I’d see Kathy Perks’s The Lifeboat Clique advertised and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but I never really gave it a second thought.
Until, I read someone compare it to Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. And then I was like I MUST READ THIS BOOK THAT IS LIKE BEAUTY QUEENS!!1
So, of course I dashed off to Amazon and ordered it.
After finishing Daughters Onto Devils, I picked it up. And let me tell you, I nearly read it in a day — if I’d have the time to read all day. Once I got going, it was hard to put down. I was basically walking around reading as I was doing things. (No lie, I made pancakes while reading.) I was like Belle.
So, without further ado, here is the review…hey, that rhymed!
The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Perks
Katherine Tegen Books, 2016
What It’s About:
The basic premise is, an earthquake-caused tsunami overtakes Malibu, California, and ends up killing a bunch of high school kids at a party. A small group of five of those kids survive on a floating roof. Three of them are Popular Girls, one (our narrator) an outcast, and a boy who drifts between groups.
Here’s the more direct run-down. Denver, a social outcast and self-proclaimed loner, attends a party in Malibu, thrown by her ex-best friend, Abigail, after being invited by hot-Popular Boy, Croix.
All day, California has been feeling tremors of tiny earthquakes, which of course sets up for the Big Disaster later in the novel. (And by later, I mean by Chapter 4 or so.)
I’m going to skip over the play-by-play, because while the plot is interesting, it’s not really the “heart” of the story, or what makes it so good. So, skip to behind the cut if you’d like to read more about the plot, and maybe be a little spoiled…
So, we end up with five survivors on a floating roof. Denver, the narrator and protagonist, Abigail, her ex-best friend turned mortal enemy, two more popular, mean girls, and Trevor, classic California Surfer Dude.
While the other girls are soon to give up hope for survival and being rescued, Denver powers on. She credits her survival skills to watching countless hours of The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and of course, Bear Grylls. Denver’s really the one that helps the others survive. She figures out how to ration their supplies (a gallon jug of fresh water, two cans of Spam), fish with a hook made from her bra, and then how to start a fire on the island they eventually find. (OK, tiny spoiler — but you know it’s going to happen, because it’s written in first person. She has to survive.)
How It’s Like Beauty Queens:
I’ll admit it. It’s not REALLY like Beauty Queens, which was disappointing. There are definitely remnants — survival on an island (or at sea), popular girls vs. outcast — but it’s not really anything like Bray’s novel.
There are definitely some VERY humorous lines, and it’s something I’d read again, if only because I didn’t write down any of the great tips. Plus, I liked the voice of the story.
So. Even though it wasn’t exactly false advertising, it was still false advertising.
Regardless, I liked it a lot, so I’m glad I read it.
Characters: The characters are really well-developed. They all have their own personalities, hang-ups, and identifying characteristics. Parks did a great job of making the Popular Girls stand out, because they usually get lumped together with Stereotypical Traits. Abigail is a great antagonist. And Parks weaves a look at Old Abigail (when she was friends with Denver) through flash-back chapters, which works really well to see how the characters have evolved over the years.
I loved Denver. She was funny and sarcastic and real. She’s definitely someone I’d want to be friends with. I don’t know what else to say but, she was a great narrator/protagonist.
Plot: I loved the plot. It was a natural progression from one event to the next. The flash-backs were fluid and gave the reader a lot of background story, while also cutting up the parts of present-day where they were all stuck on the ocean together.
There was also a natural progression of character development with the plot.
Of course, there is a best-friend version of Happily Ever After (spoiler!), but it left the reader with a great message (without preaching).
This is a must-read for any YA fan. And I’m definitely adding it to my personal book collection.