To everyone's surprise - including her own - Frankie Landau-Banks made the proverbial transformation from ugly (well, average) duckling to swan during the summer between her freshman and sophomore years at Alabaster Prep. Returning to school without the comforting oversight of her older sister Zada, now graduated and off at Berkeley, she's a new person - or, at the very least, an unrecognizable one. While she's miffed that she seemingly made so little impression on people the year before, she's definitely making one now, and she's captured the notice of her long-time crush, senior Matthew Livingston.
Frankie's father attended Alabaster, and he's told tales of a secret society from his days there; rumors are that it's still around, and Frankie suspects that her boyfriend and his friends know something about it. The thing about secrets is that, one way or another, someone with the determination to crack them usually finds a way to do it - and when the person who cracks a secret knows something about it that you don't, power shifts.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is propelled by subterfuge and secret plots, but there's more to it than that. It's about challenging expectations and traditions, girl power vs. Old Boys, identity politics and social maneuvering. It's not just about high-school life; it's boarding-school life, where the intensity of high school ramps up because you're always there. And it's about Frankie Landau-Banks, whose sudden external changes are the catalyst for reassessing who she is on the inside, and for wanting to prove that she's more than what she is on the outside. She is certainly not her family's "Bunny Rabbit" any more; she is an emerging feminist with an active, inquiring mind of her own.
I loved this book from the first chapter. The story is smart, and so is the writing - it's funny, yet thoughtful, and rings true. And Frankie is one of the sharpest characters I've met--I adored her.