Young women will savor this subversive cautionary tale of a
girl geek's exhilarating pursuit of power -- sexual, intellectual, and social --
within the retrograde, male-dominated world of an elite boarding school.
As her sophomore year at Alabaster Preparatory Academy begins, Frankie
Landau-Banks, articulate and savvy about almost everything except love, learns
quickly that secondary sexual characteristics aren't secondary at all. The
formerly invisible freshman girl has "transformed from a homely child into a
loaded potato", a potato that one desirable boy in particular finds as
deliciously appealing as Frankie finds him. Lockhart arranges things so that the
mere sight of her crush, senior Matthew Livingston, sends Frankie tumbling off
her bicycle. With ironic efficiency, Lockhart has Frankie rescued, flirted with,
and charmed. There is no surprise when...
Beyond the Book
Invisibility and the Panopticon
Adults have neither presence nor influence at Alabaster Prep. If they matter
at all, it's only as offstage dispensers of wealth, tradition or status. Instead
(like its Gothic counterpart Hogwarts), Alabaster's architecture and geography
-- ponds, woods, golf courses, dorms, libraries, and most importantly,
off-limits and secret places -- are powerful historical elements in the novel.
Frankie, once an invisible freshman geek within the school's society, now an
uncomfortably visible sophomore, returns to and exploits invisibility as she
spies on her boyfriend and the school's secret society. As Frankie penetrates
Alabaster's mysteries and exploits that knowledge in the execution of grandiose
pranks, she invisibly controls and...