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Yet another cliquey series, but with a nicer star.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Reed strives to be popular, even though the girls in the top clique are not kind to her.


At a party, Thomas holds Reed down against her will -- then pushes her to the ground in anger.


Reed loses her virginity and also sneaks around to be with her boyfriend.


Some swearing and mean talk.


A sprinkling: Mercedes, Kerastase hair products, Abercrombie, Coke, Lucky Charms

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Thomas deals drugs, other characters drink; Reed's mother is an addict, as are Thomas' parents.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Reed obsesses over a clique of popular girls who can sometimes be quite mean: They pressure her to steal a test, break up with her boyfriend, and spike a teacher's drink; later they even conspire to have another girl thrown out for cheating. Also, Reed's boyfriend -- whom she loses her virginity to -- drinks, deals drugs, and pushes her down in a rage. There is also some swearing and mean talk, along with a little label name-dropping.

What's the story?

When Reed transfers to Easton Academy, she wants to escape her old life, including an abusive, addicted mother. Usually a loner, Reed soon earns attention from two sources: A clique of the school's most popular girls, and a handsome bad boy. But each pressures her to make a choice -- and Reed is not sure she who she can really trust, if anyone.

Is it any good?


This series starter has a lot of the trappings of the clique lit genre: An elite boarding school, a group of beautiful and popular girls, and lots of mean talk and pranks. It also has another common trapping: The debut sets up a lot of intrigue, but nothing is resolved (and it's unclear what lessons the protagonist has actually learned). What sets this book a little apart is that protagonist Reed is a realistic and sympathetic character. Blue-collar Reed can't wait to escape her boring hometown and her abusive, addicted mother. But she's flawed, too -- when Thomas accuses her of using him, he's right. And she uses the popular Billings Girls to a certain degree as well, though she's not driven by materialism, but rather a deep longing to belong.

In the end, readers will connect with Reed -- and all the drama she finds at Easton Academy, from discovering that her boyfriend is the school drug dealer to suspecting that the Billings Girls helped get someone expelled. Teens taking a break from required reading will likely find enough fun here to have them RSVPing for the next installment, Invitation Only.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of the clique lit genre. Are these types of books simply escape, or do they promote dangerous values? Do they impact the way girls treat one another -- or themselves?

Book details

Author:Kate Brian
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Publication date:June 27, 2006
Number of pages:240

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Teen, 14 years old Written byi_loV-katE_brian April 9, 2008

kate brian is a teenge idol

i t˙ink that everyone should read this book all the books like i have there funny sad emotional i love them it very good to read if your 14 n over then yes i recommend this book i mean yes there curseing n sex bu it all censored it not going into detail it like a qiuck 11/2 second the metion sex and the drugs yes bit like the sex it very low not any big deal it like any regular shcool. if that was a school i would want to go there and never leave i cryed when i was reading this book i smiled and it was so good i read it in 2 hours all whole novel nd it usally takes me atlease 2 days to read a novel not this cant wait tell the nxt vbook to be published sincerly shapelle aka sappy aka i_love_kate_brian
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

one of my favorite books

i loved it! i read all of the books that came out
Adult Written byMcGeek998 August 15, 2010

It's a good book!

It's one of the best books I've ever read, but Noelle is a HORRIBLE role model as are the other girls. And the language isn't very appropriate.
What other families should know
Too much swearing