Lindsay Heller's Reviews > The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
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Sep 28, 12

bookshelves: 2012, ya, academia, secret-societies
Read from February 11 to 13, 2012

Before beginning this book I had high expectations. I'd heard a lot of good things about it. And I was please to discover that I wasn't disappointed. I've read one other book by E. Lockhart, 'The Boyfriend List', and while I enjoyed it fully I didn't feel the need to run out and read the rest of the Ruby Oliver books right away. So I let 'Frankie Landau-Banks' (am I the only one that thinks Banks-Landau rolls of the tongue easier?) sit on my shelf for longer that usual. But when I finally picked it up I found myself flying through it, wondering what Frankie would do next.

Let's start with the fact that I've read a lot of YA fiction. Why this is I couldn't rightfully tell you since I'm obviously not a young adult anymore. But I feel like YA fiction has just as much capacity, perhaps more, to entertain. But 'The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks' does a little more than just that. Now, don't get me wrong, this book is entertaining. It's even decently written, which is more than I can say for many other YA books. But it also has the important message that girls can be, and should be, considered just as smart, witty, and deceiving as boys. That a girl is not just an extension of her boyfriend and if he views her that way it's time to say goodbye.

In short, this is the story of Frankie Landau-Banks (obviously). She's a sophomore at the exclusive boarding school Alabaster Prep and over the summer she's turned from a beanpole dork into a curvaceous beauty readily turning the heads of the most popular Senior boys. Enter Matthew Livingston, Frankie's longtime crush, who connects himself readily to our heroine almost immediately. But it's soon clear that Matthew has secrets he's not willing to let Frankie in on. He's a member, and I don't really think this is a spoiler, of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, a good old boys club (read, secret society) that Frankie's father once belonged to which specializes in lifelong connections and juvenile pranks. And because Frankie's much more clever than anyone has ever given her credit for she soon knows more than she was ever supposed to. But the one thing she knows above all is that she wants in. Soon Frankie's far more involved than anyone realizes which sets off a chain reaction of events that will change everyone's perceptions of the girl in question, both at school and at home.

The plot was intriguing, the characters believable and fun, and the fast-paced tone of the story never allowed it to lag. The only thing I wasn't one hundred percent on board with was the ending. It seemed, when all was said and done, that Frankie felt somewhat ashamed of what she'd done. Others viewed her as "psycho". I didn't. I thought it was awesome. So there were some side effects nobody wanted but in general I can't really even think of anyone who would condemn someone for pulling the wool over everyone's eyes quite so fully. Bravo to Frankie, next time it's unlikely anyone will underestimate you.
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