Friday, July 17, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Alpha: The Clique: Boys R Us by Lisi Harrison

Being the leader of the Pretty Committee had been Massie's life. Without them, she'd practically lost her purpose. She was like Mother Teresa without the poor, Anglina without the babies, Paris without the random BFFs.

It's the battle of the titans--Massie Block, the long-running alpha of the Pretty Committee, and Alicia Rivera, who has stolen her fire with her superior cheerleading for the Briarwood boys' soccer team. With the triumph of her squad of former LBRs (Losers Beyond Repair), alpha aspirant Alicia has made her move to become the ALPHA of alphas.

Alicia has more than cool dances moves on her side--she has control of the crushes going for her as well. With the hawt Josh in her camp, and with Dylan finally matched with Massie's old crush Derrington, Cam and Claire still sparking, and Kristen beating out both Massie and the LBR Layne Abelay for Dempsey's affections, Alicia catches the romantic wave by naming her group the SoulM8s and presiding over the groundbreaking first boy-girl clique at Octavian Country Day School. Suddenly Massie, with NO crush in sight and apparently no friends either, is the odd girl out.

But Massie is never one to give up easily. If there are no suitable replacements for the Clique at hand, she's willing to rent them, and falling back on the considerable connections of Layne, whose aunt runs a top New York talent agency, she hires four teen actresses to portray her best friends, whom she titles Massie and Crew, or the MACs. When the debut of the pseudo-pals is a bit, um, not ready for prime time, Massie takes total control by scripting their next appearance at a posh charity fashion show starring Massie and Crew as show-stopping runway models. Layne, not exactly haute couture material, is delegated the task of finding suitable escorts among the hawt high school friends of her big brother Chris. This ninth-grade boy group comes with a bonus for Massie--Landon Crane, who seems to fall under her spell on first sight. With a new high school crush and four gorgeous new "friends," Massie feels like she's back in control of the scene.

Alicia, however, fights back with her own simultaneous festivities, a Paparazzi Party, strategically staged at Claire's house so the SoulM8s can snoop on Massie's show. But as she juggles the arrangements, the amateur alpha begins to understand how hard it is to out-stage-manage a pro like Massie as she struggles to keep her guests from stealing away to crash Massie's clearly spectacular extravaganza.

Meanwhile, Massie's show has its own "downfall" when fate steps in to "sink" her shindig as well. Unknown to the two rivals, however, there is an undercover alpha among the remnants of the Clique, one whose managerial skills are utilized not for self aggrandizement, but for good--the reconciliation and rebirth of the Pretty Committee itself. It takes an admirable bit of stage managing to carry off this feat, but this PC member turns out to be the real alpha whose machinations bring the war between Massie and Alicia to the hoped-for truce.

In Lisi Harrison's eleventh book, The Clique #11: Boys R Us (Clique Series), the dueling alphas learn that even perfect control freaks can't control fate, as two forces of nature--gravity and boys--provide some intriguing twists and turns in the plot. As always, there's lots of scheming and satiric humor, not to mention the usual posh product name-dropping along the way in this latest in Harrison's best-selling series.

And BTW, this title comes with bonus backmatter--the first chapter in Lisi's new spinoff series, the story of Massie's old rival Skye Hamilton at Alpha Academy, in Alphas #1, forthcoming August 25.

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