The Ashleys #1: There's a New Name in School



Standard clique book with same mean-girl behavior.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The girls are spoiled and mean. When they aren't shopping, they are scheming and lying. Standard clique issues with status, privilege, and anti-social behavior.


Pinching, tripping each other, and a kid has a severe allergic reaction to nuts.


Some sexual humor, body-part discussion, and wanting to be "sexy."


Slang like "biatch" and "'ho."


Yikes! Call the commercial cops. Every high-end brand name and store imaginable: Chanel, Fendi, Starbucks, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that it's all about the $2000 purses and $900 sweaters here. When they aren't shopping, the characters are scheming to get to the top of the social ladder or scheming to stay there. Parents are either absent, turning a blind eye, or trying to buy acceptance like their middle schoolers. The book is not as mean or racy as others in this genre, but it's far from sweet.

What's the story?

There is a reigning clique in Miss Gamble's Preparatory School for Girls. The Ashleys are perfect at being perfect. The right clothes, hair, friends, the right name: Ashley. When Lauren gets an extreme makeover in time for 7th grade she decides that the Ashleys' reign should come to an end.

Is it any good?


While full of name brands and catty behavior, this book isn't as cruel and risqué as other clique books -- and thankfully, this light diversion is also a fast-paced read. Popular author Melissa de la Cruz makes her characters easy to relate to and root for, despite their cattiness. Readers will want Lauren Page to overcome her awkward past, but most likely will cringe when she starts to imitate the bad behavior of the Ashleys, like ditching her old "uncool" friends.

Pretty girls say and do mean things, and parental figures are usually nowhere to be found, so there's plenty to talk about with tweens/teens for parents who allow some guilty-pleasure reading now and then. At least the sexual content is dialed down a few notches here. Now that the Gossip Girl books are also a TV show, you'd almost call this book refreshing. Almost.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure, materialism, and self-acceptance. Do you feel pressure to act a certain way around your friends? Why is it more important to be yourself?

Book details

Author:Melissa de la Cruz
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 8, 2008
Number of pages:272
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 13

This review of The Ashleys #1: There's a New Name in School was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 10 years old March 17, 2010
LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!grown up may think its not gd but its brillllllllllll!! Lili and AA RUle
Kid, 11 years old February 9, 2013

Edgier Than Most Kid's Books

The language goes a little farther than slang- the father tells his twelve year old daughter she will "kick ass" and another twelve year old girl refers to her chauffeur who is nineteen years old as a "smart ass." This book is a smooth easy read but you may have to be older than ten to understand why when one girl's shirt went up people started wolf-whistling. Another girl lies about her age online using a sixteen year old boy by saying she is sixteen too although she is only twelve online. She also claims she can "sense" that he is hot and does not mention any other traits about him that she likes which may show impressionable or sensitive young kids that it is okay to like someone and supposedly "fall in love" with him if you can sense that he is hot. She lies about her age online with no consequence too.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old January 26, 2013

Bring On The Ashley's!

The book is really good. Don't listen to anyone else. It's a great smooth read for kids that are older. Five stars!


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide