From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Claire Lyons moves with her parents from Florida to wealthy Westchester County, NY. Until they can get settled, the family stays in the guest house of Mr. Lyons's college buddy, who happens to have a daughter who is also in seventh grade. Expected to welcome her, Massie instead chooses to make Claire's life miserable for no other reason than she's the new girl. Massie enlists her clique of friends at Octavian Country Day School, all part of the beautiful and popular crowd, to help with the harassment, which ranges from catty comments on Claire's clothes to spilling red paint on her white jeans in a conspicuous spot. Tired of it all, Claire tries to fight back, but then the abuse worsens. The book has trendy references kids will love, including Starbucks in the school, designer clothes, and PalmPilots for list making. However, this trendiness doesn't make up for the shallowness of the characters or the one-dimensional plot. Nor is the cruelty of the clique redeemed with any sort of a satisfying ending. The conclusion leaves one with the feeling that a sequel is in the works. Amy Goldman Koss's The Girls (Dial, 2000) shows the same cruelty of girls with a more realistic story and resolution.–Diana Pierce, Running Brushy Middle School, Cedar Park, TX
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Gr. 5-8. Head-to-toe Calvin Klein is in. So is Ralph Lauren. Burberry is so out. And as for Claire's platform navy Keds and two-year-old, white Gap jeans--doesn't she know that clothes are like milk or cheese with a "best-before date" and a limited shelf life? Claire is clueless when she enters seventh grade, a newcomer and total outsider when it comes to [...] Massie's friends at an exclusive private girls' school. Massie leads her clique in humiliating [Claire] (including splashing those jeans with red paint to make it look like Claire has her period), and the instant messaging is very mean. It's also hilarious, especially because the viewpoints switch between the two [girls] and Claire gets her revenge--sort of. There's too much detail about how the superwealthy live, but Harrison, who writes for MTV, knows peer pressure, and her first novel has fun with the tyranny of brand names ("she was wearing . . ." is a constant). Buy this quickly, though, because the very specifics that teens will recognize will be "so out" before the year is over. Hazel Rochman
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