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

Over the past couple of years I have seriously lucked out in the book department thanks to the awesome Book Blogger Holiday Swap and my secret santas. This past year, Jennifer of The Introverted Reader sent me a wonderful package full of goodies (edible and readable) including the much talked-about but never read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. A book which I didn't know much about, besides knowing good things were in store.

Bookish, introverted Frankie has never been much to talk about (as far as her male peers are concerned) until the summer before her sophomore year when she gains weight in all the right places and winds up catching the eye of her longtime crush and Mr. Popular himself, Matthew Livingston. Being the arm-candy of Alabaster Prep's most sought-after upperclassman draws Frankie into a entire new world of Matthew's bold and exciting friends. It's everything Frankie thought she wanted - until she decides she wants more. After a couple of canceled dates and flimsy excuses, the ever-observant and extremely crafty Frankie discovers that Matthew is part of a decades-old all boy secret society -- and Frankie wants in.

Frankie is the best kind of protagonist. She thinks. She analyzes. And then she makes rational decisions in her own trademark-Frankie way. But she's also a far cry from perfect. She makes mistakes and gets her heart broken but that just makes her all the more brilliant in my book. Also, she's hilarious. Her fascination with neglected positives a la P.G. Wodehouse like gruntled or turbed or maculate had me in stitches throughout. The secondary characters were also absolute stand-outs, especially the tongue-in-cheek hilarious phone conversations Frankie had with her clever sister Zada. If I had any complaints (which are very few) it would be the lackluster relationship development between Frankie and Matthew's best friend Alpha, who always came off as much more layered and complicated than Matthew ever was.

Aside from being an incredibly funny yet heart-wrenching story to read, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks also takes an intimate look at the roles females play at Alabaster Prep (and later on in society). As she's heard from her father (an Alabaster alum) her entire life, Alabaster Prep will enable Frankie to form connections and learn truths she'll use the rest of her life. Problem is, Frankie doesn't just want to be the pretty but smart, complacent girl who eventually marries some investment banker. She wants into the Good 'Ole Boys club herself where she can make those kind of lasting connections. Anyone reading this book - male or female - could not but take a moment to evaulate their own expectations for women in general. Genius.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Angieville review
Bookshelves of Doom review
The Book Smugglers review
Forever Young Adult review
Presenting Lenore review

book source: Book Blogger Holiday Swap - The Introverted Reader


Lenore Appelhans said...

Thanks for reminding me of my review - it's one of my favorites of all my reviews. And of course the book is awesome too!

Chachic said...

I've heard good things about this book and I'm really curious about it. Is it just me or does this book has a similar premise to Secret Society Girl (another book I've been meaning to read)?

Nomes said...

I kind of want to read this :/ I very much like your review. I wish my library had more imported books so I didn;t have to pay for trying out a book :)

This book was also on P Snarks top 100 list of all time :D

Michelle said...

Lenore - Always happy to bring up good memories ;)

Chachic - I think you should read this one YES, YES, YES! And it does sound a bit like the SECRET SOCIETY GIRL books (in that she is at school and finds out about a secret society) but that is basically where the similarities end. For one, Frankie is a master at PRANKS (love). Also, it's still high school so people make lots of youngish choices still. So really, they weren't very similar in my mind.

Nomes - Oh dear, I think you should too. I wonder if some site had the first few chapters you could try out online for free or something?? But still, I say read it. It's a winner.

Ashley said...

I loved this book! Reading this review reminds me of all the amazing things about it, and makes me really want to reread it! And I loved the neglected positives too! Such a great book! :)