Dial L for Loser: A Clique Novel

Book review by
Pam Gelman, Common Sense Media
Dial L for Loser: A Clique Novel Book Poster Image
Tween book is S for superficial, C for catty.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 107 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Exclusion, cattiness, back-stabbing by girls in clique. Some parents don't have a clue that their kids are mean-spirited and behaving badly. The presentation lacks any life lessons about maturation or reflecting on your actions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

These are not the type of people you want in your life, let alone influencing your children.


Discussion of first experiences with boys (lip-kissing, using tongues, being felt-up and horny). Descriptions of the appeal of a thin body; one girl thinks she's too big and has large "boobs." A boy "grinding [the] backside" of another while dancing.


Constant name-dropping of designer labels, stores, beverages, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Male actor holds unlit cigarette in mouth for look; parents drink alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this novel is the sixth in a series about wealthy, privileged girls who are obsessed with material items, boys, and themselves. This book continues the degradation of the "new" girl, a middle-class "nerd" desperate to fit in. Most of the dialogue is about purchasing of designer labels, finding ways to "lip-kiss" boys, or scheming to bring another kid down.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygraceface April 9, 2008

I loved this book!

Dial L for Loser is a well-written book. There may be some issues with cliques and social behavior, but this is something we deal with in everyday life. This bo... Continue reading
Adult Written bybusymomof3 April 9, 2008

lighten up =]

i read this book with my daughter and i thouhg tit was great. .and some of the people who disliked the book need to face the facts; this is how it is. Maby not... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 24, 2013

The clique

I overall love this book. This book makes you realize that everyone has a sweet side. This book uses medium language but someone maybe 11-12 could handle it.
Teen, 15 years old Written byCrystalCloud March 5, 2013

These books are ah-mazing

This is my favorite book, in my favorite series! I ah-dore these books! I don't know why its getting these iffy ratings. The books do have postive messages... Continue reading

What's the story?

Having been expelled from Octavian Country Day School, the Pretty Committee members (Massie, Dylan, Alicia, Kristen, and newcomer Claire) are up to their elbows in shopping, hanging out, and talking about themselves. An opportunity arises to audition in L.A. for a part in a tween film that stars their favorite teen actors.

Surprisingly, Claire -- the least glamorous of the bunch -- beats out Massie and Alicia for the part. She develops movie friendships with two teen stars, aggravating the others even though they land roles reporting on the movie happenings for an early-morning news show.

Tricks, miscommunications, and back-stabbing put Claire right back where she started -- at the bottom of the clique heap -- though there's a hint of potential film career.

Is it any good?

There's no doubt that author Lisi Harrison, a writer for MTV, knows the female tween crowd -- what appeals, what's trendy, what's enticing. And clearly with the following of the Clique series, she's touched a nerve with this demographic.

But instead of creating a novel that helps girls see through the shallow world of cliques like the book's Pretty Committee, DIAL L FOR LOSERS perpetuates stereotypes of kids, specifically girls, being malicious, gossipy, jealous, materialistic, and unable to learn from experiences in a way that shows maturation and taking responsibility for yourself. While the "nerdy" (and most sympathetic) character does appear to get a taste of popularity and learn something about herself, the others are as self-involved at the end of the book as they were in the beginning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the Pretty Committee as an example of cliques. Is the depiction of this group realistic?

  • Why do you think this series is so successful?

  • Is it realistic for kids to have such easy access to money and so few limits imposed by parents?

  • Why does the "nerdy" girl stick with the clique?

  • What would you do in her shoes? Does anyone you know act like this in real life?

Book details

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