The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Review by Jena Lohrbach ( Muse Book Reviews)
"Mild geek" Frankie Landau-Banks is a delightful main character who attends boarding school, is part of the debate team, and plays Ultimate Frisbee. At school, if she's recognized by anyone other than the Geek Club Conglomerate, it's as Zada's little sister. Over the summer, though, she fills out and becomes something of a knockout—which is (partly) why the campus's most eligible bachelor notices her.
Of course she's happy being Matthew Livingston's girlfriend. Well, kind of. Frankie, besides being a charming and adorable girlfriend, is also an observant, thoughtful young woman. She notices that no one (except fellow Geek Clubbers) talks to her as Frankie; she's always Livingston's girlfriend, on the fringe, not a real part of her boyfriend's group. She's "arm candy," a position with far less recognition than she wants.
And that's just a fraction of why she decides to anonymously infiltrate the campus's all-male secret society, The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, and orchestrate outrageous pranks.
This book earned its place on the shortlist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature. Though adults may wonder what she sees in the boys in the Order (especially Livingston), it worked for me and my inner fifteen-year-old. It's all about Frankie, who's complex enough to make up for the staticity of most of the other characters; to make the others more complex would mean adding another hundred or more pages to the book.
Girls who enjoyed John Green's Looking for Alaska will want to read this book, too.
I'm rather hoping there's a sequel to this History.
What Other Bloggers Are Saying:
[Reviews are all over the blogosphere. Here's a small sampling of recent reviews.]
Maw Books Blog: "It was good to see a girl in a role where she’s capable, intelligent, and smart enough to pull off the pranks. She was sassy and fun. But, I did have a couple of problems with the characters. I just couldn’t relate to Frankie in any way. " (read more...)
Bookshelves of Doom: "...I've been thinking about this one ever since I read it two weekends ago. This is definitely one to put on the YA Books to Hand to Adults list. " (read more...)
The Virtual Loft: "Witty, irreverent, and insightful about gender relationships and how one smart girl rewrites the old boys’ code, this is a terrific story, and my favorite one so far by the talented E. Lockhart. " (read more...)
Pinot and Prose: "I loved this book. It was funny, sarcastic, foreboding, serious, political, smart." (read more...)
- A Cybils Finalist in the Young Adult Fiction category.
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (March 25, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786838183
- ISBN-13: 978-0786838189
- Source: Review copy from publisher