“Secrets are more powerful when people know you’ve got them.” -from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks-E. Lockhart
People underestimate Frankie Landau-Banks. Because she is the youngest, her family refers to her as “bunny rabbit.” At Alabaster Boarding School, her new boyfriend, Matthew Livingston, loves having her by his side as long as she doesn’t challenge him intellectually or interfere with his commitments to a secret society.
Frankie loves being with Matthew. She had a crush on him all freshman year. She also loves being part of his crowd of popular seniors. Matthew and his friends are always being silly, building catacombs out of corn ears, putting four English muffins in their mouths at once and planning mysterious midnight outings.
And then there’s Alpha (known also as Alpha Dog) who has a kind of secret power over Matthew and friends. When Matthew cancels their date so he can hang out with Alpha and the guys, Frankie becomes a spy. She learns about The Loyal Order of Bassett Hounds, a secret all male society that has been at Alabaster since 1951. She even locates the secret handbook-a handbook so secret that the current members are unaware of its existence.
Frankie feels that Matthew and his friends don’t take her seriously. “Matthew had called her harmless. And being with him made Frankie feel squashed into a box-a box where she was expected to be sweet and sensitive (but not oversensitive); a box for young and pretty girls who were not as bright or powerful as their boyfriends. A box for people who were not forces to be reckoned with…Frankie wanted to be a force.”
Frankie masterminds a scheme for a silent takeover of the Basset Hounds. She creates a false email persona and starts giving orders for major pranks. Suddenly all kinds of strange things start happening on campus:
- Bras appear on the pictures of the Founding Fathers.
- The library dome is outfitted with a large brown parachute. In the center of the parachute, the dome’s nub had been painted bright pink,
- A large banner reads, “In the Ladies We Trust.”
- A statue of a guppy is moved and held for ransom.
And that is only the beginning…
I think high school students need to just enjoy a fun read once in awhile. Frankie makes a wonderful heroine. She’s clever and imaginative. She makes her mark at Alabaster Academy.