The Clique has been reformatted — manga style. The story is about the sweet, innocent girl, Claire, who starts at a new school, only to have the popular girls make her life a nightmare. Worst part? Claire is staying in the guest house of the most popular of them all, Massie! Massie lives a dream life with three best friends, her own phone, a horse, a dog, and a wardrobe that is completely replenished yearly. So Massie has a real problem that home grown Claire does not bow down and worship all of her glory. This leads to an all out war between them that drags in everyone else.
I suppose I should have known what I was getting myself into before I picked up The Clique graphic novel. I haven’t read the original Clique series, but I knew that it was a teen drama a la Gossip Girl meets Mean Girls. Still, I was not prepared for the harsh, shallow nature of the interactions between characters. It has a level of cattiness that can only be seen in middle school girls or on a Real Housewives show. Of course, since we are dealing with middle school girls, in a rich, exclusive world, the malevolence is not only understandable — it’s required.
Although, the story’s predictability gets annoying at times, many middle schoolers will appreciate how smart it makes them feel. The dialogue mimics the myriad of popular rich girl stories in a way that feels more or less authentic. The drama follows suit with a lot of moments that could have been avoided if everyone just learned to communicate better! Yet, in middle school, talking about such things would be the end-all-be-all of awful, so I get it.
The art is cute, although I preferred the introductory glossy color pages to the black and white main text. Without the color, I absolutely cannot tell the difference between two of the characters. This makes for a few moments of confusion when they’re fighting. The drawings are the American style manga that has been getting ever more popular in the last few years. They convey the emotions of the characters in an interesting, fun way, though I could not point out any particular unique traits.
The book will not be for everyone. In fact, you wouldn’t be able to pay most guys enough to read it. However, the manga is a middle school version of the Gossip Girl stories that fascinate a particular demographic of females. It has a few especially relatable scenes, and I think this would be a quick, easy read that quite a few girls would enjoy.
by Lisa Harrison, Yishan Li
Art by Yishan Li
Yen Press, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: Teen