Thursday, March 15, 2012

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

Book Jacket

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 smarted than any of them.
When she knows Matthew is 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.


I've seen this title floating around as an awesome feminist novel for a long time, but I never got around to reading it until now.  Which is such a tragedy!  I should have been reading this book every day all day since it was published.

Seriously, Lockhart nails the story of a talented smart girl who wants more from a patriarchal life that seems to constantly put her in boxes labeled "adorable" and "pretty."  She has a major crush on a cute boy, and she enjoys wearing nail polish and going shopping.  But she also loves to create new words, sneak around the tunnels under school, and infiltrate all-boys clubs by posing as their leader.  This is the kind of feminine affirming, double-standards crushing book I can get behind 100%.

The whole story can be best summed up in Lockhart's description of girls looking in on boys' clubs.  You know the ones:  they are so shiny and playful and the world seems to orbit around them.  Frankie loves her boyfriend and his friends!  There's no problem there.  It's the fact that they exclude her simply for being a girl that causes the problem.  When faced with that situation, some girls turn away and happily make scones and lemonade while the boys play.  Some girls stand on the sidelines, cheering and oooing over the boys.  Some girls dive in, earning some respect for getting down and dirty, for becoming "one of the boys." 

Then there is Frankie.  She doesn't want to just join in.  She wants to be the leader, because she knows she could do it better.

I love my girl Frankie.  She's flawed, she toes the line toward illegal, but she fights passionately for the right to be treated as an awesome human being.

Such a good book, and I haven't even talked about the witty dialogue, the hiliarious pranks, and the swooniness of Matthew and (my favorite) Alpha.  But mostly, this book is all about Frankie.  She's fantastic.

Five out of five basset hounds.

Release Date: March 2008
Reading Level: Grade 7+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: YPL LOC


  1. YES! I would even give Frankie SIX basset hounds because she is that awesome!!! "I should have been reading this book every day all day since it was published." = my favorite line :) This is one of my all time favorite books. Love, love, love.

  2. I did consider upping her rating to six! I read about Frankie and Deza the same weekend, and let me tell you, that was one of the best book weekends I've had in a long time!