E. Lockhart – The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
43. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (2008)
Length: 345 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Started: 18 April 2009
Finished: 18 April 2009
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 26 December 2008
Verdict? Keeper. And passer-around-er.
Frankie is only
a sophomore, but she can still
outwit the ole boys.
Summary: Sophomore Frankie Landau-Banks seems like she has it all: intelligence, looks, attendance at a elite – and posh – boarding school, and Matthew Livingston, who may be the cutest guy in the senior class, wants Frankie as a girlfriend. However, Frankie’s not quite content; as wonderful as Matthew seems, she doesn’t really feel as though he really accepts her as an equal, and if there’s one thing Frankie hates, it’s feeling invisible and inconsequential. When she finds out that he’s a member of a boys-only secret society, she gets livid – why should she be excluded based only on her lack of a piddling little Y chromosome? – and then when she realizes she can outsmart them all, she decides to get even.
Review: Very slick, very funny, and very refreshing young-adult fiction. It’s young-adult-oriented without being juvenile, and it’s got a female protagonist and a focus on relationships without going anywhere near the “chick lit” designation. Frankie is multi-layered and a very well-built character – intelligent (and not ashamed of it), manipulative, hyper-aware and analytical of herself and those around her, but still concerned with whether or not her boyfriend likes her as much as she likes him. The story is fast moving, and quite funny in parts, although I think the humor comes as much from the narration – an omniscient third-person reporter who occasionally tosses off asides and analyses separate from the story – as from the plot.
The acknowledgments sections said that Lockhart is in a writing group with Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson, and John Green, and it shows – the sensibilities are very much the same. If you like John Green’s writing but wish that one of his protagonists were a girl, you should definitely make it a point to meet Frankie. She’s got the same sense of intelligent (nerdy) humor, but with a strong feminist twist. This is a great book for teen girls, although I don’t think it necessarily excludes guys – there are a lot of interesting discussion points raised regardless of gender. Personally, I felt like she occasionally got a little bit bitter and hyper-critical of members of her own sex, and never really realized that by fighting so hard to become “one of the boys” that she gave them the very power she was upset about them having… but still, it was a very interesting take on the battle of the sexes that I hadn’t previously seen in young adult lit… plus with a bunch of funny boarding school pranks to boot. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Highly entertaining but with enough meat to keep it from being fluff, this one is highly recommended… even if you usually scoff at YA as kids’ stuff.
Links: E. Lockhart’s website
Other Reviews: Becky’s Book Reviews, Teen Book Review, Bildungsroman, The Book Bind, The Well-Read Child, MariReads, The Children’s Literature Book Club, Maw Books Blog, Bookshelves of Doom, The Curious Reader, Teen Troves, B is for Books, Book Nut, Presenting Lenore, Semicolon, Stuff as Dreams are Made On, The Story Siren, Library Queue, The Reading Zone, Books and Other Thoughts, Worducopia, Bending Bookshelf, Casual Dread, The Family With Three Last Names, A Patchwork of Books, Sassymonkey Reads, Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Good gods, am I the last one on the planet to read this book? If you’ve got a review and I missed it, leave a comment with the link and I’ll add it in.
First Line: I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.