etc.
    • Soccer star Kristen constantly drives herself harder both on the field and academically to keep up her scholarships and is arguably the most driven of the PC.
    • Likewise most of the Briarwood boys that show up in more than one book are also soccer stars, and are portrayed as full-on jocks 24/7.
    • Layne's past times seem to revolve around protesting for random causes or activities that tend to be escapist when around Claire.
  • Perspective Flip:
    • The series focuses on a group of nasty middle-schoolers, making it a sort of 'Flip on middle-school and high-school fiction in general.
    • Alicia, Dylan, Claire and Kristen get their own books in The Summer Collection Series.
  • The Power of Friendship:
    • Suprisingly, the series actually runs on this, but it can be seen as a Deconstruction as well (Massie is aware of this trope and uses it to control not only her friends but the entire school).
    • The "Witty Committee" is a more straight-up version.
  • Product Placement: It's almost impossible to list all the clothing brands that appear in the series. They've caused the series to age very badly.
  • Punny Name:
    • Massie's IM name? Massiekur.
    • Most of the later book titles are themselves puns on something.
  • Reconstruction:
    • The plot of Kristen reads more like a typical "loser girls get back at the Alpha Bitch" Disney Channel-type of story.
    • So does Dylan to a lesser degree
    • Alicia is either this or a slightly modified Deconstruction depending on how you interpret it.
    • Starting with These Boots Are Made for Stalking the series tends to dip towards the "loser girl gets back at the Alpha Bitch" type of story too.
  • Rich Bitch: The Pretty Committee. Entitled, spoiled, and superficial, the girls flaunt their designer clothing and look down on people with less money than them. This is one of the reasons why Claire isn’t accepted by them in the beginning: Massie looks down on her for lack of money. This is also why Kristen is reluctant to confide in her friends that her family isn’t wealthy and she attends OCD on a scholarship. In the summer collection series, Massie acts horrified at having to get a summer job, failing to realize that there are many people out there who need to work hard for a living.
  • Riches to Rags: This happens to Massie in the last book of the series when her father loses his job. It’s shown that they’re not in poverty, they’re definitely not insanely wealthy like before. It doesn’t last long since he gets a new job.
  • Secret Identity / Secret Keeper: It turns out Kristen is secret BFFs with Layne Abeley! It's something they've both sworn to keep from the rest of the Pretty Committee no matter the cost, and Kristen actually feels closer to the "Witty Committee" than she does the Pretty Committee but fears what Massie would do if she found out
    • Which is how Kristen knows Layne flooded Briarwood Academy on purpose
    • And the Witty Committee impersonated Skye Hamilton in order to get her accepted into Alphas Academy, thereby kicking off the Alphas Spin-Off
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Cam's dark hair randomly becomes golden-brown.
    • The dress code for Briarwood seemingly changes from the first book to the second.
    • Alicia's father is Antonio in the first two books and Len in every book after Revenge of the Wannabes, though this might be due to the fact that everybody knows where he's actually from after that book.
    • Brownie the Horse manages to change from a brown mare, to a white stallion, and then back to a female again. Albeit this time a brown and white one.
    • The name of the pro-tennis star that antagonizes Dylan goes from Illana to Svetlana over the course of two books. Justified as it's mentioned theat Dylan paid her to change her name.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Constantly. The entire conflict of the third book is resolved because Massie donates a new school building so that the school gives up it's new uniform policy.
  • Shout-Out: The first four of the main series covers has the traditional Burberry pattern but in different colors.
  • The Sociopath: Massie shows several classic traits of sociopathy (there's a WMG detailing it), though it's unknown if she was intentionally written that way.
    • Alicia as well, possible even moerso than Massie. She doesn’t trust anyone and is always plotting against Massie. In her summer collection book, she has been shown to take even more underhanded measures to win against the competition.
  • Spin-Off: Alphas, which involves a much more fantastical setting.
  • Spoiled Brat: Massie sometimes acts like one to convince her father to do what she wants.
  • The Starscream: Alicia frequently tries to either take over Massie's clique or start her own.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • Lampshaded in Dial L for Loser with Claire: "No matter how much fun the girls had together, she would wake up the next morning and need to impress them all over again. It was as if their leave-in conditioners seeped into their hair follicles whiles they slept, permanently erasing 'cool Claire' from their memories."
    • Every time Alicia tries to overthrow Massie or start her own clique, she fails.
  • Subversion: Kristen compared to the rest of the series.
  • Talk Show: Dylan's mother Merri-Lee hosts a talk show called The Daily Grind
  • Theme Naming / Punny Name / Incredibly Lame Pun: See the list of book titles.
    • The schools include OCDnote , ADD, at a certain point BO (Briarwood and Octavian are combined for a while) and Massie's pre-Alpha school from the prequel is PMSnote .
    • Dylan is the target for a few of these, particularly from her mom or anybody trying to suck up to her mom: Daffi-Dyl, Marvil-ous, Dyl Pickles, etc.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Alicia. She's probably the closest to actually evil of all the Pretty Committee.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Layne continously has favorite snack foods for the moment. For a while in the early books, it was oatmeal.
    • Dylan has a new diet every book, to the point where it's a Running Gag.
  • Triang Relations:
    • Type 4: In The Clique, Massie falls for Chris-Abeley (full name basis), who has a girlfriend named Fawn.
    • Type 3: In Boys R Us both Massie and Layne want Dempsey. Too bad for both of them, he really wants Kristen. Too bad for Kristen.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Several of the middle-school aged characters are implied to already be sexually active. Truth in Television, unfortunately, but it's still pretty disgusting.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: And how! The reason Massie initially doesn't want to date Derrington is because of his obsession with shorts in all seasons. It's eventually revealed that the reason Derrington wore shorts all the time was because he lost a bet and the loser had to wear shorts all the time, no matter what. Eventually, he loses another bet and has to wear his clothes backwards all the time for a certain period of time.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • Massie, who is an Alpha Bitch.
    • Alicia in her Summer Collection title. She becomes more evil without the Pretty Committee and left alone with Nina.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Massie. A few other names count as well.
  • Written Sound Effect:
    • In P.S. I Loathe You, a pigeon calls, "Hehhhhhhhhhh, hoooooooooo. Hehhhhhhhhhhhh, hooooooooooo. Heeeeeeeee, Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" as it poops on the Pretty Committee.
    • This is hardly the only example. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find many pages that don't.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: A toned down 'tween' version between Massie and Alicia (And hence the Pretty Committee and eventually the Soul-M8s)
  • Younger Than They Look: One of the rare cases where everyone is implied to be this.


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