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Best Friends for Never: A Clique Novel    by Lisi Harrison order for
Best Friends for Never
by Lisi Harrison
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The first episode in this series introduced Massie Block and her three best friends (Dylan, Alicia, and Kristen) as the trend-setting seventh grade clique at the exclusive Octavian Country Day School in Westchester, New York. Massie's life was disrupted by her father's settling his best friend's family, the Lyons from Orlando, into his estate guest house. Massie's clique made Claire Lyons' life really unpleasant and she sought revenge.

It's lonely at the top, and Massie's position is beginning to be challenged in Best Friends for Never. To pre-empt Becca's planned boy-girl Halloween party, and win her parents' agreement to having one herself, Massie offers to co-host with Claire. It's an uneasy true at best, especially since they already have a bet running - Massie mustn't repeat any clothing for a month, while Claire must keep finding new things to wear; the loser will suffer the humiliation of wearing a snowsuit to school! The party goes ahead and is a happening. Despite Massie's pretending to be sole host, Claire enjoys meeting a cute boy named Cam. Massie's friends Dylan and Kristen both like Derrington, but don't know which of them he prefers. And guess who Massie has a secret crush on? It's clear that romantic complications lie ahead.

The day of the party, the clique started a new trend by wearing their 'Dirty Devils' Halloween costumes to school. This causes a crisis (Principal Burns decides to go uniform) and there's a fashion competition for the new school costume, that Massie is determined to win. Preparations bring Claire and Massie a little closer, but turn one of the original clique foursome into Massie's 'biggest enemy'. Claire occasionally glimpses a real person under Massie's shallow, narcissistic surface, and feels sorry for her after the latter shares - 'You know, friends are like clothes - they can't be in forever.' As this episode ends, Claire decides to divulge her feelings for Cam to Massie, setting the scene for more conflict in episode 3, The Revenge of the Wannabes.

This Clique series, while wildly improbably, does capture both the occasionally unpleasant verbal interactions and emotional vulnerability of pre-teen girls. Overall, it's good soap operatic fun for the female middle school crowd.

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