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E. Lockhart – The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

April 22, 2009

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.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

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.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2009 10:31 pm

    I loved this book, too. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. April 22, 2009 10:41 pm

    Nope I’m sure you’re safe in being second last – I would be the last one to read. lol

    Love the haiku for this one! Very glad to hear you enjoyed this and I like that you mention it tackling relationships well – chick-lit is always so unrealistic to me and I hoped this would be a bit more down to earth. Def. going on must have list.

  3. April 22, 2009 10:55 pm

    I loved this book. I didn’t know that about the writing group, though. When I read Looking for Alaska, I saw similarities between the two books (mainly because of the boarding school setting), even thought they are very different books. Great review!

  4. April 23, 2009 6:05 am

    I have this book out from the library and one of these days I am going to actually read it! I think it is non-renewable at this point, so I will have to either read it soon or take it back unread…

  5. April 23, 2009 9:23 am

    Mari – Props to the whole book blogging community for this one; if I hadn’t seen it talked about everywhere, I would never have picked it up off the Borders bargain table.

    Joanne – This is definitely not chick-lit! Hopefully you can get your hands on a copy soon, and then everyone on earth will have read it. :)

    softdrink – I had noticed the similarities in the tone of the books as I read, and then I got to the note in the back thanking the writing group and went “Ah, that’s why.” It definitely made me want to read more Maureen Johnson, too.

    Kailana – Read it! Readitreaditreadit! Seriously, it’s a very quick read, and it’s so good.

  6. April 23, 2009 12:53 pm

    I really want to read this one now! Great review!

  7. April 23, 2009 1:22 pm

    I’ve been meaning to get to this one, since it’s a Printz honor book. Have you joined the PrintzProject yet?

  8. April 23, 2009 7:59 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! This one’s a keeper for me too. :-)

  9. April 23, 2009 11:59 pm

    I really, really, really want this :)

  10. April 24, 2009 12:28 am

    I’ve been craving some light but interesting reading lately, and this seems like it might be the ticket. I just requested it at the library now, along with a whole host of other books I’ve seen good reviews of lately. Thanks!

  11. April 24, 2009 12:49 pm

    bermudaonion – Thanks! I hope you get a chance to pick it up!

    Jessica – I haven’t, but I’ll look into it. Thanks for the tip!

    Kelly – Definitely one of my better impulse buys!

    Lightheaded – Yeah ya do!

    Kim – “light but interesting” is a good description; it was perfect for the readathon! Hope you enjoy!

  12. April 24, 2009 9:17 pm

    Nope, not the last – I’m still holding out. Well, not technically holding out – just haven’t made it that far into the pile yet. =)

  13. April 25, 2009 3:20 am

    I enjoyed this book a lot. Would highly recommend to just about any grades 7-12 girl.

    I must’ve skipped right over the acknowledgments–I didn’t see the part about her writing group at all, but the book totally reminded me of Green’s Looking for Alaska, with lighter tones.

  14. April 25, 2009 9:43 pm

    Great review! I’ve had this on my list for a while – I actually managed to get it at the library a while back but couldn’t get to it before I had to return it. Definitely need to get hold of it again.

  15. April 26, 2009 5:14 pm

    Elizabeth – This one had been hovering near but never at the top of my pile ever since I bought it… I finally just gave in and read it. :)

    Jena – I think the Looking for Alaska comparison gets made because of the boarding schools, but the tone reminded me more of An Abundance of Katherines, for some reason.

    Belle – Oh, for sure! I hope you can snag a copy and that you enjoy it!

  16. May 3, 2009 5:41 am

    Why I haven’t read this yet is beyond me. Nerdy! Feminist! Funny! There’s no way I won’t love it.

  17. May 3, 2009 8:53 am

    Nymeth – I know! I can’t believe that if it weren’t for an impulse buy at at a post-holiday sale, I’d have passed this one by entirely.

  18. May 8, 2009 5:17 pm

    I’m reading this right now! (Except I seem to have lost it last night on my way to bed. That has NEVER happened to me!) This is a great review, thanks.

  19. May 8, 2009 11:23 pm

    Lisa – Oh no! I hope you find it soon, and enjoy the rest of it!

  20. May 13, 2009 1:40 pm

    I reviewed this one a little while ago – my review is here –

  21. May 13, 2009 1:46 pm

    Susan – I can’t believe I missed yours! It’s added now.


  1. Weekly Geeks « Page247
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  3. Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart | Bart's Bookshelf

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