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Letters About Literature National Winners 2009

Honorable Mentions, Level 1: Carolyn McKenzie Propst

Dear Lisi Harrison,

I am not popular. Or at least, not the general sense of popular, like insecure-so-I-make-people-feel-bad-about-themselves-popular. The Clique was really an eye-opener for me. I was amazed and amused by how cruel these girls could be to each other and others. I am not going to say that girls aren’t like this in real life, because, sadly, some are.

These are very heart-warming stories, though. They show all of the girls that are like Claire, shy, timid, but sweet, that you can be popular no matter what you wear.

Maybe “popular” isn’t real at all. Maybe it is just our imagination that tells us who is “popular.” I mean, can you really define it? It is, I guess, just the way you feel when everyone wants to be you. When you have your special group of friends who always have a seat for you, who never leave you out. Maybe it’s how everyone looks up to you, from fashion advice to boy advice. In their eyes, you are the most special person. You could walk down the hallway, and all eyes would turn to watch you to learn how to become more “popular.”

Maybe it is because you think—no, you know--that you are special. You have no doubts about yourself, and people admire you and are drawn to you, like Massie. Even when you put people down, they just want to be around you. Self-confidence is truly a powerful character trait. That’s what it is about girls; we all want to be “popular”. Whether it’s putting people down, or just being everyone’s friend, we all just want to be thought of as “special”.

“Popular” is a very troubling characteristic. Nearly no one understands this. For those who don’t understand teenage girls and tweens, or misunderstand girls themselves, The Clique series is exactly, well, perfect! Not all the girls are harsh and confident like Massie. Not all girls are gorgeous like Alicia. Not all girls are sporty and misunderstood like Kristen. Not all girls are health-conscious like Dylan. Not all girls are real like Claire. But The Clique series understands all of us. From the famous fashion diva, to the sweet girl next door, we’re all the same.

This is why The Clique touched me. Outside we are different, maybe inside too. All of us share one part, though. We are all girls, and we’re all special, whether the world knows it or not.

Your avid reader,

Carolyn McKenzie Propst