Hannah and the Lip Gloss Girls, and their rivals the Hell Cats, are Worse Than Boys in their violence, their petty nastiness and their gang mentality. But they’re proud of it. Not even when Hannah is ostracised by her own gang does she realise that their shallow, manipulative behaviour leads them nowhere. However, when adopted by the Hell Cats, she sees first of all their humanity and finally the dangers of allowing herself and her peers to be drawn further into their destructive behaviour.
Through Hannah’s self-assured narration, MacPhail demonstrates how tempting it would be to participate in her world. The reader then grows and develops along with Hannah. By the end of the novel, Hannah has found a better direction for her life and thus more rewarding personal relationships, but MacPhail doesn’t shy away from the darker issues. One of the bravest characters is left isolated in a harsh, threatening community. It is this balance between light and dark which gives the book authority and depth.