Where are all the poor, ugly, awkward girls?

I was in Barnes and Noble and accidentally on purpose wandered into the young adult section and I noticed that most of the featured books were about Vampires and/or rich kids. (Yes, I know I need to read Twilight.)

Apparently, these are the series that are all the rage.

Gossip Girl: obvs, you probably know about these. Rich kids on the Upper East Side of Manhattan spend their parents money and sleep with each other’s boyfriends.

A-List: Rich kids in Beverly Hills

The Clique Series: Rich kids at a private day school

The Private Series: rich kids at a private boarding school

Anyone see a pattern? What happened to the underdogs? The awkward girls? The Margarets and the Kathleens? Why the sudden fascination with rich, vapid, and materialistic? Where success is defined as cutting other girls down and bullying? And snagging the rich popular guy? I know that this stuff can be fun to read about as a guilty pleasure. And of course, as always, it’s always great to have girls read, but the girls who are probably into reading don’t need to have these messages hammered into their minds. I guess I have kind of accepted the fact that other forms of media are totally corrupted for young girls (uh, who HASN’T been sucked into a marathon of The Hills) but leave literature alone! Let that be a place where girls can get positive messages!

These make Jessica Wakefield seem like Gidget.

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71 thoughts on “Where are all the poor, ugly, awkward girls?

  1. maybeimamazed02 says:

    I hear ya, Ihatewheat. (And I love the Twilight series too!) I read quite a bit of YA, and I can tell you that there ARE books about regular-ish girls, but you have to really look for them. Rachel Cohn, Ellen Wittlinger, Susane Colisanti, Sarah Dessen and Garret Freymann-Weyr all do a great job writing about real girls with real issues.

    I’m actually writing a YA novel about (gasp!) non-rich kids (one of whom doesn’t go to college and has to WORK for a living, oh noes!) in a small Illinois town. Watch the publishers reject me because the girls aren’t bitches and the guys aren’t tools.

  2. Sarah says:

    As a high school English teacher, if I catch any of my younger girls reading these I will personally slap them out of their hands. What utter piffle.
    Fortunately my girls are generally pretty awesome.

  3. aaaames says:

    Sara Zarr’s the Story of a Girl is so lovely and well-written that I seethe a bit with jealousy that I didn’t come up with it!!! Guy-centric, but John Green’s books and Frank Portman’s King Dork are also really frigging excellent. Deb Caletti’s also got a nice catalog.

    maybeimamazed02, I’m also writing a YA novel. I guess I should be proud that even though I’m unpublished I’ve already surpassed the quality of SV? 🙂

  4. Carly says:

    I hate going into YA now and seeing all of this. It’s really sad. Obviously the publishing world is just another aspect of society trying to make a quick buck. I feel like all our culture is telling young girls nowadays is that they need money and sexuality to get what they want instead of an independent, strong mind.

  5. Susan says:

    As a librarian I have to chime in. Yes they’re crap but their circs are so high. I can’t seem to keep them on the shelf for too long. While the positive YA books just linger.

    Hey atleast kids are reading. That’s the most important thing.

  6. Magpie says:

    I quite like the Gossip Girl series, from the parts I’ve read, though the others don’t really interest me. I suppose I see it as the modern-day equivalent of SV, but without the annoying hammering of moral messages (just in case I’m too slow-witted to figure out for myself that drugs are BAD). I also don’t think Gossip Girl is too badly written, especially when I think of some of the godawful efforts that some of the SV ghostwriters churned out.

  7. Jen S says:

    I’m guessing (or hoping) that a lot of the reason girls read “bitches with good hair and 300.00 shoes get their comeuppance” books is that they enjoy the fantasy aspect and seeing rich girls get theirs. Books written in a more realistic light, no matter how superior they are as literature, don’t give you that delicious escapism. It’s the same reason people during the depression flocked to light comedies about rich people getting married and avoided melodramas and tragedies that they should have “related” to–they get enough of that in their own lives, thanks very much. This way they can read about great clothes AND feel morally superior to the shallow materialistic c***s in the story! It doesn’t hurt that it’s a lot easier to churn out a whole series of tripe than quality writing.

  8. Laura says:

    I HATE the Clique series. I was a camp counselor and caught one of my girls reading them…the saddest thing was that this girl was exactly like a Clique character in every way — vapid, obsessed with her appearance, and even at thirteen secure in the knowledge that her boobs and ass would get her exactly where she needed to be in life. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I would never want my own daughter to read those books.
    I didn’t like Twilight, but that’s because I thought that Edmund was just a little too perfect (well, aside from the whole vampire thing) to be a character I could relate to. But I think Bella is a realistic, intelligent protagonist, a great role model.

  9. Tiny Pants says:

    The Clique books are utter filth — and as Naomi Wolf pointed out in her excoriating review of the newer series in the Times a couple years ago, the worst thing about the Clique is that they do have an awkward, lower class (though in the context of these books, middle/upper-middle class is lower class) character, Claire. Unlike in older books where she would have like, learned a lesson about self-acceptance, she continues to spend the duration of the series slavishly imitating the wealthy girls, who do things to her in return that like, even Jessica and Lila wouldn’t have pulled.

  10. Amber says:

    I hate those books!

    No regular awkward teen can relate to that crap. And the ones who could are not reading. They’re out spending Daddy Warbuck’s millions.

    (That’s why I’m dedicating “Awkward & Abnormal” to all the old ones that can’t ever be forgotten, rich girls be damned…)

  11. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Tiny Pants–Do you have a link to the Naomi Wolf review? I’d sure love to read it!

    aaaames–hopefully, our non-SV books will both get published someday!

  12. LucyHoneychurch says:

    I hate these books too — but I have to admit, when I was twelve and thirteen, I used to write expansive short stories about rich girls named Victoria or something, whose biggest problems were boys and which new purse to buy (and which scrunch socks to wear, but then we get into that whole 80s thing and I date myself).

    I think they’re crap, but I don’t think much harm really comes of them. And preteen girls need fantasy; they need to believe, if only for a second, that they’ll grow up to be a perfect size six and drive a Fiat.

    Really good YA novels do help young girls relate; but everyone needs a fantasy life. I like good literature now, but I’ll be damned if I’m not caught sometimes reading trash novels with half-naked people on the cover.

  13. Tiny Pants says:

    maybeimamazed02 — hopefully this will work, but if not go to the NY Times site and search — the article’s entitled “Wild Things”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/12/books/review/12wolf.html?scp=9&sq=naomi+wolf+&st=nyt

    They also ran a sidebar with it about better books for YA girls.

    In reply to Jen S., one thing I’d say about a lot of these newer books is that the rich girls rarely get their comeuppance — that’s one of the major differences (and disappointments, especially with The Clique, where you just wish the one non-rich character would eviscerate the others instead of kissing up to them no matter how horribly they treat her!).

  14. Genevieve says:

    Honestly, the Private series isn’t bad. The main character is actually a scholarship student and a lot of her musings are about how ridiculous some of the excesses of her classmates are even as she gets sucked in. They’re not a bad guilty pleasure read. She at least generally stands up for whats right in some sort of moral context and comments negatively on the hazing and snobbishness.

    I tried to see what the others were about, because I like to keep up with the world of YA. I couldn’t even make it though one.

  15. trista says:

    I see what you’re saying, but I also hate that girls who are wealthy, girls who are attractive, girls who perhaps haven’t experienced heartache, are always portrayed as catty, vapid, shallow, materialistic, self-obsessed, and bitchy. Its possible to be pretty and have a heart and a sense of humor. (No, Liz Wakefield does not count!) Its possible to be rich and not be a complete asshole to those who can’t afford the latest Gucci handbag. I hate the whole “poor little rich girl” routine, but I also hate the “YOU’RE RICH/PRETTY/SUCCESSFUL, SO YOU MUST BE A MAJOR ASSHAT!” mentality.

    I wish they’d publish some YA books where there’s rich kids who are jerks AND nice people, where girls who aren’t considered conventionally pretty are still confident, where those with brains aren’t all total dorks. Stereotypes ftl, YA authors.

  16. maybeimamazed02 says:

    Thanks, Tiny Pants!

    It’s only four books and not an ongoing “series” per se, but I do like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. (Way better than the movie, btw, although the movie wasn’t bad.) They have a little of the fantasy element (jeans that fit you and your best friends! traveling to places like Mexico and Greece!) plus a lot of realistic issues. What I like is how it always comes back to the friendship between the four girls, and how supportive they are of one another.

  17. ihatewheat says:

    I am sure that there is awesome fiction out there for teens. However, I guess I meant to say that these were the series that were featured prominently in the displays- meaning that there is a marketing push because there is a demand.

  18. Chance0508 says:

    It’s terrible, but hardly surprising to me that the superficial books are more popular. Nancy Drew in her pristine Titian wonderfulness always outsold Trixie Belden and her freckles and chores.

    It sucks that children rush through childhood so quickly, just to face ennui in their twenties because they haven’t learned anything or had any genuine experiences.

  19. Katee says:

    I hope that this is a phase and soon other books with become popular. Kinda like how RL Stein and Christopher Pike were popular when I was in middle school.

    If I was a parent I would just try to make sure that if my daughter read these books, it would be balanced with better books. Like a healthy reading diet.

    Has anyone read the Uglies trilogy? They seem to always be checked out in my library.

    Kate

  20. Juanita says:

    Yes, I’ve read the Uglies trilogy, but it’s no longer a trilogy, since Scott Westerfeld recently had a fourth one published (it’s called Extras). They’re pretty interesting, and I’ve read several others by him too. He’s a good writer.

    Most of the books I read are by women writers, but Scott Westerfeld is amazing, as is John Green – he’s only had two books published so far, Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, but SO good. You should go read them right now. Also, Terry Pratchett’s YA novels about Tiffany Aching, a witch, are worth checking out.

    I second the first poster who mentioned Sarah Dessen and Rachel Cohn – I always tear through their books. I’m also a big fan of Sarah Mylnowski and E. Lockhart.

  21. diana says:

    i checked out a few of the clique books from my library because the concept of the series nauseated me and i wanted to see if they might actually be funny reads. are we supposed to LIKE massie block? she’s loathsome.

    i also wrote a rant about this awhile ago on the BSC boards which i’ll just copy and paste:

    ugh, the increasing trend of books like these drive me crazy. gossip girl by itself was okay. now every time i go into the bookstore there’s a new tween series glorifying an “elite” clique of rich, popular, gorgeous (mary sues) girls. it’s such a horrible message for girls–that these are the things that are important and these are things that are worth pursuing in order to have fun in life.

    they’re pretty funny reads once you’re older, but many of the girls in the targeted audience don’t really recognize satire yet (even though i think many of these books have gone beyond satire and are just trash). like, when i was 10 and saw clueless for the first time, i didn’t get that it was a satire. i genuinely thought that this was how “cool” teenagers acted in high school. maybe i was just dumb. but regardless, these books drive me crazy and i wish someone could find the factory that’s making all of them and shut it down.

  22. Melody_Grey says:

    Apparently, all the books about real girls and real issues are being written by the Brits. I just reread the entire Georgia Nicolson Diaries and “Mates, Dates…” series(es) this past week. Very relatable, especially the “Mates, Dates…” series. It’s about 4 middle-class girls in North London. One a scale of one to ten Lilas, they rate at least an 8.

    And yes, you MUST read the “Twilight” aaga. *rubs hands in anticipation for Breaking Dawn*

  23. MaggieCat says:

    I really want to be one of those people who’s all “anything that gets kids to equate reading with fun is a good thing”, but then I look at the books that are marketed to teen girls today and can’t help but go in a more “Paula Danziger is spinning in her grave” direction.

  24. Ashleyy says:

    Hey, you totally left out the seven deadly sins series!!! toatlly about the rich elite bacstabbing each other and doing drugs all day. Its pretty bad, but you know…so good. i haven’t gotten into any of the other series, except gossip girl, but i haven’t gotten far yet. Its okay – but that’s because i’m old enought to laugh at it and realize its trash. But, at the same time, i think kids these days (man i sound old) are a lot more mature at 16 than i was.

  25. Fraser says:

    Westerfield is great.
    While she’s a supporting character, Kitty, the rebel leader in Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy, is a strong one.
    But I feel obliged to note that everyone on this list who read SVH seemed to turn out OK. Hopefully that’ll be true with this pile of fluff.

  26. Chance0508 says:

    Does anyone else remember going through a VC Andrews phase in middle school? Rereading those is a jaw-dropping experience now.

  27. Snickerdoodle says:

    Do I remember VC Andrews? Those books are burned into my brain. The baby-selling! The incest! The attic! each one more disturbing than the last.. they don’t write them like that anymore…

  28. Emily says:

    gossip girl is okay, because it is satirical, and it points out how dresses don’t make you happy. also, it’s sprinkled with literary references.

    also, sometimes it’s fun to read the clique books and make fun of them. the characters are so stupid and insane.

  29. Genevieve says:

    For the people who mentioned VC Andrews, the Tales of Former Walking Highlighter blog that is on the blog list for this page recapped two of them.

  30. Tracy says:

    I read the first 3 clique books, because I just KNEW they were building to something (plus I got all 3 for $2.00 at a thrift store and I was bored lol), but it’s just more of the same emptyness… Sad sad sad. I too want Claire to see the light and get away from “The Clique”.

  31. Amber Tan says:

    “…they’re crap but their circs are so high…Hey atleast kids are reading. That’s the most important thing.”

    True, Sarah. But you know that whatever we read is what we take into our minds, hearts, etc. and helps mold character. Quality counts and unfortunately these books don’t have it. Just out of curiosity — how much of the library’s budget is spent on this stuff? (Acquisitions librarian here)

  32. Amber Tan says:

    Er, sorry! That last post was for Susan (not Sarah). My bad.

    Trixie Belden would have totes kicked Nancy Drew’s a$$ IRL. Even when Nancy was sleuthing she was so freakin’ attentive about her clothes, hair, etc. and her dad the lawyer helped her out quite a bit. And her boyfriend Ned was a prototype of Todd. Yarf.

    Also, Trixie’s best friend Honey Wheeler was the rich girl next door. I liked Honey — she was actually nice despite being pretty and wealthy. No drugs, no schtupping other gals’ boyfriends, no cattiness…for someone who grew up in boarding schools, Honey seemed pretty down to earth.

  33. Cheryl Slade says:

    I actually picked up a couple of the Gossip Girl books and one of the A list. I don’t get it. SVH may have been fucked up and stupid at times but these are just… boring. It was like reading a 200 page ad. I couldn’t distinguish one from the other the day after I read them.

  34. Cheryl Slade says:

    Btw, on the ‘Clique’ and ‘Private’ covers, does the photographer just throw a bunch of girls together and yell ‘Everybody! Bitchfaces!’?

  35. Lois Waller says:

    “As a librarian I have to chime in. Yes they’re crap but their circs are so high. I can’t seem to keep them on the shelf for too long. While the positive YA books just linger.

    Hey atleast kids are reading. That’s the most important thing.”

    I’m in school to become an English teacher, and I just don’t (or can’t) agree with this stance. I don’t think reading a trashy or superficial book is necessarily better than not reading at all. Actually, I tend to think reading certain books is worse than not reading at all (an unpopular opinion in education circles, I know).

    I don’t have a problem with kids not reading as long as they engage their minds and imaginations in some meaningful way, regardless of medium. And I don’t think books like Gossip Girl are inherently better than any other media solely because they’re books. In fact, I think a lot of these books may be damaging and promote unrealistic expectations about beauty, class, socialization, gender stereotypes, etc.

    I would feel a bit differently if reading something like GG were tempered with and/or lead to solid, intellectual YA and adult lit (if the trash were gateway books, if you will), but I don’t think that’s generally the case.

  36. aaaames says:

    Lois, I absolutely agree. I love reading, and wish more people read (especially so I’d have more people to talk to about my favorite books with!) but I don’t know why reading is considered Just So Amazing that regardless of the quality of a book it trumps all other media. There are some fine films and television shows which demonstrate amazing grasp of character, plot, structure, etc., which are certainly better for one than, say, the Gossip Girl oeuvre.

  37. Lois Waller says:

    aaaames,

    What are some of your favorite books? I am looking for suggestions, and maybe we could start a mini-Dairi-Burger book club! 🙂

  38. aaaames says:

    Right now I am ass-over-heels in love with Sara Zarr, who only has written two YA books but they are BEAUTIFUL. Also love John Green’s Looking for Alaska and an Abundance of Katherines. Love love love Scott Westerfeld.

  39. Sue says:

    I agree with so much of what has been said! I have been wondering for a while now if the Clique series is being written as satire or meant to be taken at face value. It would be awesome if this is the case, but odds are, it’s just another in the glossy tweener lit genre.

    The Scott Westerfeld love reminds me of the “Magic or Madness” series written by his wife, Justine Larbalestier. The main character bounces from small town to small town in the Australian outback with her mother because they are on the run from the girl’s grandmother. Add math geekery, teleportation doors/portals and Australian slang to end up with what I found to be an engaging read.

  40. Paula Yoo says:

    Hi! Great blog! I admit to hoarding guilty pleasures for certain fun books and TV reality shows because I love escapism. But your blog brings up some great points and I thought the comments below re: how some teens may not recognize satire for what is to be good observations! If you want an awkward geeky girl, my debut novel GOOD ENOUGH (HarperCollins Feb. ’08) is about a very awkward geeky girl… I swear it’s a fictional novel although everyone at my 20th high school reunion might disagree… LOL! Thanks for your blog! best, Paula

  41. Susan says:

    *I’m in school to become an English teacher, and I just don’t (or can’t) agree with this stance. I don’t think reading a trashy or superficial book is necessarily better than not reading at all. Actually, I tend to think reading certain books is worse than not reading at all (an unpopular opinion in education circles, I know).*

    Wait till you have kids who won’t read a thing. Perhaps you’ll be more open to finding books they will read instead of forcing stuff you do approve on them.

  42. Susan says:

    **True, Sarah. But you know that whatever we read is what we take into our minds, hearts, etc. and helps mold character. Quality counts and unfortunately these books don’t have it. Just out of curiosity — how much of the library’s budget is spent on this stuff? (Acquisitions librarian here)**

    I’m in a pretty well funded library with a large population so.. I think I spent 300 bucks just on serials alone last month when I put my order in. This includes the new GG series The Carlyses and reorders of books that I had to replace.

  43. Lois Waller says:

    Wait till you have kids who won’t read a thing. Perhaps you’ll be more open to finding books they will read instead of forcing stuff you do approve on them.

    Actually I don’t believe in “forcing” kids to read anything! I know that there will be required books within the curriculum and we will (have to) study those, but I hope that I can integrate other media in there, too. Some people look down on film supplements or complements within English classrooms, but to me, they’re perfectly valid. The English major at my university is structured around reading texts, not necessarily books. It is inclusive and regards most media as viable sources of inquiry and discussion. Creative writing, group projects, music from the time period the books are set in, etc., will also help include the kids who don’t like to read.

    Also, I’m not a literary snob. At all. I mean, I’m here; I read SVH and Babysitter’s Club and Fear Street and all the rest of it as a pre-teen/young teen. I don’t begrudge anyone those kinds of books, and I have never been a classics type. I just don’t think reading is always inherently good, worthwhile, or valuable when there are many other ways to engage and stimulate, especially when the material being used is poorly written or vapid or even damaging. I would never snatch a Gossip Girls book away from a kid reading one, but I may suggest (not force–I’m not trying to thwart anyone’s interests or joys) similar books with more depth, better plot, some irony, or rounder characters.

    Um, sorry this is so long, but I wanted to clarify what I meant from a personal and pedagogical viewpoint.

  44. Roxy says:

    Do young girls still read the Anastasia Krupnik books? Please tell me they do. I worshiped those books when I was growing up.

  45. aaaames says:

    Roxy, I just reread Anastasia Krupnik and, holy hell, it is even more fantastic than I remembered! If I ever have a daughter she’s going to be persuaded to read all of ’em.

  46. Melody_Grey says:

    I forgot to mention the Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty. V. awesome. They follow the life a girl in NJ from high school to her first jobs after graduation. Very satirical and funny.

  47. Isabel says:

    Actually, my favorite book as a kid (and, um, sort of now, too) was about a rich kid, and one of the things that made it awesome was that a) not all her friends were rich and b) she felt weird about being rich (Harriet the Spy–she has a hilarious journal entry where she wonders if money is what makes people boring).

    The comments here are so good for YA book recs. I will definitely have to check out Sara Zarr, and finish the Uglies books (I really enjoyed the first one and I bought Pretties but now I can’t find it!)

    Has anyone here ever been a fan of Francesca Lia Block? I was OBSESSED with her in middle school, then in high school I decided I was too mature for her so when we moved I didn’t take any of her books with me, and now I hugely regret it because now that I’m no longer trying to prove how intellectual I am, dude, those books are AMAZING. How I could have ever turned my back on punk rock magical realist fairytales of LA, I seriously have no idea.

    Also, as far as current series go, I’m a huge fan of the Princess Diaries–the main character, being a princess, is of course incredibly wealthy, but she’s also a huge dork, and while this may sound weird I’ve always appreciated that while she’s smart enough and dorky, she’s not especially intellectual, and would rather watch Buffy than read Foucault (this works especially well I think because her best friend is Ms. Genius Intellectual and while sort of insane also seriously awesome, so both types are represented). Also, the books are hilarious. I would definitely recommend them for anyone who wants a light, fluffy YA read along the lines of Gossip Girl but with characters you can like, who’d rather wear combat boots than Manolos.

  48. aaaames says:

    Oh man, I LOVE the Princess Diaries! They are so refreshing, NOTHING at all like what I thought they’d be! Hello, the last one had all this advice on achieving orgasm!!!! I was so friggin’ impressed with Meg Cabot for writing her heroines like that! Also, Mia gets to be a silly teenager, and yet when her behaviour is heinous, she gets called out on it eventually. All of Cabot’s stuff is really sex-positive and feminist, wrapped up in this glitzy pink package. LOVE IT.

    Have I mentioned Maureen Johnson yet? I loved Devilish and Bermudez Triangle SO MUCH, and her blog is one of the funniest on the web.

  49. Calixti says:

    For the love of all things good and holy, aaaames, if you tell me that “Maureen Johnson” is a RENT-based pen name, then you’ll have found me a new One True Author to love.

  50. aaaames says:

    Ha, Calixti, no, but go here and scroll down to “Get your ticket to the high school is hell tour”. You won’t be disappointed. Also, this is the blog post that won me over to Johnson, I ran right to the library after a friend sent me a link to this post.

  51. Kerensa says:

    I really love the Gossip Girl series. However, the A-List just got too much…Carolyn Mackler writes some really good books about normal girls.

  52. Amber Tan says:

    “I’m in a pretty well funded library with a large population so.. I think I spent 300 bucks just on serials alone last month when I put my order in. This includes the new GG series The Carlyses and reorders of books that I had to replace.”

    Many thanks for responding, Susan. That’s great that your library can accommodate patrons’ demands, even to replace AWOL materials. I’m in a law library and prices have been increasing about 12-15% per year for our serials titles. Last month we spent about $40K on serials alone and other continuing resources. 😦

    “Actually I don’t believe in “forcing” kids to read anything! ”

    Good — because people never read what doesn’t interest them.

    “Do young girls still read the Anastasia Krupnik books? Please tell me they do. I worshiped those books when I was growing up.”

    Me too, Roxy. I know that at least two of my SO’s nieces have enjoyed the Anastasia Krupnik books. Bless their hearts! 🙂

    Besides I don’t think their parents would allow them to read Gossip Girl, A-List, etc. The folks are kind of straight-laced and monitor what their kids watch and read. They’re not uber-strict but would definitely prefer that their daughters NOT turn out like another teenaged family member who’s preggers without any means of supporting herself IYKWIM.

    Of course the preggers one didn’t get that way due to reading trashy YA lit. Frankly I doubt that girl reads anything other than IM text messages and MySpace entries. 😉

  53. Nicolle says:

    Um, TWILIGHT (and EDWARD)ROCKS! I loved the SVH when growing up. My sister and I read it all the time, I think it’s just a matter of the world is flooded with images like THE HILLS and what not and it’s what sells right now! Unfortunate for all of us who grow up on Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Blubber- but alas I think it’s true.

    And yes, everyone should read Twilight. I couldn’t put it down.

  54. Sarah R says:

    I am a youth minister, and I totally agree that while these sorts of books (tv shows, etc) are entertaining and even compelling, teens’ worth lies in more than looks and money. Y’all are awesome; work the smart factor and know you are beautiful just the way you are! 🙂

  55. M says:

    Believe me, Twilight is just as bad as the “rich kids” books. In fact, it practically is a “rich kid” book with all of the shiny, beautiful vampires with their shiny, beautiful cars. Bella may be clumsy (her only aknowledged flaw, and a rather weak one at that), but, if you really listen to her page-long inner monologues, she’s just as self-centered as the Gossip Girl characters. Very rarely does she think of anything other than her sexy vampire boyfriend and his family and her apparently painful love affair with his werewolf rival. Besides, I don’t think being with someone who is dangerous just because they “love” you is very romantic (vampire or not), nor is it a message I would like many girls to get out of the books.
    (*leaps off her soapbox to dodge the pitchforks*)

  56. Keira says:

    I agree with M. Bella and Edward are hardly characters in my opinion. And role models?

    PFFT!

    Bella is a Mary Sue (She is described as plain and homely, yet every male character wants to get into her pants, she constantly needs saving, never really interacts with anyone other than Jacob and Ed, her entire world revolves around her love interest, she never freaks out at anyone being abnormal, falls in love at first glance, etc) and Edward is there to take up over half the book (Basically, it’s all of Bella’s inner monologues on how sexy he is)

    I’ve seen fortune cookie strips with better writing than this garbage.

    As for the books mentioned above…some of them are not so bad, but I do agree they tend to have a negative effect rather than a positive one on young girls. I wouldn’t really know though…I grew up mostly on adventure novels and I lean more towards what is called ‘guy’ fiction than romance and girly girl troubles.

  57. Massie Blockhead says:

    i read the Clique series and its not that bad..i mean sure its about spoiled girls with lots of money…but not all girls are rich.
    As the author of the book said “its about accepting who u r”.
    Read The Baby Sitters Club!
    Clique Series Rules!

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  59. amy r says:

    well who wants to read about losers and their life at school. for most of us we dont know about life being popular and rich and reading these books shows us a different life. i love all of those books and i dont know why anyone should have a problem with them. go read sci fi nerds!

  60. Schatzi says:

    Maybe it’s a cultural trend. Look at shows like Real Housewives of InsertWealthyCommunityHere or even The Hills–they’re all about the upper middle-class or wealthy types.

  61. AnnaBanana says:

    I LOVED Francesca Lia Block when I was younger-still do in fact. Her depictions of girls are done really well and Girl Goddess #9 was heartbreaking in a really fantastic way. She came out with a new book called Beauty and the Beast or something a few years ago and, from what I remember, she took fairy tales and set them in LA with a kind of dark twist to them. I remember being vaguely disturbed, but absolutely entranced by her style.

    I read a few of the GG series and liked it…kinda…but I thought it was too shallow and there were SO many characters that I couldn’t keep them all straight. I liked the first few Clique books because I found myself relating to Claire at a time when the pretty, popular, rich girls were making fun of me for my unashamed geekiness. But I hated that Claire was jumping at the chance to ditch her insanely awesome friend with the thrift store clothes and multi-colored hair to hang out with girls who would never even THINK to donate their last season clothes to something as common as a thrift store…So I started reading the awesomely imaginative Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray…FANTASTIC! She has all of these great allusions and stuff in her novels and I feel smart because I know WHERE they come from and WHAT they mean in the context of the rest of the story. I also really like this book called Nobody’s Princess (can’t remember who it’s by, sorry) about Helen of Troy before she’s Helen of Troy. Helen is a bit of a tomboy and a loudmouth which I find AWESOME because I always thought of her as vain and shallow because she was supposed to be so pretty that she had a war fought over her. Wow, run-on. After reading Hamlet in twelfth grade, I found a book called Ophelia by Lisa Klein (I think it’s Lisa…) but it was awesome too, and my English teacher, a self-proclaimed feminist, loved it as well.
    And Meg Cabot will ALWAYS rock. All of her heroines are considered weird by their peers and still manage to get a guy who is usually an adorable, smart, hot nerd.
    That was ridiculously long, and now I must rush off to my first class of my sophomore year in order to get a degree that will get me a job teaching high school so I can eavesdrop on unsuspecting future high schoolers and write a kick-ass novel with the knowledge that I will gain and become famous and travel the world and be all-around awesome…but I can’t do that til I get to class!!!!

  62. Milla Green says:

    I know, your’re totally right! And I’m not just talking about literature, no, I’m talking about how everything turned to be money and beauty, shallow and materialistic. 20 years ago (Ok.. Im not that old) you went out to the street and not everything was about the way people looked, what they were wearing, what type of machine they were carrying. Well, they were always people richer than other, but not THIS way! Im really concern about the world, about young minds and no so young. I hate this. And the people who agree with this, just do because they’re just another one of them.
    Poor souls…

  63. Neek1981 says:

    I’ve never read Gossip Girl or The Clique. I can’t relate to that sort of thing. I tried to watch the GG TV series, but was completely turned off of it. I’m drawn toward the old school YA fiction. Here are the YA books I’ve loved and still read occasionally:

    Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry—Mildred D. Taylor
    Up a Road Slowly—Irene Hunt
    Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret—Judy Blume
    The Road to Memphis—Mildred D. Taylor
    Jacob Have I Loved—Katherine Paterson

    Anyone read these?

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