Dial L for Loser


By Lisi Harrison

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THE CLIQUE is back…
Massie Block: With her glossy brunette bob and Whitestrip smile, Massie is the uncontested ruler of The Clique and the rest of the social scene at Octavian Country Day, an exclusive private school in Westchester County, New York.
Claire Lyons: Has finally arrived! But will she be able to stay in Massie’s inner circle?
Alicia Rivera: Would love to take Massie’s throne one day. Just might do it.
Dylan Marvil: Massie’s second in command, who divides her time between sucking up to Massie and sucking down Atkin’s shakes.
Kristen Gregory: Will insult you to tears faster than you can say “scholarship kid.”
THE CLIQUE…The only thing harder than getting in is staying in.


Begin Reading

Table of Contents

A Sneak Peek of It’s Not Easy Being Mean

A Sneak Peek of Pretenders

Copyright Page

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author's intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at permissions@hbgusa.com. Thank you for your support of the author's rights.



Monday, March 2nd

10:30 A.M.

On their first school-free morning, the Pretty Committee gathered at Starbucks in the Westchester Mall and drank to their expulsion from Octavian Country Day.

"To Principal Burns and Mr. Myner." Massie Block lifted her low-fat sugar-free iced vanilla crème.

Claire Lyons folded her arms across her chest while Alicia Rivera, Dylan Marvil, and Kristen Gregory raised their white cardboard cups. It was her first winter away from Florida and she was still adjusting to the cold. Her lips were so chapped it looked like she had been making out with the zipper of her puffy blue jacket.

"Hello?" Alicia widened her brown eyes and glared at Claire's Chantico drinking chocolate, which was still on the table.

"Oops, sorry." Claire immediately scooped up the offending beverage and held it high.

Massie nodded in approval, then continued.

"To Principal Burns and Mr. Myner: Thank you for kicking us out of OCD." Her amber eyes flickered with delight. "From this day forward, stores are the new classrooms. Salespeople are the new teachers. Food courts are the new cafeterias. And Visas are the new seventh-grade ID cards."

"Ayyy-men!" Alicia hooted.

"Ayyy-men!" echoed the others.

"Jinx!" Claire giggled for the first time since she had been expelled.

The girls looked at one another, then snickered into their palms.

They were wearing what Claire and her best friend, Layne, secretly referred to as "black-tie sweats"—those velvety, two-hundred-dollar tracksuits that Massie described as "casual-cute." Claire, on the other hand, was "casual-casual" in a long-sleeved red tee and the nail-polish-stained Citizens of Humanity jeans she'd "borrowed" from OCD's lost-and-found before Christmas break.

"What?" Her heart started to race. "Don't you say 'jinx' here? Is it a Florida thing? I could teach it to you."

Massie knit her freshly waxed eyebrows. "Silly rabbit, jinx is for kids."

Everyone snickered again.

"Should we tell her?" Alicia asked.

Claire's cheeks warmed.

"Sure, whatevs." Massie shrugged.

"Jinx is so second grade," Alicia explained. "We're all about apple-C now."

"Oh, okay." Claire used her thanks-that-really-clears-things-up-for-me tone, hoping they could fast-forward to something that didn't make her feel like a foreign-exchange student.

Kristen sighed. "Apple-C is the keystroke on a Mac that—"

"I know." Claire suddenly got it. "It's the shortcut for copy, so you say it when someone is copying you." She would have finished with a duh but if jinx was second grade, duh was probably pre-K.

"Moving on." Massie jiggled the mountain of ice inside her plastic cup. "Here's to the Pretty Committee and the endless shopportunities that lie ahead."

"To the Pretty Committee and the endless shopportunities that lie ahead." The girls clinked, then drank.

"Apple-C!" Claire practically shot out of her seat.

"That was a toast, Kuh-laire." Massie rolled her eyes. "It doesn't count."

"Oh." Claire gulped her hot chocolate, accepting the burn on her tongue as punishment for being so stupid.

It had been six months since her family moved from Orlando to Westchester. Six months of living on the Blocks' estate, and six months of proving herself to the Pretty Committee. Finally, Claire was an official member, with an exclusive standing invitation to sleepovers, shopping trips, and five-way calls. But no matter how much fun the girls had together, she would wake up the next morning and need to impress them all over again. It was as if their leave-in conditioners seeped into their hair follicles while they slept and clogged their brains, permanently erasing "cool Claire" from their memories. There had to be something she could do to earn their full-time respect—but what? The more she tried to figure it out, the more elusive the answer became.

"We're living the American dream!" Dylan poked her finger though the creamy swirl on her caramel macchiato.

"Maybe you are," Kristen huffed. "But for me, this is a nightmare." She slammed her complimentary tap water on the table, ignoring the splash.

"I hear ya!" Claire gushed. "This place is so expensive they should call it Sixbucks. I'd much rather be in the OCD cafeteria. I'm over the Westchester."

"Ehmagawd!" Kristen recoiled. "Seriously?"

Claire stiffened, hating herself for saying the wrong thing—again. How could she have expected them to understand that at the mall she was just the new chick with a bad haircut, an empty wallet, and last year's jeans? But at school she was the mysterious outsider who, against all odds, had been accepted into the Pretty Committee. And that made her special.

"That was a joke, right?" Massie looked deep into Claire's eyes, silently urging her to take it all back. "You don't really want to be back at OCD, do you?"

"Of course not." She forced a huge smile. "This…" She opened her arms and turned to face the mall. "… is a total fantasy!" Claire silently thanked her parents for giving her three years of community theater acting lessons.

"I would love to share said fantasy." Kristen sighed. "But I have to do this." Her biceps twitched as she lifted the black Prada messenger bag the girls had bought her for her twelfth birthday. She turned it upside down and an avalanche of textbooks tumbled out. A History of Western Philosophy, Philosophy Made Simple, Philosophy for Dummies, and The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy were among the titles.

Everyone stared.

"My mom is forcing me to study philosophy until I'm back at school," Kristen explained. "She wants me to figure out the meaning of life so I'll know exactly what I'm throwing away." Her blue eyes began to fill with tears. "Her words, not mine."

"She's probably mad because you lied." Alicia lifted a steaming cup of Sumatra to her glossy, light pink mouth.

Kristen sniffled. "What was I supposed to do? Miss out on our first boy-girl field trip because my parents couldn't afford it? Puh-lease!"

"You told them you were going away with your soccer team, then hopped a bus to Lake Placid." Alicia pinched off a piece of her low-fat blueberry muffin. "And while you were there, you got expelled and lost your scholarship."

"Yeah, I saw that episode," Kristen hissed. "No need for the recap."

Massie put an arm around her and gave her a loving squeeze. "I thought it was very brave."

"Me too." Alicia grinned.

"Same," Dylan added.

Kristen tugged a chunk of her short blond hair. "Why does it seem like I'm the only one who got punished?"

"Because you are," Dylan smirked. "My mom can't be mad at me. This whole thing is her fault. If she hadn't been hooking up with Mr. Myner in Lake Placid, I never would have run away. You guys never would have chased after me, we never would have gotten lost in the woods, and we'd be napping in science lab right now."

"Well, I got punished." Claire slouched. "My dad woke me up at six thirty a.m. this morning and made me shower and get dressed, like I was going to school."

The girls made pouty frowns to show how sorry they felt about Claire having been denied her beauty rest.

"Then," she continued, "at exactly seven thirty I had to go out in the cold and stand by the Range Rover for five minutes and act like I was waiting for Isaac to carpool me."

"Seriously?" Dylan's green eyes were wide with disbelief.

"Yup. And the worst part was…" Claire pointed to Massie. "… your bedroom light was still off."

Massie accepted a congratulatory round of high fives.

"That's not all." Claire leaned forward. "My dad asked Layne to e-mail me our homework. I have to do it all. Every night! And that's the only time I can use my computer. Which, by the way, he moved into the kitchen."

Everyone gasped.

"But the worst part is, I can't ride my bike to Cam's, and I haven't seen him since Lake Placid." She paused to count on her fingers. "That was five days ago!"

"He's a guy." Alicia tossed her long black hair. "Make him come to you. It's less pathetic."

Claire ignored the jab. "He's not allowed. No visitors until I'm back in school. Not even Layne."

"Well, I can do whatever I want," Massie smirked. "As long as I prove it's educational."

"How is shopping educational?" Kristen asked.

"Figuring out my change is math. And speaking to you is English."

Kristen rolled her eyes.

"If the school board doesn't let us back in, my dad's gonna sue," Alicia announced.

"When are they meeting?" Claire asked eagerly.

"April second."

"They better change their minds." Kristen ripped her crumpled napkin. "Or I'm getting homeschooled."

"I don't care if we don't go back." Massie glossed her lips with Baby Aspirin—the latest delivery from Glossip Girl. "I want to try boarding school in Switzerland."

"Me too." Alicia nodded.

"Ehmagawd, same!" Dylan sounded utterly shocked by the coincidence.

"Well, I'll be going to Abner Doubleday Day," Claire moaned.

"Ew!" Alicia gasped. "Public school?"

Claire nodded slowly.

Alicia checked over her shoulder, leaned forward, and whispered, "ADD is full of juvenile delinquents who steal your lunch, then force you to buy it back for a hundred dollars."

The thought of fighting her way to the top—again—made Claire shudder twice.

"They hate private-school girls there. They think we're spoiled."

"What do they know?" Dylan pushed back her cuticles with the corner of her American Express gold card.

"Zzzzzzzz," Massie fake-snored. "Can we puh-lease go shopping now?"

"Given!" Alicia clapped.

"I'll be here studying." Kristen moped. "I'm getting quizzed tonight on Socrates."

"We'll pick you up on our way out." Massie reached into her burgundy leather wallet, pulled out a twenty-dollar bill, and tossed it on the table. "For me, the meaning of life is a Frappuccino and a cinnamon biscotti. Study that."

"Thanks!" Kristen beamed.

The girls pushed back from the table and threw their bags over their shoulders. Claire waved goodbye to Kristen, then followed Massie, Alicia, and Dylan into the bright atrium.

"Let's go to Juicy," Dylan suggested.

"No," Alicia whined. "Neiman's."

"Let's start at BCBG and we'll work our way left," Massie insisted. "Don't worry, we won't miss a single store."

Claire stuffed her hands in her empty pockets and yawned. Her parents didn't need to ground her for getting expelled. Being sentenced to a lifetime at the mall was punishment enough.



Tuesday, March 3rd

2:30 P.M.

Massie pulled a worn copy of Us Weekly from her leather Miu Miu shoulder bag and flipped to the red-carpet shot of Abby Boyd. The actress's dark boob-length mane was one part wave and two parts shine. It was a total ten.

"Isaac?" She unclipped her seat belt and tossed the magazine onto the driver's lap. "Does my hair look like hers?" Massie stroked her new hair extensions the same loving way she petted her devoted pug, Bean.

"Buckle up," he insisted, never taking his eyes off the road. Once they came to a complete stop, he lifted the glossy photo to his face. "Yours looks better." The corners of his eyes crinkled when he smiled. "I said that when I picked you up from the salon."

"Yeah, but that was five minutes ago—you could have changed your mind." Massie giggled so he'd think she was joking, even though she wasn't.

"Well, I haven't."

"Swear?" Massie held out her pinky.

"Swear." Isaac wrapped his baby finger around hers and shook. "You look like a glamorous movie star."

Massie leaned back in the cushy seat and winked at the picture of her favorite actress-slash-hair-muse. They were both wearing black tights, dark denim minis, and ankle boots. The only difference was their tops: Abby had on a white mesh see-through beater over a turquoise bra, while Massie had opted for a green-and-brown striped Ella Moss sweater. She had to draw the line somewhere.

"Where to?"

"Alicia's," Massie chirped. "The girls are waiting for me. We're going to the mall."


"Yup." She tried to sound excited, but after yesterday's six-hour spree it was clear that March was all about discounts on size-ten winter boots and XXL turtlenecks in primary colors. If only they had been expelled in December, during the holiday and resort collections, or in April, when the spring lines were out. But no—she was trapped in shopping limbo doomed to four weeks of sale-surfing. First school, now this—her entire life was on hold.

Isaac stopped in front of the iron gates that surrounded the Rivera estate and tapped the horn. It was impossible to see if the girls were coming, because a cluster of maple trees—which had somehow managed to keep their leaves through winter—blocked the stately stone mansion. But the familiar click-clack of heels assured Massie that her friends were only a few feet away. Quickly, she glossed her lips and smoothed her six-hundred-dollar 'do.

"Who's ready for another day at the mall?" she bellowed as the girls piled into the Range Rover.

"Shhhhh." Kristen pressed a finger against her mouth. "I'm supposed to be at the library."

"And I'm supposed to be at Alicia's, talking to her dad about the lawsuit," Claire whispered.

"I'm allowed to go to the mall." Dylan forced a camouflage cap over her thick red curls. "As long as I buy my mom a jar of La Mer face cream."

"I can do whatever." Massie gathered her extensions into a ponytail, then let them fall over her thin shoulders.

"Ehmagawd! Your hair!" Alicia squealed. "I totally heart it!"

"Huh?" Massie acted confused, like she had forgotten about it. Her beauty had to seem effortless, or they wouldn't be as awestruck. "Oh, you mean my extensions? You like 'em?"

"You look ah-mazing." Dylan tugged on her navy Daryl K scoop-neck sweater until it hung off her shoulder.

"Kind of like Abby Boyd," Kristen offered.

"I totally agree." Claire smacked her thigh.

"Really? Abby Boyd?" Massie tried to suppress the resounding yay! building inside her. "I never would have thought that." She stuffed the Us Weekly toward the bottom of her bag while avoiding Isaac's knowing glance in the rearview mirror.

"So, I was thinking." Kristen unbuttoned her lime-green coat and tossed her book-filled Prada in the very back. "Maybe instead of shopping… we should see a half-price matinee."

"Ew!" Dylan winced. "Those things are filled with old ladies who smell like pee and vitamins."

"Let's get our nails done." Alicia wiggled her fingers in the air.

Claire sighed. "It's too bad we aren't allowed on OCD property."

"Why?" Massie pinched her eyelashes to make sure her mascara hadn't clumped.

"Because Layne is leading a protest to get us back in. And it would be cool to watch."

"Hmmmm, Layne." Dylan twirled a red ringlet around her index finger. "I forget. Do we like her?"

"I do," Claire snapped, and turned to the window.

"What time is it happening?" Kristen asked.

"After school."

Massie consulted her Coach watch. "Isaac." She unbuckled her seat belt and put her hand on his shoulder. "Can you drop us on the corner of Birch and Worth?"

"I'm not taking you anywhere unless you buckle up."

She rolled her eyes. After nine years, Isaac was more like a second dad than the family driver.

"Here! This is perfect!" she shouted when he pulled up to the crosswalk. "We'll get out here."

"I'll pick you up in a half hour," Isaac announced. "Don't be late."

Kristen grabbed her Prada bag out of the backseat. "Ugh," she grunted as she hooked it over her shoulder. "These books weigh a ton."

Massie buttoned her white faux-fur jacket and put on her aviators, despite the gray sky. "Leave 'em in the car."

"Can't." Kristen sighed. "My mom is all-knowing."

"Does she know you're paranoid?" Massie slammed the door and Isaac drove off.

"Well, what if we get caught?" She adjusted her bag again.

"Big deal." Massie finger-combed the ends of her extensions. "It's not like they can expel us."

"Point." Alicia lifted her finger and drew an invisible number one in the air.

"They could cancel the board meeting and decide not to let us back in." Claire wrapped a multicolored polka-dot scarf around her neck.

"Lose the scarf and we won't get caught." Dylan giggled. "You can see that thing from space."

Everyone laughed.

"Let's go." Massie led the way toward campus. The faster she walked, the more her hair bounced and swayed. She felt free! No more homework, tests, or sweaty phys-ed classes. If she wanted to read magazines for five hours while Jakkob glued hair to her scalp, she could. Life was hers for the taking. So why did she feel like an empty tube of lip gloss, a hollow shell with nothing left to give?

"We should take cover in the faculty parking lot," Kristen suggested. "It gives us a perfect view of the Great Lawn and we can hide behind the cars."

"Fine, but we enter from the back," Massie added. "Hurry! The bell is going to ring in—"

"Fifty-five seconds," Kristen interrupted.

"Fifty-four seconds," Massie insisted. "Come awn!"

They scurried around the block giggling and shushing one another.

"Wait up," Alicia called. "You know I can't run."

"Just watch what we're doing and copy!" Dylan shouted.

"Apple-C!" Claire yelled.

"Not funny," Alicia panted.

They didn't stop until they reached the foot of the parking lot. "This is weird," Kristen whispered under her breath.

No one else said a word.

They stood gazing at the assortment of fuel-efficient cars that stood between them and their old school. Massie felt like a ghost of her former self, coming back from the dead to take a final glimpse at the life she was leaving behind… the life she had taken for granted.

She wanted to ask her friends if they missed the eraser smell of the halls. Or the rambling, dorky stories their English teacher would tell them about his hairless cats. Or text-messaging during study period or laughing during lunch or counting the compliments they'd get from the LBRs (losers beyond repair) or going to the soccer games at Briarwood Academy and flirting with their crushes. But she didn't. It was her job as the alpha to keep their spirits up. They needed her.


"There it is," Massie announced. "It's showtime."

"Quick!" Kristen cried. "Get behind that VW."

"Which one?" Dylan panicked. "There are, like, ten of them here."

"The dirty white one with the 'Less Bombs, More Art Supplies' sticker." Kristen pointed to a beat-up car sandwiched between a GMC Jimmy and a gold Ford Taurus. "It's in the first row."

They crouched next to the expanding oil stain between the rear tires.

"Perfect view." Massie wiped her cold, clammy hands on her black tights. That same nervous flutter she'd felt in her stomach right before she lip-kissed Derrington in Lake Placid was back.

"Aren't you so glad we're free?" Dylan asked.

"Given," Alicia purred. "We can do whatever we want whenever we want. We don't have to come here ever again."

"It's true," Dylan agreed. "We're here because we want to be. Not because we have to be."


All of a sudden, a rush of girls burst through the doors. Most of them wore skinny jeans tucked into their knee-high boots, or Uggs with miniskirts. Some were laughing, while others were on their cell phones. Everything was exactly as it had always been. Even though Massie wasn't there.

"Kuh-laire," Massie hissed. "Where is this protest?"

Claire bit down on her thumbnail and shrugged.

Hahhhhh… Hahhhhh. The sudden roar of a cheering crowd interrupted.

"K, you're ringing," Massie snapped.

"Oops. Sorry." Kristen pulled a scratched silver phone out of her argyle sock and flipped it open. "Hi, Ma." She rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'm studying."

The girls giggled.

"What do you mean, prove it? How can I prove it?" Kristen opened and closed the Velcro strap on her green-and-white leather Pumas as she listened to her mother's instructions. "Are you serious?… Fine. No problem." She quickly flipped her messenger bag upside down and dumped the books on the asphalt.

"What is it?" Massie whispered. "What does she want?"

"Outta the way!" Kristen mouthed. "Hurry!"

They all jumped back, searching one another's faces for an explanation. When the area was clear, Kristen lifted her phone and snapped a picture of the pavement. She immediately forwarded it to her mother.

"Did ya get it?" She silently invited the girls back. "See, I told you I was alone.… Yes, I'm outside. I needed some air. The heat was blasting in the library and—" She paused. "Yes, I'll be home by five. Love you too." She stuffed her phone back in her sock and exhaled. "This protest better work. I can't handle this much longer."

"There she is!" Claire stabbed the air with her finger.

Layne was waving a sign made of white poster board that had been taped to a long twig. A grainy, blown-up shot of Claire smiling sweetly was taped to the front, and SAVE THE LYONS was painted across the back in big maroon letters. Two Gwen Stefani–wannabes with identical signs followed closely behind her.

"You know, if she would just brush her hair, get a few blond highlights to offset the mousiness, and stop shopping in the men's department of the Salvation Army, she'd have cute-potential," Dylan said. "She has nice blue eyes. Small, but nice."

"They're green," Claire murmured.

"Save the Lyons!" shouted Layne and her BFFs, Meena and Heather, as they poked the sky with their signs.

"Ehmagawd," Alicia screeched. "This is the protest?"

"I assumed it would be for all of us." Claire's cheeks turned bright red. "I am so sor—"

"Puh-lease! I'm glad Layne's not fighting for me," Massie said to the oil stain beneath her feet. "The last thing I need is for people to think we're friends."

"Point," Alicia uttered.

"This whole protest thing is stupid. I feel bad for you, Claire."

"Huh?" Claire tugged on her short honey-blond bangs. "Why?"

"I just think it may ruin your chances of getting back in." Massie checked her nails for dirt. "The board may think you're causing more trouble. They could see you as a threat."

"Really?" Claire's blue eyes were wide with fear.

"Yeah, but don't worry. We've taught you a lot. I'm sure you'll be fine at ADD."

Claire sat back on the frozen ground, hugged her knees to her chest, and lowered her head.

"Let's get out of here." Massie jumped to her feet. There was no way she was going to stick around to watch Claire's pathetic little fan club treat her like last year's Sevens.

"Wait!" Kristen grabbed Massie's ankle. "Look!"

A circle of at least thirty girls was forming in front of Principal Burns's office window with bigger, flashier, more fabulous signs than Layne's.

"Take pity on the Pretty Committee! Take pity on the Pretty Committee! Take pity on the Pretty Committee!" they chanted.

"Ehmagawd!" Massie crouched back down. "They're wearing purple tulips in their hair. My favorite color."

"Look." Dylan pointed. "That sign says, 'We Want Massie Back in Class-y.'"

"Love that!" Massie tapped her heart.

"I see one that says, 'Unblock the Block!'" Kristen chimed in.


"Aren't you afraid you won't get back into school now?" Claire smirked.

Massie checked her reflection in a hubcap, ignoring Claire's jab.

"Ehmagawd, there's one for me!" Alicia clapped.

"Where?" Massie hissed.

"There." She pointed to Olivia Ryan, whose sign, ALISHA WE MISH-YA, doubled as an advertisement for her stupidity.

"Um, she spelled your name wrong." Kristen cackled.

"So?" Alicia glowered.

"Ehmagawd, Massie, look!" Dylan gasped.

Massie held her palm in front of Dylan's face, ordering her to wait. She was in the middle of counting and didn't want to lose her place. There was one sign for Alicia, three for Claire, and eighteen for her. Not bad. Of course, she'd be sure to tell her crush, Derrington, she'd had an even twenty-five.

"This is terrible," Dylan whined.

"The worst!" Kristen agreed. "Don't be so sensitive." Massie put her arms around her friends. "Just because no one made signs with your names on them doesn't mean—"

"No!" Dylan barked. "Look! By the bike racks."

Massie steadied herself on the dust-covered VW.

Strawberry and Kori, Alicia's ex-friends from dance class, hopped on their Bratz bikes and tore across the lawn. They pedaled like Lance Armstrong and rang their rusty bells, shouting, "Out with the old, in with Da Crew!"

"Who do they think they are?" Massie cried. "Do they seriously think they can start their own Pretty Committee?"

"Don't they have to be pretty to do that?" Dylan scoffed.

"Are they really going to call it 'Da Crew'?" Kristen winced.

"Looks like they have some competition," said Claire.

Four petite blondes in matching yellow tennis dresses charged across the lawn waving flags that said THE COUNTRY CLUB tied to vintage wooden rackets.

"What makes them think we're not coming back?" Massie shouted, forgetting they were on a stakeout.

Alicia stomped her foot. "My dad is so suing them."

"Why isn't Principal Burns breaking this up?" Massie searched the lawn. There wasn't a single security guard out there.

"Doesn't OCD encourage freedom of expression and the right to protest?" Claire asked.

Everyone stared.

"She's right." Kristen sighed. "It's in the handbook. After we got expelled I read it cover-to-cover looking for a loophole."


On Sale
Aug 23, 2006
Page Count
272 pages

Lisi Harrison

About the Author

Lisi Harrison is the author of The Clique, Alphas and Monster High series. She was the Senior Director of Production Development at MTV and Head Writer for MTV Production. Lisi is currently pretending to write her next novel.

Lisi lives in Laguna Beach, California.

Learn more about this author