Dear Lisi Harrison,
The Jocks. The Nerds. The Band Geeks. The Cheerleaders. The Punks. The "It" Crowd. This is my life, like that of so many other teens across America live. We all feel the constant drive to be in one of these groups, to be accepted by someone, anyone, just to know where we fit in. I myself am a self-proclaimed nerd and band geek, and I really could care less about being popular. That doesn't mean other people, such as Claire from your book, The Clique, feel the same way.
When I read The Clique, I realized how much it applied to my everyday life in junior high. As I walk through the halls now, I can see the "Massie", chatting up her boyfriend and wearing the most astounding outfit that the wannabes spend hours trying to replicate. The "Dylan" is sitting at the table, reading the calorie count for her favorite candy bar. Next to her, there's the "Kristen", taking a last-minute prep for her Algebra exam and bouncing the soccer ball under the desk. The "Alicia" is perched in a chair, examining her new tan and surrounded by boys and the envious girls who simply wish they were as flawless and attention-grabbing as her. But when you look past all of the freshly powdered faces and hot new purses, you do see the "Claire", looking nervous and eager to please with a brand new backpack and her favorite slip-on sneakers. Personally, I am a "Dylan", I love food but I don't think I would have the willpower to go on a diet!
Reading your book really made me think about what I would do in Claire's position. Would I stand up for myself against Massie's cutting remarks, or would I just sit there and take it, hoping for another chance to prove my worthiness to be a part of her group?
A little while back, my friend and I were playing a game of "Would You Rather", and the famous question from your book was fired at me. Would you rather be a friendless loser or have a ton of friends who secretly hate you? At first it seemed like a simple question, but when I really thought about it I realized how tough that would be in both situations. It may seem easy to say you would rather be a friendless loser because you would just stay true to yourself. But really, how many people would be able to go through that? Not having a single friend? I mean, just think about all of the situations you might need a friend. If you were having family problems, who would you talk to? If you needed advice on which dress to wear to prom, who would you go to? Even simple things, like who would you sit by at lunch? Then there's the other option; have a ton of friends who secretly hate you? Lots of people who seem like they would do anything for you, but they are really attempting to cut you to pieces? It would be hard! You think they would be there for you through the good times and the bad, but really any moment they could walk away. After contemplating this on the hour-long bus ride home, I still had no answer.
Reading The Clique really made me think about how I would react, what I would do if I were Claire. After the last page had been turned, I reflected on my own experience with cliques in school. They influence so many people's self confidence. Personally, it doesn't really affect me. I know that I have great friends, and I would never shut out them just to be popular. I've learned it's important to always be yourself and to stay true to your friends.