The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Published by Hyperion
Frankie Landau-Banks went through quite a few physical changes in the summer between her freshman and sophomore years at her elite boarding school. As a result of these changes, she’s caught the eye of the very popular and gorgeous Matthew, whom she soon begins dating. When she finds out that Matthew belongs to the secret society on campus – The Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds – she becomes determined to learn more about the society and also become part of it. Problem is, it’s boys only, and Frankie doesn’t exactly fall into that category. So she embarks on a quest to become a part of the Bassett Hounds, no matter what it takes.
I’ve been anticipating reading The Disreputable History for as long as I can remember. I’ve been hearing such great things about this book for so long that I finally gave myself permission to just pick it up and give it a chance for myself.
And YAY for that because this book was everything I wanted it to be. This novel is fun, and funny, but it also has a lot more depth than I was expecting. Frankie is a person who does not believe in maintaining the status quo, at least not when the status quo is clearly beneficial for only the privileged few who get to enjoy the perks. This is a novel absolutely drenched in feminism, and I mean that in the best way possible. Frankie is not going to sit idly by, watching her male friends get to have all the fun, absolutely not. The fact that Frankie is smart, articulate, well-read, but also seeking Matthew’s approval is a perfect illustration of those of us women who have been there as teens. I would have loved this book when I was fifteen – I can’t say that I’m anywhere near as intelligent as Frankie is, but I certainly remember the feeling of wanting to be myself but also impress the boy I liked at the time – which could very well have meant dumbing myself down. It’s a terrible way to feel, and Frankie does such a fantastic job of illustrating the fact that teen girls can be intellectual, politically aware, and hilariously funny all at once.
Honestly, I loved everything about this novel. While the ending was difficult, and my heart just broke for Frankie, it was actually sort of perfect and the only ending that realistically fit in with the rest of the story. Frankie is one of my new favorite kick-ass heroines, and as soon as I closed the book I found myself wishing for a sequel so I could be a part of more of her adventures. Plus, The Disreputable History is just ripe with topics for discussion – it would make an excellent book club pick.
I cannot more highly recommend The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I beyond loved this book, really and truly.