Google+ Reading Teen: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Monday, January 24, 2011

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

by E. Lockhart
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; Reprint edition (August 25, 2009)
Author's Website:
Buy the Book: Amazon
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.

Frankie is a sophomore at her prestigious boarding school, trying to figure out where she fits in now that her popular sister has graduated.  The previous year, no one really paid her any attention, especially Matthew Livingston, who is now the most gorgeous and popular senior at the school.  But this year is different.  This year people are noticing her.  And when Matthew not only notices, but starts dating her, she doesn't think anything could be more first.  But Frankie isn't happy just being someone's "arm candy".  She has a brain, she has ambitions, she has ideas, but she is constantly underestimated: by her family, by her friends, and especially by Matthew.

When Frankie finds out about a secret, exclusive, all-boys society that her boyfriend and his friends are involved in, Frankie decides she will show them that she's just as capable as they are.....maybe even more so.

Let me get this out of the way, because I want my review to end on a positive note.  I do NOT like the covers for this book.  I would NEVER have picked it up if it weren't for the fact that I won it in a contest, and because of the recommendation of Kiersten White (author of booklove).  My other, semi-complaint is that I'm somewhat unsatisfied with the ending.  Although logically it made sense, and the "girl-power" part of me was happy, I still wish there would have been a little more happiness at the end.  I wanted Frankie to be happy, and at the end, I still felt bad for her.

Ok, on with the good part:

This pseudo-documentary shows us Frankie's transition from "nobody" to "evil genius mastermind" in a way that makes you quickly fall in love with her.  I can't name a single female main character that I feel was better portrayed than Frankie was.  Normally books are so focused on how hot and wonderful the guy in the story is, that I'm left wondering what was so great about the girl, and why all these guys are falling all over themselves for her.  This was TOTALLY NOT the case with Frankie.  Honestly, I thought Matthew was ok, but I completely fell in love with Frankie!  She was so smart, and witty, and fun, and fresh!  I loved that she could be so confident, but somehow at the same time still have all these insecurities, and while having the insecurities, she would realize her insecurities (and fears) and talk herself into going against them.  She was such a schemer, and over-analyzed everything, but it was SO fun to read her internal dialog.

I also loved all the word games, and the playful use of language (though younger readers may be thrown a little by it, or possibly bored).  I found myself laughing out loud over and over again.

Example-an email conversation between Frankie and her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her:

Frankie, what's up? Hope your term is going well so far. I want to apologize for what happened with Bess last year. -Porter

You mean, you want to apologize, or you are apologizing? Your grammar is indistinct.

This is me, apologizing. I apologize.

Also, "for what happened with Bess." Meaning, what? Is your vaguery advertent?

Vaguery was inadvertent.

Why should I have a burger with you? Give me three reasons. 

Free burger bought by me.
Because I would like to be friends.
Because there's something I want to talk to you about.

What do you want to talk about?

I'll tell you when I see you. xo Porter

Don't xo me, Porter. Just because I'm letting you by me cheese fries doesn't mean you can xo me.

I just LOVE her!! And actually, it wasn't just her, it seemed like almost all of the characters were quick and witty and a little bit snarky (in a good way). It reminded me of the dialog in The Gilmore Girls. :) Also, I think it must attest to the personality and wittiness of the author, so kudos to you miss Emily Lockhart!

While the story acknowledges the existence of sex and drinking in high school, it isn't glorified or magnified. In fact, Frankie doesn't seem phased by anyone else's choices, but instead is very "comfortable in her own shoes," living the way she feels is best for her. I really appreciated that as well. She seems to let peer pressure roll off her like water off a duck's back!

AND THE PRANKS! Did I mention the pranks? How much fun is that?? I loved that she masterminded all these pranks and made the "good 'ol boys" just follow along to her every command. How fantastic! It made me want to be a part of it! Actually I just wanted to BE Frankie!! I wish I was half as witty and courageous and inventive as she is.

I could go on and on about this book....wait, I think I have. I have a feeling this is a book you'll either love or hate. For me, I loved it! I hope you'll give it a chance, and that you'll love it as much as I do!

  • Sexual Content:  Mild, with some references to sex.
  • Profanity: Mild
  • Violence: None
  • Other Notables: Some mild underage drinking and sneaking out.


  1. I cannot tell you how much I loved this book! Your review is absolutely great and basically encompasses how I felt about this book!

    I agree that the cover you posted isn't very good, but the HC I read has a notebook looking thing on it, which I liked a lot better.

    Frankie is my hero and definitely one of my favorite characters ever!!

  2. It sounds funny and I loooove Gilmore Girls!!! :)

  3. My sisters were so disappointed by the ending, but I loved it! I actually hate super-duper happy endings, not that I dislike happiness, I just don't like everything working out fine even though it seemed completely impossible and illogical. And it's so true what you said about most books fixating on the hotness of the guys and forgetting that, hey, there's a female lead who needs to be awesome or I'm puttig this down! That happened to me when I tried to read Crescendo. XP Frankly, I don't care what a dude's hair looks like in the wind or what it feels like to be held by large hands. Not. Interesting. Give me some witty dialogue and action, please!
    Anyhoo! You've made me want to reread this. Great review of a great book.
    PS Fly on the Wall is also very good, though it'll get a higher rating on your lovely and brilliant content rating system because it takes place in a boys locker room.

  4. you convinced me!
    I'm buying this on my next trip to the bookstore!


  5. I thought this was a really good book, but I can't get any of my teens to read it (I'm a High School librarian.) I think you are right about the covers (I have a different one that your picture, but still awful.) I've tried to hand push it, and that's about the only way anyone reads it.

  6. I'm so glad you loved this as much as I did! It's fantastically written, huh? :D


  7. Zombie: Ugh, I felt the same way about Crescendo! Did. Not. Like. I didn't need a super happy ending for Frankie, I just wish that they guys would've gotten a little more of what they deserved.

  8. Melannie- Yay!! I'm so glad!!

    Annette-That makes me sad. I don't know why the covers have to look so....yuck. My daughter just finished reading it too. She loved it just as much as I did!

    Madeleine- :D


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