Frankie Landau-Banks attends a prestigious boarding school where the majority of the student population are made of money – mostly old money, but a few self-made newbies there too. Though Frankie isn’t generally one of these people, her father was and he’s determined that the world still operates on who you know, so his children shall attend – no argument.
At first Frankie is simply enjoying school – she’s a bit geeky and is in a range of clubs, she gets along well with her roommate, she has a boyfriend who then cheats on her but manages to get on from that… then the cutest guy she’s had an eye on, comes to her rescue when she falls off her bike. He’s part of one of the more socially exclusive groups and soon brings her in on it – but there she discovers there’s a club even more elite than this – the club her frustrating father went on and on about – an all-male secret society (yes, like in The Skulls), and she wants in. She’s growing increasingly more annoyed with her delightful boyfriend and how easily he dismisses her intelligence. She cops the same attitude from her family and those around her – why is it socially acceptable for guys to do what girls can’t, and so on.
Frankie is really quite fun in this – she’s witty, she thinks things through, she’s a geek for all kinds of facts, and she’s not afraid to stand up for herself. I felt the interactions between her and other characters were excellently realistic, capturing frustrating conversations and reactions without making them over-angsty or simplified. It also unfolded a balanced discussion on gender perception with a range of attitudes for and against and somewhere in-between. This isn’t a black and white book – it shows all the shades in between.
I read this in a day amongst other things – I just couldn’t put it down. It’s so good to have such an interesting protagonist, and this story is going to last with me for a while. I’d love to see what she accomplishes when she’s older! (Even by a few months, she’s not going to be held back by much.)