Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. 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.
Frankie Landau-Banks. 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.
A Piece of Evidence
December 14, 2007
To: Headmaster Richmond and the Board of Directors
Alabaster Preparatory Academy
I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. I take full responsibility for the disruptions caused by the Order -- including the library lady, the doggies in the window, night of a thousand dogs, the canned beet rebellion and the abduction of the guppy.
That is, I wrote the directives telling everyone what to do.
I, and I alone.
No matter what Porter Welsch told you in his statement.
Of course, the dogs of the Order are human beings with free will. They contributed their labor under no explicit compunction. I did not threaten them or coerce them in any way, and if they chose to follow my instructions, it was not because they feared retribution.
You have requested that I provide you with their names. I respectfully decline to do so. It's not for me to...
Lockhart has a sensitive ear for her characters' young voices; the dialogue is funny and real. 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.
(Reviewed by Jo Perry).
Full Review (939 words).
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 ...
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