Reading Between the Lines


Do you guys remember those Lisi Harrison books called, “The Clique”? For those who didn’t, I’ll fill you in and provide you with a little story…

Picture Gossip Girl but for the younger generation: “The Clique” follows the lives of 5 pre-teens living in Westchester, NY. These weren’t your typical middle-schoolers. Massie (The HBIC*) and her friends, Alicia, Dylan, and Kristen lead privileged and extravagant lives. When new girl, Claire, comes to live in Massie’s guest house, everything changes. For one, these girls are absolute cunts to Claire because she’s not as rich as them. They make her go through hell-and-back to impress them until they slowly but surely accept her into “The Clique”. But as the author, Lisi Harrison, says: “The only thing harder than getting in is staying in”.

As an 11 year old girl, I skipped over the reality of the books and focused solely on the lavish details. I would become entranced by the beautiful words used to describe these girls and their lifestyles. What I wouldn’t have given to go to a slumber party thrown by Massie or gone shopping with Dylan. My child-like mind was too fascinated by the details to dive deep into character analysis. I knew these girls were bitchy but I didn’t realize WHY they were bitchy.

(Hang in there. I have a point to make.)

Eventually, I grew out of the books and switched to the more mature series, “Gossip Girl”. My 8th and 9th grade were spent escaping into these books and learning about the pressures of affluent high school girls living in Manhattan. They dealt with things like SATs, losing their virginities, and debutante balls. Because I was a little bit older, I started understanding the characters more. Blair (another HBIC) was so fucked up because her mother was negligent, her father turned out to be gay and leaves her, and Serena, Blair’s best friend, sleeps with Blair’s boyfriend and abandons her too! No wonder she was so love-starved!

Now, I haven’t read those books in ages but I decided to flip through one of “The Clique” books for some imagination and possibly a cure for my writer’s block. This time, being 20 years old, I was able to read between the lines and truly comprehend Massie’s behavior. Back then, I saw her as a bitch who had everything and HAD to be a bitch to protect her popularity. Now, I see her as an insecure girl who craved attention and validation. There is actually a part in the first book that proves this point. As Claire, a poor girl from Florida arrives, Massie decides to get dressed up and flaunt her things to “show Claire what she will be missing”. Rather than be polite and friendly (like any normal person meeting someone new for the first time), Massie makes it her goal to make Claire feel less than. Massie does this to make herself feel better.

Why I decided to write about this is because I recently had a tiff with a friend of mine who actually reminds me a lot of Massie. This “friend” had insulted my boyfriend and our lifestyle, simply saying “it’s not good enough”. Naturally, I took offense to that and snapped because I LOVE HIM. You defend the ones you love, right?

Her response?

“If you’re getting so defensive, then clearly you’re not confident in yourself”

Of course, I wanted to reach through the phone and smack her but these books gave me a new perspective. It clicked. I am confident and happy in my relationship. I don’t need to prove anything to this girl because she is clearly unsure of herself, jealous, and SINGLE. That’s all.

I’m back, babes.



*** Also, HBIC means Head Bitch in Charge

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