Monday, June 3, 2013

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Number of Pages: 352
Release Date: March 25, 2008

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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 Laundau-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.

So to my chagrin, I did not finish any of the six books I'm currently reading (including three ARCs that are being released tomorrow-eep!) So I decided to do a throw-back post and do a review of one of my all-time favorite books: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I've read this novel several times and just cannot get enough of this smart and fun book and its delightful heroine.


So E. Lockhart is amazing. She just is. Her Ruby books (the Boyfriend List, etc) are absolutely wonderful and this book, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, is spectacular. Ms. Lockhart has this way of writing these seemingly innocent YA adult books that appear to be about boys and cuteness, but that is not what they are. Frankie and Ruby are smart, deep, complicated teenage girls that could be anyone. They could be your best friend, sister or next-door neighbor. Urgh, I want to say they could be you--that is just too cheesy--but it's true.

Frankie is the girl I wish I had been in high school. She's who I wish I was now, years past my teenaged self. She is brilliant and funny and just a little boy-crazy. She is a sophomore at Alabaster, a prestigious boarding school, that her father and sister attended before her. She is newly hot and has caught the eye of a popular senior boy named Matthew. Matthew comes with a group of boys that are fun to be around and Frankie enjoys the perks of being Matthew's girlfriend and being in this group of popular upperclassmen.

It is during their first date, a late-night party on the golf course, that Frankie realizes that Matthew is a part of an 'old-boys' secret society. The same society that her own father was a part of during his time at Alabaster. She realizes that not only is he a member, but that he and his best friend, a boy named Alpha, are the leaders. Frustrated that she is unable to infiltrate this club because of her sex and angry that Matthew keeps his membership a secret, Frankie finds a way to control its members from the outside. Her own relationship with Alpha is complicated and there is an unspoken power-play between the two for Matthew's attention, which may or may not be spawned from their own sexual attraction. The love interest(s) in this book aren't what it is about. Frankie's relationships with other people are important, but the heart of this book is Frankie's brain, which is what makes it so special and wonderful.

What makes it unique is that the reader can see the way Frankie's mind and opinions are changing. She is enrolled in a class that is studying the panopticon, which is a theory that the threat of always being watched makes the actual watching almost completely unnecessary, which is opening her mind to her world at a boarding school. The class is exploring the ways in which different groups around America have shaken up the establishment. Excerpts from papers she writes for this class are sprinkled throughout the text showing the way her schooling is affecting her thinking--which is almost never explored in YA fiction.

Frankie doesn't just want to be the cute girlfriend of the popular boy. It isn't enough. She wants for people to see her as she sees herself. As intelligent and witty and worthwhile. This book is an ode to girl-power and should be mandatory reading for girls of all ages.

Favorite quotes:

“She will not be simple and sweet.
She will not be what people tell her she should be.” 
“Secrets are more powerful when people know you've got them.” 

What do you think? Have you ever read this book? Leave a comment below.


  1. I really want to read this book! So many people rave about how fantastic it is, and I feel like I'm missing out by not reading it. I'll definitely have to grab myself a copy of it soon, Frankie sounds like the kind of main character that I'll love. Great review!

    1. I think it's pretty obvious that I'd highly recommend it. I love this book so much. I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This does sound really good. Might have to get it for my daughter and "borrow" it back. ;-)

    1. It's perfect for girls of all ages. Great idea! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I loved this book! it is awesome. I am a huge fan of lockhart's books. they are always funny and feel so real.
    Great review

    1. E. Lockhart is the best. I love how funny and real her books are, too. Thanks for stopping by!


Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!