As a librarian, I read a lot of books, some excellent, some pure entertainment, and some entirely forgettable. But every once in a while, I stumble upon a book that makes me look at the world a little differently, a book I know I'll never forget. And so it was with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.
Big ideas are an essential part of the fun in this sparkling and quick read. During a summer vacation, Frankie has blossomed from duckling to swan. Now back at her elite boarding school, she 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. Frankie 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. Frankie is the ultimate feminist role model and not just for teens -- a girl with guts and imagination who's brave enough to take on the "old boy's club."