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Publishers Weekly Review
Big ideas are an essential part of the fun in this sparkling tour de force. Back at her elite boarding school after a summer vacation in which she has grown from duckling to swan, sophomore Frankie starts dating cool, gorgeous senior Matthew and instantly becomes a part of his charmed social circle. Hanging with Matthew and his crowd is a thrill, but Frankie begins to chafe as she realizes that the boys are all members of the secret society to which her own father belonged, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hound, and that not only will they never let her join, Matthew will not even tell her about it. Lockhart (Dramarama; The Boyfriend List) dexterously juggles a number of smart and tantalizing themes-class and privilege, feminism and romance, wordplay and thought, friendship and loyalty-and combines the pacing of a mystery with writing that realizes settings and characters, large and small, with an artist's sure hand. Inspired by a class called Cities, Art and Protest, Frankie concocts a brilliant plan to infiltrate the Bassets and has them carry out a series of pranks that wittily challenge the politics of the school. Girls especially will be interested in this unusual portrait of a heroine who falls in love without blurring her sense of self, even if none of her friends understands her, and in Lockhart's fresh approach to gender politics. An exuberant, mischievous story, it scores its points memorably and lastingly. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-Frankie Landau-Banks has always been underestimated. After spending her childhood as a bright but sheltered ugly duckling, she begins sophomore year at her elite boarding school as a swan, catching the attention of senior Matthew Livingston. Frankie is ecstatic, particularly when she learns that he is the leader of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male secret society. She spends most of her time with Matthew and his friends but soon realizes that no matter how smart or funny she may be, she will never truly be a part of the group, simply because she is a girl. This frustrates her to no end. In a remarkable turn of events, Frankie takes control and begins to direct the Bassets, through email, in a series of elaborate school pranks, revitalizing the Order and the student body as well. These ingenious pranks embody the vigor of Frankie's personality, making social commentary on everything from the school's lack of female leadership to its disgusting cafeteria salad bar. Lockhart has created a layered and engrossing story that is as smart and quick as Frankie, combining the thrilling prospect of how she will get caught with her earnest attempts to understand what it means to be an outsider, an underdog, and in love. An empowered female hero like Frankie is a rare and refreshing find. She is the ultimate feminist role model for teens: a girl with guts and imagination who's brave enough to take on the "old boy's club."-Emily Anne Valente, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* In the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, Frankie Landau-Banks transforms from a scrawny, awkward child with frizzy hair to a curvy beauty, all while sitting quietly in a suburban hammock, reading the short stories of Dorothy Parker and drinking lemonade. On her return to Alabaster Prep, her elite boarding school, she attracts the attention of gorgeous Matthew, who draws her into his circle of popular seniors. Then Frankie learns that Matthew is a member of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male Alabaster secret society to which Frankie's dad had once belonged. Excluded from belonging to or even discussing the Bassets, Frankie engineers her own guerilla membership by assuming a false online identity. Frankie is a fan of P. G. Wodehouse's books, and Lockhart's wholly engaging narrative, filled with wordplay, often reads like a clever satire about the capers of the entitled, interwoven with elements of a mystery. But the story's expertly timed comedy also has deep undercurrents. Lockhart creates a unique, indelible character in Frankie, whose oddities only make her more realistic, and teens will be galvanized by her brazen action and her passionate, immediate questions about gender and power, individuals and institutions, and how to fall in love without losing herself.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2008 Booklist
Horn Book Review
(High School) Alabaster Preparatory Academy sophomore Frankie Landau-Banks is cute, clever, and dating one of the most popular boys in school -- who also happens to be the co-leader of an all-male secret society on campus called the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. At first Frankie is content just to be Matthew Livingston's arm candy, but the more he keeps secrets from her -- seriously underestimating her intelligence -- the more restless she becomes. By impersonating Matthew's co-leader over e-mail, Frankie takes control of the Bassets, secretly engineering campus-wide pranks such as fastening bras on paintings of the school's founding fathers. Over the course of the story, Frankie transforms from being her family's "Bunny Rabbit" into "a person who liked to be notorious" -- a change that comes as a shock to her friends, family, school administration, and, most of all, to Frankie herself. Throughout the story, a clinical-sounding narrator addresses readers directly, giving the book a case-study vibe and presenting Frankie's struggles in a dispassionate way ("How does a person become the person she is?"; "she might, in fact, go crazy, as has happened to a lot of people who break rules"). Readers are left to make up their own minds about this unique, multifaceted individual while giving her the space -- and the attention -- she so craves. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
This cerebral and offbeat comedy of manners will appeal to fans of John Green's An Abundance of Katherines (2006). Spunky boarding-school sophomore Frances "Frankie" Landau-Banks is tired of being underestimated by the men in her life, including her upperclassman boyfriend Matthew and his wittier-than-thou friends. Inspired by P.G. Wodehouse's Code of the Woosters, she infiltrates Matthew's secret and exclusive male club--The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds--and, unbeknownst to them, begins orchestrating their elaborate pranks. She hopes the boys will be awed by her ingenuity and finally acknowledge her brains as well as her recently developed body. But Matthew & Co. are less than pleased to discover Frankie's deception, and she learns the hard way that "it's better to be alone . . . than to be with someone who can't see who you are." Lockhart has transcended the chick-lit genre with this adroit, insightful examination of the eternal adolescent push-pull between meekly fitting in and being liked or speaking out and risking disdain. A funny feminist manifesto that will delight the anti-Gossip Girl gang. (Fiction. YA) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.