The Clique: Trash Talking or Talking Trash?

My friend Lauren thought she was sending good news when she emailed: “The Clique is on Business Insider’s list– 37 Best Books We’ve Ever Read! ” Good? I think nawt. My first thought was, “37? How random. I kind of like it.” My second thought was, “It’s a sign! Here I am contemplating a Clique follow-up and it appears on this list!  I heart your mysterious ways, Universe!!!” Then I read the blurb:

[The Clique is] definitely complete trash, but at the time I totally loved and related to the savagery of the girlfriend group the plot revolves around. They also had the best clothes. — Caroline Cakebread

Needless to say, my third, fourth and fifth thoughts were not as upbeat as one and two. Out of 37 novels, why was mine the only one that got dissed? Would I ever be good enough to sit at the adult table? And why did Caroline put it on a “best books” list if she thought it was complete trash?

Had it been an unkind review (of which I’ve had many) I would have accepted it with grace because critics criticize. That’s what they do. But this wasn’t supposed to be a critique. It was supposed to be a praise-fest. At least that’s what the title inferred.

Lauren said I should be grateful I made the list. My friend Amy wondered if Caroline downplayed her praise because The Clique isn’t very “literary” and she was ashamed of her pick. I agreed with both of them. But it wasn’t enough. I needed to hear it from Ms. Cakebread herself. (Oh yes I dzid!)

Keep in mind, I am not one to track down my detractors. But I do believe everything in life is either a gift or a lesson. And since this didn’t feel like a gift and I couldn’t figure out the lesson…

Behold Monday’s Twitter exchange:

ME: Thank you for including me. I was confused by the “complete trash” comment since you chose it for the list. I’m going to blog about this on Wednesday. I’d love your take if you’re interested.

CAKEBREAD: Ah yes, I hope I didn’t insult you. By ‘trash’ I meant the subject matter–wealthy teenager girl drama–and not the plot-lines, which I actually think are excellent and well suited for the audience you are trying to reach.

ME: It did not read the way you intended.

CAKEBREAD: It might have just been poor word choice on my part…Very curious though, are you planning to ‘trash’ me back?

ME: I would never do that. I look for life lessons and silver linings. Your words felt like a sucker punch to the gut, I’d rather learn from it than punch back.

CAKEBREAD: Oh, ok, I am so sorry about that! I sincerely am a big fan of the series and think they taught me a lot during my own tumultuous pre-teen years if that lessens the punch at all. 🙂

While the series may have taught Ms. Cakebread “a lot”, she failed to learn that words matter. They are the wardrobe of our thoughts. We must dress them accordingly.

And what did I learn?

  1. When someone hurts you, take a moment to consider what might be going on with them. Most times their behavior has more to do with their shortcomings than yours.
  2. Blog don’t bitch. Not everyone is going to act, say, do, or write what you want. In fact, most people won’t. Find a productive way to make sense of it. For me, that’s writing. What is it for you?
  3. Caroline Cakebread was very kind to respond to my texts. I believe she is a good person (with a great last name). Caroline, care to chime in? We’re all friends here. Anything to add? FYI- Nothing says I’m sorry like a stellar review of The Dirty Book Club. 🙂





The list:






Leave a Reply
  • Daniela Abreu Valazco says:

    Hey Lisi, I’m Danila, a ten-year-old who’ll be starting fifth grade in 4 days. I’m a mean-girl-loving person, who wishes Massie was real. You don’t care that I think of her as Macy, right? That name just sounds way more prettier! Do you think they’ll be any mean girls in fifth grade? Btw, R u up? Sorry 2 IMS late. Omg! Just rememb it’s 3 days. Pretty nurvous, advice? Do you love mean girls to? why did you make Alicia so dislikable?!

  • It's Zelda says:

    Hi! I rly wish this place was still active it feels so… ancient! The clique books mean SO much to me, that I even recommended it to my friends and I now, we have a mini book club. All my friends read it, and they all luv it!!! TYSM LISI I AH-DORE YOU AND THE SERIES I cant express it enough but I reread all the clique books like maybe 10 times (im not kidding!!!) I luv you and all the hard work you put in <3<3

  • It's _ Zelda says:

    I feel a wise writer coming… I think you should write it! Slay!

  • Cliquefangirl21 says:

    I would absolutely love a new clique book! They are my favorites! I am trying to continue the series on an app but obviously you will he given credit. But one question, will our all time favorite ships be there? I honestly heart Alicia and Josh, Cam and Claire, and Massie and Landon but I guess they’re over *cries*. Anyways, I am so excited for it when is it coming out?!

  • Alexis says:

    I think the follow up novel should be that the girls all wound up at the same college, but aren’t friends anymore. Massie lost contact with them long ago, but moves back to America for college. Alicia failed to govern the Pretty Committee well. Massie’s mission is to bring the girls back together to form the Pretty Committee 2.0. The back cover would look somewhat like this:
    Massie Block: Is back! With a tinge of a British accent and the same smell of Chanel no.19 lingering on her, she is ready to hop back on the Pretty Committee train. But what happens when she discovers it’s crashed?
    Alicia Rivera: Has disbanded the Pretty Committee. Who say’s Hermia is always right? Alicia was ready to lead, but her betas weren’t ready to follow.
    Dylan Marvil: Is still a star on Marvilous Marvils. So why in the world would she have a B-for beta tap dancer lead her?
    Kristen Gregory: Is once again on a scholarship. But at NYU, green stands for the economy,not money. When she joins a group of tree hugging hippies, she discovers her world is not tied to it’s roots.
    Claire Lyons: Has not only broken up with the Pretty Committee, but Cam too! 5 years wasted! When she discovers Massie’s return, she is up for a new adventure to remove her mind form the old one that’s just ended.

  • Alaina says:

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO A CLIQUE FOLLOW UP! I love your books so much. I am 26 and still read them all of the time haha!

  • Kayla Murray says:

    I am doing an interview w/ u and have some q’s
    1. How did u get ur inspiration 2 write the clique?
    2. Have any of ur own books made u cry?
    3. Does writing energize or exghaust u?
    4. Do you have friends that are published authors?
    5. Do you want each of your books to be.. sort of out there by themselves or do u want them 2 have connections?
    6. How popular was “The Clique” when it first came out?
    7. Did you decide 2 continue with the series or did ur readers?
    were u bullied yourself like Claire, and sometimes other members of “The Clique”?
    9. What’s ur favorite under- apprieciated novel?
    10. As a writer, what would u choose as ur spirit animal?
    11. How many unpublished or half finished books do u have?
    12. What’s the hardest part about writing for Cam and Derrington?
    13. What parts did you edit out of “Sealed With A Diss”?
    14. How often do u write?
    15. How many books have u written in ur whole career?
    16. If u did not become a writer, what would u b come?
    17. How do you select the names 4 ur characters?
    18. What is your favorite childhood book?
    19. How long on average does it take u 2 finish a book?

  • Alexandra says:

    I just wanted to know if there was going to be a second movie?

  • R.R. says:

    Hi! I just wanted to say that another Clique book would would be amazing 😩 I’m 21 and this series was a solid part of my childhood. I always found the writing to be extremely witty and I absolutely loved the characters you created! Out of curiosity (ok more of I’ve been dying to know for the past 393627392937556 years) what is Massie’s full name? Is Massie short for something like Madison?

  • Shelbi says:

    You handled this with so much grace! Hell ya! There have been several times that someone has insulted me and I have been nowhere near as level headed and as nice as you were. I’m taking notes! She should understand how to pick her words carefully at her age.

    Also I grew up on The Clique and if you wrote another I don’t think I could handle my excitement. Your books are not trash. Please keeping writing

  • Nancy Scerbo says:

    Hi Lisi! Can you please please please do a clique update!!!! I love all the characters as if they are real (especially Massie, duh) You are seriously so talented (don’t forget it) and your books are what made me like reading when I was in middle school and now I’m an English major about to get my degree and pursue a career in writing. I want you to know even if there is no clique update (but please try to make it happen if you can) that your work has inspired me so much and I truly will never forget the clique series and all its greatness!!! Seriously, thank you! 💜💜💜<3

    -Nancy Scerbo

  • ... says:

    a clique follow up???? YASSSSS

  • FashionConfused? says:

    Hey Lisi! what is in style right now?

  • Stef says:

    As an aspiring writer myself, every artistic person who puts his or her work out there will be critiqued—whether harshly, bluntly, unfairly, ect … When I posted my query letter on a website to get critiqued, I didn’t take the criticisms quite well (I was really young and fresh out of high school). I have improved with critique since then, and if I could go back in time, I would’ve graciously accepted the critique like I would now. Taking a step back from one’s work and looking at it objectively from another persons POV can help you see flaws in your work. However, I hate when people don’t give out constructive criticism that can’t help their work (such as this case).

    Of course, I should have wrote down what sort of critique I wanted at that time (not blunt) and add that I was new to it (go easy on me until I feel more comfortable with blunt remarks).

    Oh, and I heart the clique series. I’m so excited for your new book and can’t wait for more to come in the future.

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Stef, I have so much to say to you about this. For one thing, why did you make that public? That’s just asking for criticism. You have to find one or two people you trust and give them your work. Ideally, this is one person who is more established in the field than you. And another who is your target audience.

      When giving it to someone, it’s best to say what you’re looking for in advance: check for grammar errors…how is the pacing?…where do you zone out? If not you will get a whole bunch of useless feedback that will derail you.

      Moving forward do whatever you can to become your own best editor. Commit to several drafts and take breaks in between so you can read with fresh eyes.

      And don’t let anyone read it until you are clear on what you’re trying to say and happy with the way you said it. That way, if you get something that doesn’t jibe with your vision you can dismiss it and file it under, ‘their problem, not yours’.

      xoxo Lisi

  • Burp says:

    ehmagawd! is there going be a character in your new book that is good at insults like Massie?

  • Blair says:

    Thank gawd (haha) she didn’t actually call The Clique trash! Being that’s it’s my all time favorite book series for life, if anyone ever says anything bad about it, I’m over here like “just wait a minute now…” Nobody trashes The Clique on my watch. This may sound weird, but The Clique has actually been such a huge part of my life every since I started reading it years ago. It’s because of this series and your writing that I starting getting into writing. It’s actually the whole reason behind why I have a blog today. My first blog was actually a Dylan Marvil blog where I wrote fanfictions following the life of an older version of her. I just can’t express how much this series means to me and it always will. I still read it often, write fanfics about it, and still try to get other people to read it.

    Also when I read that you’re thinking of doing a continuation of it, I let out a sound that I’m pretty sure wasn’t even human.

  • Raquelle says:

    I love the clique series. It was one of my favorite growing, but it seems to me Cakebread played cover up. She ‘glamourized’ her trashing the series, but that’s how it looks to me.

  • Tiana says:

    Hi Lisi! What is your favorite song right now?

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      I’m so bad at answering favorites. I will say this: my current favorite Pandora station is Salt-N-Pepa. It’s the best!

  • Priscilla says:

    Lisi! Your back! YAY

  • Anita says:

    Oh my gosh I have not read a Blah-g from you in forever! Man have I missed you and your books. You have tweeted me a couple of times saying you are soon to return but you haven’t! I am glad are back but I am so sorry you were hurt that way. The Clique was a super cute series that I hold dearly and still have in my personal library and I don’t think I will ever get rid of them.

    I would love to see a new Clique series with the girls older now that your fans have grown up! I am even wanting to re-read them now that you were active again.

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      I love it!!! Thank you fir waiting for me. A girl has to go dark every now and then. I’m so happy to be back though. I missed everyone madly.

      Xoxo Lisi

      • Alexis says:

        Dear Lisi,
        Massie Block was the epitome of my teenage years. I am an aspiring film director and wanted to have your permission to write more clique movies. Of course there would be a new cast but the new generation is missing out on the best drama novel series of the 21st century. Not many of them read that much anymore so it would make a good movie.

      • Lisi Harrison says:

        Funny, I am working on a follow-up book right now. The Pretty Committee in their 20s! Maybe you can make that your next movie. Good luck.
        xoxo Lisi

  • Lauren says:

    Omg! I had a similar situation with a good friend this week. She asked me a very rude question that I literally just wanted to ignore. I didn’t know how to respond at first. Until I asked my boyfriend for some advice. He said to just respond friendly but with some honesty. It helped a lot because she actually didn’t respond to me after that. She also talked to me the next day about something totally different. I guess it because it was a lowkey drama answer that I gave her. But thank you for sharing your post with us! I’m proud you got to the bottom of what that girl was saying. Haha I don’t know if she wanted some drama or what! Can’t wait for next weeks post! 😘😘😘

  • Shannon says:

    If you perceive the subject matter of girl-on-girl drama as “trash,” I think you’ve missed the entire point of the series being a jab at how silly girls can be (as pre-teens and even as adults) and how outlandish some of the events in the series are to reflect it (like flying in on a helicopter with a miniature pony, or literally everything in Alphas).

  • Paola says:

    Pleaaassseeee come out with an updated Clique! I’m in college and still reach for it when I’m feeling down and need a nostalgic pick me up! These books ignited my love for reading and writing and if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have become an Fashion Design major/ English minor! Love you!

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Working on it!!! I promise. Thanks for the encouragement. If there are any new fashion ideas you want me to include let me know.

  • Tiana says:

    Hey Lisi! Have you ever wonder if the next generation will forget all about fashion? Because in my school, It’s all about sports brands and I hate when popular sporty girls comes up to me and judge me because I don’t wear Nike, Adidas and etc.. I heard a quote saying like, “Be yourself” and “Don’t care about what people say” Then when I moved into 7 grade, my friends clothes style had changed, they look very different..They just wanted to look like those ratchet popular girls and try be their friends.

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Every time other people’s choices and actions drive me insane (OFTEN!) I think of the initials F.O.M. which stand for Focus On Me. It puts my attention back on the only thing in this world I can control: Me.

      No one made a difference in this world by fitting in. No one you admire (famous or not) is “typical”. My guess is that the people admire have the courage and the sensibility to do things differently and to own it. Be that person. Fitter inners are boring.

  • Tay says:

    Omg I totally agree!

  • Amy says:

    Lisi, you handled that situation with a lot of class! I agree that the comment of calling your work “definitely complete trash” is very insensitive and dismissive, and I’m glad you reminded Caroline that there is a very real person that is on the receiving end of remarks like that. And it does sound like Caroline made an honest mistake; I’m glad you are giving her the benefit of the doubt.

    I rarely post comments because I’m so used to ignoring them — generally that helps keep myself sane on the internet! — but you’re right, words DO matter, and we can use them to encourage and build each other up instead of criticizing and shutting them down. So I thought I’d respond to your question and say: what I find productive is to show gratitude to those who make me happy and inspired. Therefore, thank you for your work and for today’s life lesson reminder! 🙂

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Dearest Amy,
      Not only are you the best friend a girl could have but you’re wise and inspiring and grounding. I will continue mentioning you in my posts to ensure that you read them and comment every week. The ladies could learn a thing or two from you, just like I have.

      My dog is currently wrapped around a tree because her leash got tangled and I blame you for having to get up right now. But that’s another story.

  • Danielle says:

    I luh-ve the clique! Lisi, you should make another book about the clique but this time a brand new clique is in OCD! and plus I’m so happy that you’re back! 😀

  • Arianna says:

    I’m glad everything went well! And professional. The Clique books have a very special place in my heart. I recommend them to my students all the time!

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Thank you Arianna! Are you a teacher? I love that you recommend The Clique to your students. I think The Clique is a great way to open a dialogue about this stuff. I have so much to say on the subject of bullying and mean girls. Maybe one day I’ll visit school to talk about it.

      • Lisi Harrison says:

        I can’t visit schools if I don’t know grammar, now can I? I meant schools, not school. 🙂

      • Arianna says:

        I am a teacher! I currently teach 8th grade U.S. History, but I also help out with our library’s book club.

  • Kaitlyn says:

    I love the Clique and everything about it. I reread the book for the first time back in January for the first time in years and I actually re-fell in love with it. I think I did a blog post on it. *Checks site* yup I did. You can read it if you want. I promise this one is positive.

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      What’s up Kaitlyn?
      I love seeing you here and on Instagram. You are truly one of the coolest girls I virtually know and I am honored to be part of your magical world.
      xoxo Lisi

  • Kiana says:

    What she wrote was harsh! Your books are anything but trash! I agree that that’s poor word-choice. Maybe she meant it as a jab and then is now sucking up to you? Who knows. I would like to comment on how mature you handled it though. What a role model you are to me. ☺︎
    I know that it can be hard when you see stuff like that and you immediately want to fight back, but after reading this, it seems ten times way better to handle it like a queen. Well done!

    • Kiana says:

      Cool photo, by the way. But that book should never be in such a bag.

    • Lisi Harrison says:

      Kiana, you’re the best! Thank you so much for your support and for knowing how much restraint it takes not to bite someone’s face off when you’re hurt. I have learned to take a step back when I’m angry and give it time. Why did I learn this? Because I used to bite right away and it always got me into trouble. Have a great day, my friend.
      xoxo Lisi

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