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YMMV / The Clique

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  • 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 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.
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  • Author's Saving Throw: The fact that anything resembling Character Development happens very late into the series.
  • 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.
  • Designated Hero: Due to Values Dissonance, the entire Pretty Commmittee is this.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Disturbingly, Massie and Alicia get a lot of this (mostly by younger fans).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Layne, to many who dislike Alpha Bitches in general.
    • Claire, in the first couple books, before she became the mask.
  • 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 Aneurysm" 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 most people want to forget.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Recent events having to do with bullying have made this series incredibly hard to enjoy.
    • 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 to Hate: Massie and Alicia were presumably meant to be this.
  • 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 paedophilia and can be very off-putting.
    • 12-13 year old girls with breast implants.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The implication that Alicia was forced by her parents to get breast implants stands out due to how upsetting it is.
  • 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. Even back in the series' heyday there were many fans who geniunely disliked her.
  • 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 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.
  • Uncanny Valley: The photos on the covers of the books look
  • Wangst: Dylan and her weight.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Which is why this series probably won't get a revival anytime soon.
  • The Woobie: Claire, Dylan and Kristen.

Example of: