Dial L for Loser: A Clique Novel

Common Sense Media says

Tween book is S for superficial, C for catty.





What parents need to know

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

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

Not applicable

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.

Not applicable

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Lisi Harrison
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:November 13, 2006
Number of pages:268
Publisher's recommended age(s):12
Read aloud:12
Read alone:12

This review of Dial L for Loser: A Clique Novel was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bydancegurlieexo01 January 10, 2011

I say it is on for 11 and older

I love the books it gives you something to think about. While I'm reading I think about what it would be like if i was those characters.
What other families should know
Educational value
Kid, 11 years old April 5, 2011

Perfect for 'tweens'

This book is a 'perf' as Massie would say my 11 year old daughter LOVES the series! :)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old May 5, 2011

Two favorites

CLAIRE MASSIE my two favorites!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Great messages
Great role models


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