Well written with a great details on self-worth, feeling comfortable in your own skin, with no punches pulled because "I'm a girl". Good read for either girls or boys. Fun, with a sense of the absurd.
This is a great book for any age although it was written for a teen audience. Our book group read it and everyone enjoyed it. Our discussion ran past its usual time.
Frankie Landau-Banks sets out to expose the all-male secret society at her boarding school. Her father was in the Bassets, and she suspects her boyfriends is too. She becomes more adventurous in undermining their club as the year progresses. Frankie is frustrated by the condescending way she treated because she is a girl, but she also recognizes the privilege she has as a rich person attending a very prestigious boarding school. Frankie is underestimated by just about everyone, and that’s what makes the book so interesting.
Smart Feminist teen aims to take over a rich kids boys club. Books that are able to address feminism straight on lie this are rare.
New England! Boarding schools! Feminism! All things I enjoy, and I unsurprisingly really enjoyed this book about a girl at a fancy boarding school who infiltrates an all-male secret society. Lots of searing, funny feminist messaging here, written in a way that adds to the overall story rather than seeming like a distraction. I really liked this one.
I love love LOVE this book.
Lockhart does a great job of hooking you into the story right away; this one starts with a letter of confession from Frankie about her misdeeds at the elite Alabaster boarding school. The rest of the story fills in what happened. It's the tale of a teenage girl who is tired of being underestimated by her peers and family and takes some extreme measures to prove that she is more than what she seems. I was thoroughly engrossed and had a hard time putting it down.
Frankie's character raises many questions for the reader. She is smart and funny, but confusing. In her quest to be taken seriously, she seems to define herself by the very people and mindsets she despises. Is it clever or pathetic/obsessive that she inflicts the same schadenfreude on some of the Bassets that they do on others? Frankie never calls herself a feminist--and is she? It's hard to tell (especially with an older sister who attends Berkeley, self-identifies as one, and also shows great concern at Frankie's actions). Certainly, she is a girl growing into her woman's body and figuring a lot of that out, in relation to those around her.
There is lots of witty banter, creative pranking and hacking, and plenty of suspense as Frankie pushes the boundaries of respectability. At the same time, I agree with comments by an earlier reader that the frequent use of the omniscient voice that describes Frankie and her mindset was sometimes intrusive. It could have been toned down, at the very least.
However, if you're looking for an entertaining read about life among the young elite and the dynamics that rule them, this book is a definite must. Also try Looking for Alaska by John Green.
Frankie Landau-Banks is a difficult character to appreciate, at first. She’s spunky, smart, witty and observant. At the same time, she’s entered the stage when she desperately wants to please a boy…not just any boy, but her hunky, self-assured, rich, privileged boyfriend Matthew. The book thus careens between her two states of mind: one wherein she coolly observes Matthew’s indifferent attitude towards her life, family and friends, his clannishness with his pals, his secrecy and lies. The other state is one where she tries to stifle any sign that she’s clingy, overemotional, tearful, spiteful, catty or mean—all the traits that men seemingly can’t endure from women. Slowly but surely she proves that she’s intelligent and resourceful by beating the boys at their own game. Yet her motivation—the wish that they let her into their pathetic little boys club—undermines her efforts. If she did it to prove herself their equal or superior, that would be something to cheer. But merely wanting to become another pitiful sheep in the flock? Where’s the triumph in that? The book also suffers from an intruding third person narrative that jarringly shifts the spotlight from Frankie because the writer seemed to feel that exposition was necessary to explain certain things that occur before Frankie is born or off stage, as it were. This weakens the reader’s vested interest in Frankie and reduces her to being an unwitting piece on an invisible chessboard. It’s as intrusive as reading a text with footnotes. Surely some way could have been found to weave the necessary information into the story without this tactic. However, the story achieves unexpected success when the tale shifts to other people and we see the foundations of the patriarchal society against which Frankie pits herself. Her boyfriend turns traitor, willing to expose her but not his friends (the “bros before hos” mentality). He constantly dismisses or denies her feelings, telling her not to be oversensitive then commits an act of violence and blames her for it. Even her mother and sister turn on her, insisting that she get counseling while her little brother gets to misbehave and throw plants out of windows. The clear moral is the indulgent “boys will be boys” syndrome that allows males to create mischief but considers women mentally unbalanced when they decide not to follow the rules. The novel achieves this point subtly and smoothly over the course of its reading so it achieves a qualified approval. It’s certainly better than most run-of-the-mill YA fictions without the prerequisite happy ending. You suspect that great things are in store for Frankie; she’s come to learn that some rules are worth ignoring or changing.
I enjoyed this book. Frankie is a character I wanted to get to know and so I stuck it through to the end. She is, however, the only developed character. The roommate and boys are really two dimensional. Still, it was a quick read and I liked it. And, like another review said, it's enjoyable even for a grownup teenager, which I am (if you consider a middle aged with two kids, one a teenager herself, a "grownup teenager").
Boarding school, a secret club, practical jokes and a strong-smart-funny female heroine. This is a very fun read, even for grown-up teenagers.
blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over
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