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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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2,2141662,927 (4.01)77
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 168 (next | show all)
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 |
@disreputable_history +john_green ( )
  Lorem | Oct 2, 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 |
This is to feminism what Nickelback is to music: not.
( )
  thebookmagpie | Oct 19, 2014 |
Recommended by my lovely friend Katharine.
  AmphipodGirl | Oct 14, 2014 |
I absolutely loved this book!

Not only are the characters and plot exceptionally well written, but E. Lockhart manages to avoid the expected conclusion for most books in this field. Once you read enough books in a certain genre, your mind cannot help but jump towards any played-out ending that most authors insist on sticking to. My mind did that as I read Disreputable History, but I was pleasantly surprised by Lockhart's ending.

I also like the theories explored by Frankie in this book, the panopticon and the various clubs devoted to creative disruptions. Makes me want to plan some pranks or flash mobs. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Jul 27, 2014 |
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 |
Such a witty and fun read!

Frankie is a great lead and, for once, we get a female lead who's actually flawed!
( )
  joanasimao | Sep 28, 2013 |
I've read this book twice now, and I think the second time is even better because you can focus more on the message rather than Frankie's amusing hijinks. Truly, I think this book should be required reading so more people, boys and girls alike, can read this modern feminist perspective. This book showed me some unfair, sort of sexist things that we mostly ignore in today's society. After reading it, I wanted to get up and fight the status quo like Frankie does. This book is fun, smart, and has an outstanding message. ( )
  IAmChrysanthemum | Jun 8, 2013 |
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