Clique Bait

HarperTeen. Apr. 2020. 368p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062918086.
Gr 9 Up–Arlington Preparatory school can be found snuggled in a canyon just north of Beverly Hills. The beautiful school houses the children of the West Coast’s most influential people—the ultra-wealthy, media moguls, politicians, and celebrities. Like most high schools, Arlington Prep has a social ladder and there are winners and losers among those who dare to climb it. However, the games of rich children with little supervision have higher stakes and more dire consequences. Chloe Whittaker was loath to be part of the brutal social hierarchy at Arlington Prep until her best friend became tragically caught in the crossfire of the contest. Bent on revenge, Chloe devised a plan to infiltrate the “Level One” social clique so she could take them down. Through lies, manipulation, and blackmail, Chloe is able to gain access to the elite group. However, once she is there, she starts to question what makes her morally superior to these people if, in her efforts to get into their exclusive club, she has participated in the same cruel antics. Her internal conflict is heightened when she finds herself falling for the handsome and charming so-called Level One Boy, William Bishop, who was only supposed to be a pawn in her game.
VERDICT This is a delicious piece of young adult candy. While readers won’t find any deep sustenance from the plot, it is a fun page-turner sure to delight fans of teen drama. For lovers of Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl, Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars, Susan McBride’s Very Bad Things, and Megan Abbott’s Dare Me.

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