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The Disreputable History of Frankie…

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (edition 2008)

by E. Lockhart

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2,0451513,264 (4.02)74
Title:The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Authors:E. Lockhart
Info:Hyperion Book CH (2008), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Prinz, National Book Award, boarding school, secret societies, feminism, funny

Work details

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

  1. 20
    Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld (cataylor)
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    Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (zhejw)
    zhejw: I loved both books, but Pessl's is a notch up in language, character development, and plot. Lockhart's is the place for teens to start.
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    SheReads: The strong female characters navigating a boy's world.
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» See also 74 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
ARGH! I am really conflicted about this book. Up until the conclusion, I was really enjoying it, but I am struggling with its attempt at a sociological message.

I love that Frankie is a smart, strong girl who speaks up for herself and has clearly defined interests. I was like that as a teenager, EXCEPT when it came to boys, and then I turned into a "whatever you want" girl. Looking back, I was miserable, and I wish I could go back now and teach my young self a thing or two. If I could make myself have read this book as a teenager and learned from it to, for gosh sakes, *be myself* around boys, I'd be really happy. And I would gladly pass this along to my daughter with the same hopes, EXCEPT:

I Hate (with a capital H) when women take on the position that choosing to do traditionally "feminine" things, particularly having tried the alternative and finding that being "girly" is what one prefers, is somehow an invalid feminist choice. Wrong. Feminism simply means we insist upon the ability to make those choices, the same way men do, and it embraces them all. If a girl prefers to (paraphrasing here) "stay home and make crumbles instead of stand around with stupid boys drinking beer on a cold, dark golf course," well, can you blame her? And yet, an undercurrent of shame and derision for such choices runs throughout the book, equating them with lack of intelligence or, more subtly, courage or integrity. Shame on you, Ms. Lockhart. For shame.

More reviews at fefferbooks.com! ( )
1 vote fefferbooks | May 12, 2014 |
Spoilers alert!
This book is great because it is a book that describes a girl who doesn't really fit in. But she has a criminal mastermind that only she can use to get in all sorts of trouble. I would recommend this book to an older and mature audience that likes a mystery and suspence with a twist. I think this is a great book because it involves an underdog who will obtain a secret identity to go behind her boyfriends back and run a secret society of teenage boys. I really liked the way that this book was written, she has a unique style of writing suspense into her books. I could never really expect anything because it was all mysterious and very well thought out.

This story stars out with Frankie being in her second year of high school and trying to make friends. She falls off her bike and just like that, she is helped up by one of the most popular boys at the school. It was as easy as falling off her bike... Then she is 'inducted' into the group of all his friends, they are very secretive about their Secret Society of Bassets, which is a club for only boys to pull pranks at school. Frankie followed them one night to find out what is really going on and when she does, she wants in. So she creates a false identity of one of the Bassets and starts organizing some serious pranks like they have never done before. Before she knows it, she is getting in all sorts of trouble. Frankie gets one of the Bassets suspended under false suspicion and she looses trust of most of her friends. Suddenly this doesn't look like a good idea after all. Frankie writes a letter of apology to the school board, simply putting that she is responsive for all of the pranks and that the Bassets did not get forced into doing any of it, they did it under their own free will.
  GemmaF.B4 | Mar 16, 2014 |
There are things I liked about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and things I didn't.

Overall, I really enjoy E. Lockhart’s writing style. She writes intelligently and and cleverly. It’s clear she has issues to discuss, which for many authors can turn a novel into a thinly veiled soapbox speech. Yet Lockhart manages to blend the topics she wants to address with teenage-relevant stories you can actually believe. I love the self-aware quality of her narration, and I love how Frankie plays with language (neglected positives, anyone?).

The thing I didn't like? The ending. Or rather, one specific aspect of the ending. I won't say more here. Full thoughts on Erin Reads. ( )
  erelsi183 | Dec 13, 2013 |
Frankie, a fifteen year old geek transforms her sophomore year at boarding school to become a lanky beauty and the girlfriend of one of the most popular guys in school. She is now drawn into the circle of popular seniors, but still isn’t within the inner circle. Through humor, pranks, and a lot of brainstorming, Frankie becomes her old self times ten becoming the criminal mastermind she was meant to be. Great for text-to-text and text-to-self connections based on stereotyping, bullying, self-identity, self-acceptance etc.; writing prompts; character analysis; point of view; exploration of the feminist perspective etc. ( )
  Backus2 | Nov 30, 2013 |
Recently, on Twitter, I asked my feed for recommendations of books involving teenagers making a difference in the world and I was recommended this book. Let me get this out of the way right now: this is the kind of book the five-star rating was made for. This book is one of the best books I have ever read. Period. It's about Frankie, a 15-year-old girl who attends Alabaster, an exclusive prep school. It is about that. But then again, it's about every single one of those words: it's about Frankie as a person, it's about the fact that she's 15, it's about the fact that she's a girl and it's about the fact that she attends an exclusive prep school, with all the elitism that contains.
This is the book I would put in the hands of my 15-year-old self were I allowed to meet her once more, because it would help me figure things out, things I now know but would have benefited from knowing back then, too.
So, Frankie has grown over the summer and now, suddenly, Matthew Livingstone, a boy she'd had a crush on for years and years, notices her. He notices when she falls off her bike and comes and rescues her. Frankie is pleased, but part of her wonders whether he'd still be interested in her if she didn't need rescuing. Part of her wonders if he'd still be interested in her if she spoke her mind. If she rebelled. If she outsmarted him. If, in short, she proved to be herself and not live up to his expectations.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is an insanely smart book about gender with a riveting plot, crushing conclusions and well-written, complex characters. It would be hard quoting every single passage I adored, but here are a few:

Frankie is grateful to have such a loyal friend, but it does not escape her notice that Trish's lack of understanding is a condition of that loyalty. Were Trish to fully comprehend the way Frankie thinks, the subjects she ponders all the time when she appears to be quietly doing her homework - Frankie's anger and hunger - she would pull away. To Trish, Frankie is still the ordinary girl with gerbils at home in a Habitail, only now more melancholy and in need of cheering up, due to the second bad boyfriend in a row.

She hoped, she hoped he would understand. That he would appreciate her the way he appreciated Alpha. Admire her cleverness, her ambition, her vision. That he would admit her as his equal, or even as his superior, and love her for what she was capable of.

'Why is it psychotic if I did it and genius if Alpha did it?' wailed Frankie. 'That's so unfair. It's a double standard.'

Elizabeth raised her eyebrows: 'You have some balls'. Frankie hated that expression, ever since Zada had pointed out to her that it equates courage with the male equipment.'

You know what this book does? This book is an answer to 'why do we need feminism today, anyway?' Frankie lives in today's world and she faces misogyny everywhere she goes. It's insidious, it's tiny tiny words and attitudes, but it's there. There's an amazing scene in which she breaks a rule nobody ever realized was a rule because of tradition and familiarity 'we've always done this without questioning it so why do different' and I feel this scene was a symbol of the whole book. Throughout the book, we see Frankie stand up to instances of misogyny nobody seems to realize exist. This book shows you why we need feminism today. In one of the first passages of the book, Frankie wants to go out for a walk and her mother forbids her. Frankie is annoyed and asks, 'if I were a boy, would you let me go?' I think this book explores that - how far people let you go when you're a girl, and how far when you're a boy, and what that means. It's also a wonderfully effective example that gender is constructed, because even when they have the exact same abilities, a boy and a girl won't be treated the same, and Frankie proves that in the best way possible.

It's also a book about prep school, elitism, ambition, connections, networks and friendship, and ultimately, it's also very much a book about nepotism. I thought the setting of Alabaster allowed the author to explore all that through Frankie and for having been through it myself, at least partly, it was good to have an honest look at this world and what is inherently wrong with it. People hire people they know or who've been recommended to them by people they know, they interview people they know, they do services to people they know and those are the people in charge. The end was bitter-sweet in that respect, because I expected Frankie to make a different choice, but I do understand her decision too.

Frankie is an indelible character, she's one of the best heroines I've ever encountered in literature and I feel so lucky to have found this book, which I think deserves to be even more well-known. Had I known how good it was going to be, how I would want to read it again as soon as I'd finished it, I would have picked it up way sooner. Don't make the same mistake, buy The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks now, it's an outstanding book you'll remember for a long, long time.

( )
  RubyScarlett | Nov 11, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
Frankie faces a generous helping of disappointment, certainly. No princessy happy ending awaits her. But the novel holds out the hope that a girl like Frankie — who has above all an unwillingness to settle —could grow up to change the world. “The Disreputable History” not only delivers the line, but somehow makes you believe it is true.
Lockhart creates a unique, indelible character in Frankie, whose oddities only make her more realistic, and teens will be galvanized by her brazen action and her passionate, immediate questions about gender and power, individuals and institutions, and how to fall in love without losing herself.
added by khuggard | editBooklist

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. Lockhartprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sirois, Tanya EbyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"I am not asking that you indulge my behavior; merely that you do not dulge it without considering its context." (3)
For my college friends Kate, Polly, Cliff, Aaron, and Catherine, who know all about golf course parties and midnight adventures
First words
I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.
It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can't see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Frankie Landau-Banks attempts to take over a secret, all-male society at her exclusive prep school, and her antics with the group soon draw some unlikely attention and have unexpected consequences that could change her life forever.
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Sophomore Frankie starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, but when he refuses to talk about the all-male secret society that he and his friends belong to, Frankie infiltrates the society in order to enliven their mediocre pranks.

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