PRETENDERS by Lisi Harrison


Age Range: 12 - 18
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A new series with a Gossip Girl–esque conceit from the best-selling author of The Clique.

X-Phonie, one of Noble High’s Phoenix Five freshmen operating under a code name, breaks into their teacher’s safe to reveal the sordid (or not-so-sordid in this case) journals of the school’s most infamous students. First up is Vanessa, the brown-skinned, green-eyed girl who’s always in it to win it. Her hefty footnotes often outweigh her journal entries. Hipster Jagger’s parents were arrested, and now he lives alone in the back of a pet store. Basketballer Duffy is so much the object of Lily’s obsessions…er...affections that she steals his Nikes and keeps a running tab of the souvenirs she’s collected. Finally there’s drama queen Sheridan, who lives in a fantasy world imagining she’s Massie Block from The Clique. The first installment winds by turns in and out of the very clean world of the five teens’ journals. Harrison nails the voices of her female protagonists but struggles with those of her male ones, particularly Duffy, who still plays the Wii when most boys his age would have graduated to a more age-appropriate gaming system. Little happens beyond introducing the characters and their interests/crushes/interactions with one another, with the result that this feels like a tepid attempt to recreate the bawdy ridiculousness of Gossip Girl.

A lukewarm retread of the snarky teen chick-lit of yore. (Romance. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-22244-0
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2013


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