Between her freshman and sophomore years at Alabaster Prep, Frankie Landau-Banks blossomed. When she returned to school, people who'd never noticed her before were suddenly falling all over themselves to be around her—including gorgeous senior Matthew.
It doesn't take long for Frankie to realize that Matthew is involved in the all-male secret society that her father always goes on about, though Matthew has never said anything about it to her. His failure to include her in that part of his life is one of the things that sparks another big change in Frankie: that of her refusal to accept situations she is unsatisfied with.
Frankie Landau-Banks is totally irresistible. Due to her discovery of P. G. Wodehouse:
Second, Mr. Wodehouse is a prose stylist of such startling talent that Frankie nearly skipped around with glee when she first read some of his phrases. Until her discovery of Something Fresh on the top shelf of Ruth's bookshelf one bored summer morning, Frankie's leisure reading had consisted primarily of paperback mysteries she found on the spinning racks at the public library down the block from her house, and the short stories of Dorothy Parker. Wodehouse's jubilant wordplay bore itself into her synapses like a worm into a fresh ear of corn.
...she invents the "neglected positive", which, of course, leads to the "imaginary neglected positive". I'm not going to explain it—just trust me when I say that it's hugely fun wordplay and the best, most creative personal language/slang I've run into in a while. And trust me when I say her IMPs alone were enough to made me adore her, though I also loved her because she was smart, stubborn, somewhat solitary, her story is introspective though she herself is not a navel gazer or a gusher, and she is independent and logical. She hasn't figured it (it being life or herself) all out yet, but she's well on her way.
As I said, Frankie Landau-Banks is totally irresistible*. So are E. Lockhart's books in general. Each new novel has been better than the last (and she started on a high note to begin with!). The stories, characters and emotions have become more and more nuanced, and I've been thinking about this one ever since I read it two weekends ago. This is definitely one to put on the YA Books to Hand to Adults list.
*SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER
As an adult reader, I found myself adoring her so much and feeling so protective of her that I despised her boyfriend—even though he was really only guilty of underestimating Frankie, of condescending to her and of not fully appreciating her. He was totally within his rights to not tell her about the Bassets, and he was totally within his rights to be angry with her for what she did. But it all made me want to slap him anyway.
More blathering about books by E. Lockhart: