It's Not Easy Being Mean came out on March 7, 2007 and is the seventh book of The Clique series.
The Pretty Committee is back at OCD and they've got a new goal: finding a key that unlocks the school's legendary secret room. Alpha eighth grader Skye Hamilton has stashed the key in the bedroom of a mystery Briarwood boy- but which one? Looks like the Pretty Committee will have to search them all!
Massie and the Pretty Committee return to OCD to find that eighth grade alpha Skye Hamilton is holding a competition for a key. This key is apparently the key to being the guaranteed alphas of the eighth grade after Skye and her clique, the DSL Daters, leave OCD.
The book starts with the Pretty Committee hanging out in Massie Block's room, trying to decide what to wear to show the students at OCD that, according to Massie, they're 'back and better than ever'. Tons of people who are super-big fans of Claire, (FOCs) thanks to her movie, Dial L for Loser, are gathering around Claire Lyons' house while Todd Lyons and Tiny Nathan sell Claire's things. It's the day before their first day back at OCD, and eight grade alpha Skye Hamilton turns up with a CD that tells them about a legendary key that unlocks an amazing, forgotten about room located in OCD. Whoever gains access to this key automatically becomes the eight grade alpha, and usually the seventh grade alpha is automatically handed over the key. But it was the fifth anniversary of the secret room, so Skye decides to hold a competition to allow LBRS a chance to become alpha. If the Pretty Committee doesn't find the key, they'll live eighth grade in misery. Skye hides the key under one of the Briarwood Boys' mattresses, and she wrote a poem as a clue to where to find the key:
The boy who sleeps atop the key
is into the exact same things as me.
He loves all creatures, big and small
so his age doesn't matter, not at all.
I try not to think about his glamour-don't style
by focusing on his kick-butt smile.
Note to self: I've kissed this guy,
but I've kissed them all - how bad am I?
We've already rode off in the sunset together
but next time we do, It will be forever. Holla!
At their first day back at OCD the Pretty Committee is warmly welcomed by fans of Claire Lyons (Dial L for Loser movie-star), and Massie Block and Alicia Rivera (reporting in on the movie). Massie becomes jealous of Claire for getting more attention than her, and Kristen Gregory becomes jealous of all of them for not getting any attention. Claire also considers moving to California, where she can experience a movie star career at full blast.
The girls go to the chapel to discuss tactics to get their hands on the key. Massie makes Claire call her boyfriend Cam Fisher so that they can go to his house and check for the key. Claire really wants to see Cam, but due to clashing events, Claire lies to Massie about Cam having his uncle over so that she can go see him on a later day.
The Pretty Committee go to the required soccer practice to find an angry coach make them strip their "improved" uniforms and they have to wear towels. Kristen didn't wear the uniform so she didn't get in trouble, and Claire didn't go to the soccer practice because she had a meeting with her agent.Claire goes to Manhattan to meet with her agent about auditioning for a movie. Her agent, Miles offers her a part in a movie about a run-a-way girl who falls in love with a prince and becomes a princess. If she does accept, she'll co-star with Cole Sprouse from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Claire's reluctant to accept the part because she'll have to chop up her hair and dye it black, plus get a bushy monobrow with sewed on goat hair.
Claire goes to Massie's meeting at the GLU's headquarters, wearing a knockoff hat and sun glasses. Everybody ignores her and they don't even ask her how the interview with Miles went. At the end of the chapter, Claire whips of her hat and glasses to reveal her choppy black hair and huge eyebrows.
The next day, the PC splits up to find the key. Massie goes to Derrington's house to find that his room is a disaster and dumps him. Alicia goes to Josh Hotz's house to find that he is a neat freak. Massie kicks Claire out of the Pretty Committee when she hears that she lied about Cam's uncle, and they go to Cam's house with out her.
Layne Abeley and Claire figure out that the key is under Layne's brother, Chris Abeley's mattress. They call what remained of the PC and appoint a conference to discuss the key with them at Alicia's house. Massie apologizes to Claire and they get the key and Claire back.
The story closes up when the PC are watching Kristen win a soccer game for her team. The DSL Daters show the Pretty Committee where the room is. The last few sentences is a cliff hanger, Lisi Harrison writes the girl's reaction to the room, but they don't say what's inside the room, which leaves you wondering. Skye opens the door and asks, "Did I lie?" The Pretty Committee gasp, and the book ends with a cliffhanger.
Look out boys, here comes the Clique!
Massie Block: Getting back into Octavian Country Day was a piece of sugar-free cake compared to Massie's next goal- finding the key that unlocks an ah-mazing legendary secret room at OCD. Alpha eighth grader Skye Hamilton and her clique have stashed the key in the bedroom of a mystery Briarwood boy- but which one? Whoever finds the key gets access to the secret room for an entire year and the prestige that comes along with it. But what happens when LBR Layne seems to be getting closer? This is way more than a matter of life or death; it's a matter of in or out!
Kristen Gregory: Always been a star on the soccer field, but her style gets majorly cramped when her friends are forced to join the team, too. They better start kicking some soccer balls or Kristen's going to start kicking some...!
Alicia Rivera: Uses her skills as a gossip reporter to scheme her way into the rooms of all the Briarwood hotties!
Dylan Marvil: Heard depression makes people lose weight. Is hoping for some sad news soon because she's popping donut holes the way some people pop Tic Tacs.
Claire Lyons: Being famous isn't what it's all cracked up to be. Her agent confiscates her gummies and forces her to do some very bad things to make her look more "edgy". Worst of all, her constant meetings with lawyers and movie execs are eating into her time with the P.C. and with Cam! Is being a Hollywood starlet worth the Gucci-high price tag?
The Clique: The only thing harder than getting in is staying in.