9780786838196The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, by E. Lockhart (Hyperion, $8.99) is precisely one of the books I was thinking about when writing yesterday’s post. I want to say up front that it’s a great read and I do recommend it. Frankie, tired of being treated like a child, becomes a behind-the-scenes ‘criminal mastermind’ at her rather traditional, ‘boys club’ turned co-ed boarding school. She creates and organizes intelligent and symbolic pranks. She anonymously sends detailed instructions, and an unofficial fraternity on campus carries them out, not realizing, of course, who is orchestrating the schemes. Frankie is smart and insightful; I think a lot of teenage readers will relate to her frustration of not being taken seriously. What bothered me about this book, though, is that Frankie ultimately ends up alone. She is clearly in a class by herself, which means, unfortunately, that she is in a class by herself. I wish wish wish that there had been someone who got it, who understood her and valued her for the insight she provided. There was a moment when it seemed like her roommate might, but by the end, not so much. The book itself is rather upbeat. Frankie learns who she is and learns to value herself, even when no one else does. It was the ‘but no one else does’ that was kind of depressing and seems too often to be the way of the world. Fit in and lose yourself or be yourself and lose everyone else.

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