Review: Clique Bait by Ann Valett

Goodreads // Chloe Whittaker is out for revenge.

Last year her best friend Monica’s life was unceremoniously ruined by the most popular students at their high school, so this year Chloe plans to take each and every one of them down. She’s traded in her jeans and T-shirts for the latest designer clothes, erased anything on social media that would tie her to Monica (and blow her cover), and carefully figured out how she will befriend the members of the clique, find out their deepest and darkest secrets, and reveal them to the world.

Chloe has the perfect plan . . . but there’s one thing she didn’t prepare for. And that’s falling for someone she’s determined to destroy. The closer she gets to uncovering the secrets the in-crowd is determined to cover up, the more she realizes that she is going to have to choose between betraying her oldest friend or the boy who’s captured her heart.

⭐⭐.5 to ⭐⭐⭐

I read Clique Bait with my friend Anna, and I’m sharing this review after we both finished the book and discussed our thoughts.

I liked the basic plot premise. Chloe’s set on revenge against her school’s clique of popular kids who are responsible for something to Chloe’s former best friend, Monica. I like YA mysteries/thrillers and this one was intriguing from the start. What really happened to Monica and how were these people involved? That’s what kept me engaged throughout.

But the big reveal was underwhelming; the story builds up to it too much but it doesn’t deliver. That is the case with a few other aspects of this novel as well. The execution just leaves a bit to be desired.

First off, Chloe’s revenge plan is supposed to be carefully planned and thorough, but that’s not what I saw. It seemed like she just had a vague idea and method, and then she was making it up as she went along. I’ve read other YA mysteries that had such careful, elaborate plots: such as One of Us is Lying, and The Cousins, both by Karen McManus; or I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan. Compared to those, this plot felt very amateurish. In a way, it’s more realistic for a teenager to come up with a sloppy plan, but it doesn’t make for a very interesting or engaging story.

Secondly, the majority of the characters fell flat and were just underdeveloped in general. Take the main character, Chloe – I may have read this whole book from her perspective, but I just don’t feel like I know her. Then, the “villains” – why were they the way they were. What were the motivations behind their behavior? It’s just not clear.

All in all, it’s not a bad book per se; it has room for improvement in some aspects, but I did enjoy it while I was reading.

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