E. Lockhart The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
352 pp. Hyperion Books for Children. 2009 ISBN: 9780786838196 $8.99 (p’back)
(From the publisher) “Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father’s “bunny rabbit.” A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer. Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew’s lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind.
This is the story of how she got that way.”
I’ve only read one other book by E. Lockhart, and I hate to say it, but I wasn’t overly impressed. In the fall I attended a Y.A. conference and the speaker took some time to talk about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. He said nothing but good things about it, but what sparked my attention is when he said it pairs well with The Chocolate War. In the spring when I put together my Donors Choose fundraiser I made sure to include this book. I’m so very happy that I did!
First of all, if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a character junkie. If a character is developed well, it’s almost a guarantee that I’ll love the book. Frankie is absolutely wonderful; I’d go so far to say she’s one of my favorite Y.A. characters. She’s at a private school trying to escape the shadow of her older, more popular sister. She has a great vocabulary (I especially love her made up words) and she’s unsure of herself, but not in an annoying way. Frankie doesn’t want to be her family’s “Bunny Rabbit” anymore. She needs to prove everyone wrong and show what she’s made of. Everyone will know that she’s smarter than the rest. Frankie starts proving this when she and Matthew Livingston begin dating and he won’t let her be a part of the secret society he’s joined called The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.
E. Lockhart has written a true “girl power” book, but it isn’t overly girly. I definitely would compare this to The Chocolate War because of the setting and the secret society, but it also reminds of John Green’s Looking for Alaska because of the pranks Frankie pulls. This book is witty, intelligent and fun. Frankie bends over backwards infiltrating The Loyal Order and secretly masterminding their pranks, but she can’t truly take credit for her work. She is forced to learn the hard way how to prove herself properly.
I highly recommend reading The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. It is a 2009 Michael L. Printz Honor Book and a 2008 National Book Award Finalist in the Young People’s Literature category.