by E. Lockhart
Release Date: March 25th, 2008
Genre: Realistic Fiction
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Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.
This is the story of how she got that way.
"She felt strangely proud of herself for what she'd done. She had been right about what Porter had really meant, she was certain she had been.
But she also knew she'd acted like a monster.
Frankie hadn't liked herself while she'd been yelling at Porter-- but she had admired herself. For not being the littlest one at the table, like she'd been all her childhood, depending on the big people (Senior, her mom, Zada) to make sense of the world for her."
"So I was a monster, she thought. At least I wasn't someone's little sister, someone's girlfriend, some sophomore, some girl-- someone whose opinion's don't matter.
Frankie walked to her next class, not looking out for Matthew or Trish or anyone. Just feeling the power surging through her, with all it's accompanying guilt, righteousness, joy, and fear."
I used to want to be Frankie Landau-Banks. I still like to think we have some things in common. We're both ambitious. We both go to academically rigorous schools. However, by the end of the novel, I found there are some things I pitied her for. Being a leader is lonely. And maybe I'm complimenting myself a little too much here, but I thought a lot about myself while reading this novel. The writing was simple, very easy to understand, but at the same time thought provoking toward your own life. I enjoyed the various long words spread throughout because it made me want to expand my own vocabulary.
Characters like Frankie do this to me. She's a strategist, and that's all I've ever wanted to be. When I was a kid I wanted to be an evil mastermind; that's why this book suited me so well. However, Frankie and I do have large gaps between our personalities, and I'm so happy they exist. For instance, I like rules. I like to fret at the edge of them, but never cross in too deep. This is my comfort zone; it was not Frankie's. She was also charming only when it suited her, which I found to be powerful and irksome at the same time. By nature I'm polite; but I want to be rebellious. Frankie walked a fine line between the two (if that's even possible).
I also very much enjoyed the feminist aspects of this novel. I found myself respecting the way her mind works, but at the same time, I felt she didn't quite grasp the rules that surround feminism. She wanted to be the savior of woman, but it also seems as if she wanted to rule over men. Feminism is equality, and I think this is sometimes where women take the idea too far. We want men to treat us as equals, but therefore we have to treat them the same way.
The boys in this book very much annoyed me. Now, be warned, although Frankie does have a boyfriend throughout most of this, this story is in no way a romance. And thank goodness it isn't. The boys (not men, boys) were all condescending toward girls. If I had to go to a school with these people, I think I would resort to violence instead of strategy ;)
However, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, as it really strengthens the thought of feminism. It has really motivated me to become more intelligent, and those are the best kinds of books; the ones that make you want to make better choices.