Chloe Whitticker wants one thing: revenge. Last year, a group of rich and popular students destroyed the life of Monica Pennington, Chloe’s best friend. Now, Chloe won’t stop to make them pay for ruining Monica’s life.
At this elite private school outside of Los Angeles, most students have money, but some have everything handed to them. They’re known to Chloe as Level 1. They’re evil and will crush anyone who stands in their way.
There is Lola: the Queen Bee, Sophie: the enforcer, Maddy: the ditz, Francis: Sophie’s eviler twin, Zach: the dumb jock and Will: the one Chloe needs to cooperate.
Chloe changed her appearance for this in order to fit in. She tests her new look at the first party of senior year, where she corners Will with blackmail she has on his father. Reluctantly, Will agrees to help to save his dad’s political career….and suggests they fake date.
Instantly, everyone knows who Chloe is and wants her as a friend. I mean, she is dating the hot and popular Will Bishop. But it won’t be easy to win over his friends. But what else is a girl to do to get the dirt she needs?
Complications come up along the way. Chloe has to decide whether it’s worth becoming just like the Level 1s, who she hates, in order to destroy them. Plus, falling for Will makes things even more difficult.
This was one of our most anticipated reads of 2020 so we went into it with high expectations. We have to say it wasn’t quite what we expected, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Based on the description we read, we assumed the revenge would have been a tad darker. On Goodreads it was described as Pretty Little Liars meets Burn for Burn. It definitely did not have the same edge as Pretty Little Liars. For those who haven’t read the books, they are darker than the TV show.
However, that wasn’t a bad thing. We had a lot of fun reading this story. Chloe was witty and out of place among the popular girls. Despite being rich, she never quite fit in at her elite private school.
She had a big reason for wanting revenge. The reader learns more and more about Monica’s back story as the book progresses. In some ways, we found it hard to feel bad for Monica when she treated Chloe poorly…but she didn’t deserve what Lola and Sophie did.
Will became more complex of a character as the story went on and we enjoyed that. He felt like he was pulled in two different directions battling his loyalty to his friend group and what terrible people they had become through the last few years.
We enjoyed the pacing as well. Valett didn’t give too much back story and it came out at the right time. Also, Chloe felt authentic in the way she became overwhelmed at times. She never quite thought her plan through and acted out of emotions.
One thing we didn’t love was the abrupt ending. It felt like the volcano had finally erupted and then poof, epilogue. We wish the resolution were more complex and less predictable. We also wish Chloe and Will’s relationship was focused on a bit more. We hoped for more swoon when a guy named Will is involved.
Overall, if you love Mean Girls and stories about revenge, you should read. Despite our annoyance at the end, we found ourselves laughing through most of the book. Clique Bait was a solid book from a debut YA author.