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Estelle: Fringe Girl by Valerie Frankel

Fringe Girl by Valerie Frankel
Release Date: April 4, 2006
Pages: 256
Target Audience: Young adult
How I found out about it: On the back of a Jessica Darling book.
Format: Paperback borrowed from the library.
Summary: After I read Frankel’s Accidental Virgin and loathed it completely (strong words but it made me angry), I was hoping she would redeem herself with the Fringe Girl series.  And she did.

In a completely relatable story, Adora Benet, the daughter of parents who write sex and relationship help books and an adoring little sister, has been dubbed Fringe Girl at her Brooklyn high school. Fringe as in bangs, but it also relates to her place in the pecking order at school. She’s not a part of the Ruling Class, but instead she floats somewhere in the middle.

For a social studies assignment, Adora decides enough is enough and she is going to bring down uber-enemy Sondra and the entire higher class. Which one of us didn’t want that to happen when we were in school? Of course, things go a bit haywire and Adora’s feelings about popularity and friendship are tested.

This book is funny, and Adora is as real as the girl sitting next to me on the train every day. She’s insecure; she can be mean and thoughtless; she’s funny; she crushes on guys; she’s smart; and she makes countless mistakes. I love it. While I love how her friendships with her two best friends, Liza and Eli, are ones that has lasted forever, I really enjoyed the family dynamic within the Benet family. Very open-minded parents who are ready to talk about anything, and a sister who wants the acceptance of her big sister.

Despite the fact that there are many characters in each book, Frankel does a great job of touching on these subplots and giving them their own substance. Since this isn’t always the case in books of this nature, it was nice that we were getting to know these other characters as well. Plus, I’m a fan of anything set in New York and you get a glimpse into these well-off Brooklyn families with kids in private school. (The school system seemed like college to me.)

Luckily when you finish this book, there are three others following in the series. All of them are equally enjoyable, even if sometimes past storylines don’t hold up completely (you’ll get what I mean when you read them). I was actually upset there wasn’t another book after the fourth. Since that one came out in 2008, I doubt Frankel is writing another.

Just a little advice: I had trouble finding the second book, Fringe Girl in Love, even in my library so I bought it used on Amazon (it’s not available as an e-Book for the Nook either.) Be sure to check out American Fringe & Fringe Benefits.
November 18, 2011 - 1:49 pm

Estelle - I always feel surprised when I find a good series and realize it was published awhile ago. I thought the same thing about Sloppy Firsts… why had I not heard about it in high school?! I hope you’ll check out Fringe Girl though. I was surprised how attached I got to Dora. Thanks for the comment, Ashley!

November 17, 2011 - 11:49 am

Ashley - I haven’t actually heard anything about this book or series before this review, but it sounds interesting! I love a good Contemp story and I will look into this one, see if maybe my library has a copy. 🙂

November 12, 2011 - 4:27 am

Samual - I think I’ve heard about this book somewhere a few years back, but have never gotten the chance to look for it again. Now I’m glad you reviewed the book. Thank you for sharing such an honest review!

See you around.

Sam
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