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

by E. Lockhart

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2921722,777 (4.01)79
Best novel I've read all year, hands down.

I immediately fell in love with the quirky, gutsy Frankie Landau-Banks. (But in a platonic, you're-a-fictional-character way, I assure you.)

Frankie is the kind of girl I wish I'd had the guts to be in high school. Not that my school had a secret society to flout (although, given the money in that town maybe it did). But Frankie is about as self-assured as you can get as a teenage girl nowadays. Plus, she's wicked smart and can debate like the dickens.

Ladies: Read this book, even if you "don't read kids' books." Pshaw. If you have an inner girl who kicks ass, she'll love this book. Don't deny her the joy of reading this.

Guys: I can't pretend to know whether a book like this would strike your fancy, but I'd love to find out. So if you read it, report back here!

Everyone: If you know a girl around Frankie's age, give her this book for Christmas or her next birthday or just because (which is the best kind of present anyway). ( )
1 vote kellyholmes | Nov 13, 2008 |
Showing 1-25 of 174 (next | show all)
This is to feminism what Nickelback is to music: not.
( )
  thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
Frankie Landau-Banks is a sophomore at a collegiate-like prep school (think Chilton with dorms) and this book is meant to chronicle her adventures during this time.

I'm a bit ambivalent about this book. I feel like it was a tease. It had an early and quite interesting twist which amounted to absolutely nothing. Most of the action didn't take place until after the midpoint and it was all wrapped up rather quickly and even a little too neatly.

What I do like about this book, however, is the sense of self that Frankie displays. She knows the type of girl that she is and refuses to be anything else, even for her hot, rich boyfriend. This speaks volumes about Frankie and she proves an excellent role model in terms of accepting and being true to herself. ( )
  jennk | Mar 11, 2016 |
Excellent YA book about a girl who takes over a boys-only secret society at her exclusive prep school. ( )
  NinaBerry | Mar 3, 2016 |
The book started off slow and nothing really happened throughout, but I loved it anyway. I love Lockhart's novels.

Frankie is a strong and clever young woman who feels as though she is as deserving, maybe more so, to be a part of the all-male secret society at the boarding school she attends. She is determined to prove that she is more than just a pretty girl who needs to be protected. ( )
  jenn88 | Feb 14, 2016 |
Definately cool. Girls who think! ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
Definately cool. Girls who think! ( )
  thukpa | Feb 6, 2016 |
Definately cool. Girls who think! ( )
  thukpa | Feb 5, 2016 |
This wasn't exactly what I expected. I had heard a lot about how kick-ass Frankie was, which led me to expect someone spunky and outspoken. This is not Frankie. Don't get me wrong, she is totally kick-ass; but it's a different, smarter, quieter kick-ass than you might expect. For anyone who questions whether YA is a viable genre, with real, complex emotions, here is the book for you. ( )
  chessakat | Feb 5, 2016 |
This is to feminism what Nickelback is to music: not.
( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
This is to feminism what Nickelback is to music: not.
( )
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
I liked it and I didn't. I liked Frankie, I liked how smart she was and that she wanted to be more then just someone's adorable girlfriend. I loved the pranks she planned. But I hated the narration style. It just felt so removed. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
I liked it and I didn't. I liked Frankie, I liked how smart she was and that she wanted to be more then just someone's adorable girlfriend. I loved the pranks she planned. But I hated the narration style. It just felt so removed. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
I liked it and I didn't. I liked Frankie, I liked how smart she was and that she wanted to be more then just someone's adorable girlfriend. I loved the pranks she planned. But I hated the narration style. It just felt so removed. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
I liked it and I didn't. I liked Frankie, I liked how smart she was and that she wanted to be more then just someone's adorable girlfriend. I loved the pranks she planned. But I hated the narration style. It just felt so removed. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
I initially didn't think I would like this book because it was written in third person, in a way that made me very aware I was being told a story. I got completely caught up in it after a few pages, and discovered that the writing style was actually perfect for the book! There are several asides in the form of "You need to know this information to get what happens next," as well as hints and small flash forwards. These elements worked to create a feeling of suspense and excitement. Because of this I finished the book the same day I started! It deals with a sophomore girl at a fancy boarding school who has finally grown into herself, and therefore is getting more attention than she ever had before. She starts dating the most popular boy in school, and then discovers that he is involved in the same secret society her alumni father once was. She starts messing with the boys in the society and the fun begins! A great read. ( )
  howifeelaboutbooks | Nov 4, 2015 |
I struggled with whether to give this book 3 or 4 stars, and in the end I think I was peer pressured into giving it 4. I really want to give it 3.5 stars. Although I think Lockhart is one of the more talented YA authors in terms of writing style, language and character depiction, I didn't find the plot realistic in this story and that bothered me far too often. I never really believed Frankie's transformation from an unpopular freshman to the girl who is chosen by the most popular boy in school. I also couldn't buy Frankie's level of genius in pulling off the pranks in the later part of the book. Lockhart does a good job developing Frankie's character and describing both her fascination and frustration with the brotherhood mentality, but too many scenarios follow the typical teen book master plan.

1. Clueless administrators
2. Teens having more lives than a cat when it comes to getting away with stuff
3. Cinderella becoming the princess
4. The poor kid advancing straight to the top on the social ladder
5. Teens thinking too much about philosophical issues

With that said, I think there are aspects of the book that model reality very well. Lockhart's portrayal of the ups and downs of the dating scene is spot on with what teens experience every day. The desperation to be accepted, liked and wanted while at the same time figuring out who they are and what they believe in are definitely the defining challenges of the teen years. This is the main theme of the book and it comes through loud and clear. Teens will likely be impressed with Frankie's gumption and cheer her on to the very end. ( )
  valorrmac | Aug 19, 2015 |
This is such a clever book, and so cleverly written. E. Lockhart is a magnificent storyteller.

The book is very full of feminism and social commentaries and stuff that I don't normally like, but it is all represented in a way that makes it enjoyable and logical. Not too extreme, and yet it's all about extremity. It's extreme, but not obnoxious.

Secret societies, secret leaders, secrets secrets secrets. But as this book points out, a secret is only fun if everyone knows.

So much cleverness. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Jul 13, 2015 |
An utterly charming, subversive story, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is sure to delight feminists, word-play enthusiasts, subversives, and anyone who fancies a good prank now and again.

Frankie Landau-Banks is a smart, funny, and precocious young woman attending an exclusive prep school. She begins to date Matthew Livingston, a darling of said prep school, and hangs out with his friends - but always feels like something is missing. Following him one night, she finds he belongs to a secret society known as the Basset Hounds, a good ol' boys club, girls not allowed.

Frankie refuses to accept this, and begins to plot and scheme her way to the top.

The feminist themes of this novel are anything but subtle, but while anywhere else it would come across as tiresome and preachy, Lockhart deftly weaves them into the plot, and dares the reader to be shook - pardon, shaken - up and do their own shaking of the status quo.

It's a smartly written book, fun, humorous, and eschews the tired necessity of most YA novels wherein the female protagonist must have a boyfriend at the end - and that, of course, is part of the message.

For anyone who has ever felt stifled by the panopticon of their lives, this book is for you. ( )
1 vote kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
Huh. Normally I would run away from a book about affluent and spoiled teens at a New England boarding school. Normally I would put down a book the second time I got hammered over the head with the Message. Normally I would not care for a book if I felt that I could not identify with the characters.

However, this story turned out to be a heck of a lot of fun. And somehow I did empathize with the characters, and to even come to 'like' them a little bit. And Lockhart managed to use a charming sense of wit to make all the preachiness become a key part of the story itself, so that the book didn't actually *feel* didactic. It felt engaging and often humorous.

I would definitely recommend this to every young teen or young woman who knows that the work of feminists is not done. Frankie may be becoming, by the end of the book, more aggressive and more independent than most of us would even want to be, but her experiences help us realize what we still need to accomplish. We still need to empower girls to be judged as people. Girls and women can be as strong, clever, brave, assertive, and powerful as they each choose to be. We are to be appreciated on our own terms, for our own sakes. If a boy can play pranks, so can a girl. If he gets punished, so should a girl who has done the same thing. Iow, to remind us of a classic chauvinism, let's just stop it with BS like "She throws good, for a girl." ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
RGG: Cross The Dairy Queen with Looking for Alaska for a very enjoyable but important read. Lockhart addresses the power relationship of teenage women in the high school social heirarchy and in male-female relationships. Despite the setting of a New England prep school, the truths are universal. And Frankie Landau is a great character. A little less "racy" than John Green's novels. Reading Interest: YA.
  rgruberhighschool | Mar 30, 2015 |
RGG: Cross The Dairy Queen with Looking for Alaska for a very enjoyable but important read. Lockhart addresses the power relationship of teenage women in the high school social heirarchy and in male-female relationships. Despite the setting of a New England prep school, the truths are universal. And Frankie Landau is a great character. A little less "racy" than John Green's novels. Reading Interest: YA.
  rgruberexcel | Feb 23, 2015 |
RGG: Cross The Dairy Queen with Looking for Alaska for a very enjoyable but important read. Lockhart addresses the power relationship of teenage women in the high school social heirarchy and in male-female relationships. Despite the setting of a New England prep school, the truths are universal. And Frankie Landau is a great character. A little less "racy" than John Green's novels. Reading Interest: YA.
  rgruberexcel | Feb 23, 2015 |
"This chronicle is an attempt to mark out the contributing elements in Frankie Landau-Banks’s character. What led her to do what she did: things she would later view with a curious mixture of hubris and regret."

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is an intelligent, witty story of a contemporary teenage girl's determined rebellion against the expectations of those that surround her.

""She will not be simple and sweet. She will not be what people tell her she should be. That Bunny Rabbit is dead.”

This novel has a definite message. Alabaster Prep School is a microcosm of wider society, and within it, Lockhart explores some major issues including social order, the hierarchy of power and gender inequality. Frankie is determined to challenge the status quo by surreptitiously taking charge of The Loyal Order of the Basset Hound - the all male secret society on campus, and giving the pranks she devises a politically motivated agenda. Frankie's motives aren't entirely pure though, and inevitably neither do things go exactly to plan.

I liked Frankie, she's smart and feisty though she also has her flaws, but it's the contradictions in her actions and her thought processes that makes her so interesting, and I think is probably the point of the whole novel. Frankie may be slightly more self aware than many teen girls but she hasn't yet got everything figured out. Like most girls, Frankie struggles with her desire to be true to herself and her wish to fit in. This is particularly an issue in her relationship with the handsome, wealthy and charming Senior, Matthew Livingston. Frankie is delighted by his attention, proud to be chosen by him, even when she realises that he isn't really interested in what she wants or thinks.

"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."

Despite the serious themes, the overall tone of the novel is lighthearted. The narrative is often witty and the story is well paced.

I enjoyed The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, it's a thought provoking novel that, from my perspective, explores some interesting contradictions. I've passed it on to my teen daughter and I'm eager to see what she thinks. ( )
  shelleyraec | Jan 30, 2015 |
First read in 2008
Re-read in 2012 ( )
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Recommended by my lovely friend Katharine.
  AmphipodGirl | Oct 14, 2014 |
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