The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

I really enjoyed this book. It’s a great YA boarding school book (I’ve always been fascinated by these, never having attended a boarding school myself) and I love almost everything about the main character, Frankie. Plus, it’s got secret societies in it. What’s not to love?

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks reviewAs Frankie transitions from awkward to attractive, she finds herself falling into a new crowd at school: Enter, newfound popularity‚ÄĒcomplete with gorgeous older boyfriend, Matthew. But Frankie quickly discovers that people don’t see her smarts, just her looks: Matthew most of all. And her family still thinks of her as a geeky kid who needs to be protected. Understandably, this gets under her skin. So Frankie takes matters into her own hands, determined to get the recognition her intelligence deserves.

Frankie is such a great character. She’s badass, but she’s also a teenager who wants desperately to be liked by the boy she likes, and to fit in with the crowd she idolizes. The only thing that bothered me was that Lockhart seems to have written Frankie as a girl who is always attracted to power-hungry males, yet, as intelligent as she is, she doesn’t seem to recognize this in herself. I’m not saying it isn’t a realistic thing — nobody is perfect, and I’m glad Frankie isn’t. It still bothered me though.

I loved that Frankie picked up the habit of creating words from their opposites (e.g. creating dulged from indulged etc.) and thinks it’s so funny she just starts using these words all the time, much to the chagrin of the other characters. This is totally something I would have done in high school (and it would have annoyed my friends too).

I highly recommend this one. ūüôā

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The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

But first, a word about the new look of this blog. I was getting tired of the same old same old, so I decided to try on a new theme. Mostly, I love it. The photo I had on there before clashed with the alarmingly lemon-y new sidebar colour, so I had to change it. The only things I don’t love about it are 1) the ridiculous colour of the sidebars ‚ÄĒ ouch (sadly, I can’t change them), and 2) that the text for the links¬†is purple. Purple? Really? sigh. But these things I can live with.

So about this book. So cute! I loved it. Would have liked it a lot when I was a YA reader, for sure… it reminds me a bit of the old¬†Enid Blyton¬†books (though I confess it has been a long time since I read any of them, so I guess it just reminds me of my memory version of those books).

The four Penderwick sisters and their father have rented a cottage on an estate called Arundel for their summer holiday. Naturally curious, the girls get themselves into all kinds of trouble with the strict owner of Arundel, Mrs. Tifton.

I picked this one up after reading what Aarti had to say about it Рthe book sounded charming. I was able to get it basically right away from the library, and I was not disappointed! This is a great summer read, for sure. Birdsall does a great job of keeping it lighthearted through the calamities, and I love that Mr. Penderwick is always speaking latin.

Reading this¬†has also got me hoping that the box of my childhood books that I stored in 2009 is still kicking around somewhere. I’d love to reread those Enid Blytons again!

Magician’s Ward by Patricia C. Wrede

Told ya I had this one comin’ from the library. It was so good I devoured it in a matter of hours. I wish Wrede¬†had written more books about Mairelon and Kim!

Set in the same alternate regency England as Mairelon the Magician, where magic is a part of life, Kim is now living in Merrill’s (Mairelon’s) family home as his ward. She’s learning to talk and look like a lady, and she’s also learning magic. Of course she and Mairelon have a mystery to unravel. I was happy to discover, just at the point of the story where I was thinking, “Kim’s old enough that she could have a romantic interest now, isn’t she?”, one appeared. Excellent.

I may try out some of Wrede’s other series…

Up next: I’m reading the Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (prequel to the Hero and the Crown).

Mairelon the Magician by Patricia C. Wrede

This book was great. It’s exactly the kind of book I would have LOVED when I was a kid — heck, I love it now — and I wish I had discovered it when I was younger. It’s a bit heavier on the mystery side of things for my usual tastes but it was a captivating book. I would say it is more of a young readers book than a teen book.

Kim is a street kid living in London, passing as a boy and getting by however she can. When she’s asked to poke around inside a magician’s wagon, she get caught, and receives a surprising offer to join Mairelon, the magician, in his traveling show. Kim’s street smarts and observant eyes come in handy as she tries to help Mairelon unravel a mystery and clear his name as the suspect of a major theft.

I liked Kim so much that immediately after finishing the book I reserved its sequel, Magician’s Ward, from the library. Can’t wait for it to come in! So glad I discovered Patricia C. Wrede, and can’t wait to read more by her.