The Mommy Clique
by Barbara Altamirano
Atmosphere Press

"Only a funny thing happened: I realized no matter where I went, I was still me. I just couldn’t seem to shake off the person I’d always been."

In this play-like comedy, the neighborhood school bus stop is where the stage is set for a significant amount of the book. But it is the moms and not the students who are at the center of it all. In a story featuring a select group of archetypal characters, Altamirano tells of a clique of mothers who are at the top of the popularity chain. Elise, the queen bee, likes control and to never be outdone, treating her "friends" more like subordinates than anything else. When Beth, the new mom in town, moves to the neighborhood, she becomes the latest target for Elise's pranks, a way to initiate her into their group and also show the newcomer her place. Little does Elise know that this just might be her undoing.

Written in the first person, Altamirano's narrative uses five different points of view. Even if some characters strictly follow an archetype, each character is easily distinguishable. Even the chapter titles and section breaks play into each character's archetype, which gives it a nice humorous and parodic touch. Throughout the book, multiple valuable themes of identity and being true to yourself are incorporated. The benefits of popularity seem to be the motive of many of the moms enduring the clique. Still, the realization that it doesn't equal friendship is one of the biggest takeaways, including how outside appearances tend to be just that—appearances and not the reality. With its simple plot, conversational character voices, and humor, this book is great for anyone looking for a quick and entertaining read.

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