The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

A Novel

Lockhart, E.

Book - 2008
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Sophomore Frankie starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, but when he refuses to talk about the all-male secret society that he and his friends belong to, Frankie infiltrates the society in order to enliven their mediocre pranks.

Publisher: New York : Hyperion, c2008
ISBN: 0786838183
Branch Call Number: y LOCKHART
Characteristics: 345 p. ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

Sophomore Frankie starts dating senior Matthew Livingston, but when he refuses to talk about the all-male secret society that he and his friends belong to, Frankie infiltrates the society in order to enliven their mediocre pranks.

From the critics

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Jan 19, 2015

Lockhart does a great job of hooking you into the story right away; this one starts with a letter of confession from Frankie about her misdeeds at the elite Alabaster boarding school. The rest of the story fills in what happened. It's the tale of a teenage girl who is tired of being underestimated by her peers and family and takes some extreme measures to prove that she is more than what she seems. I was thoroughly engrossed and had a hard time putting it down.

Frankie's character raises many questions for the reader. She is smart and funny, but confusing. In her quest to be taken seriously, she seems to define herself by the very people and mindsets she despises. Is it clever or pathetic/obsessive that she inflicts the same schadenfreude on some of the Bassets that they do on others? Frankie never calls herself a feminist--and is she? It's hard to tell (especially with an older sister who attends Berkeley, self-identifies as one, and also shows great concern at Frankie's actions). Certainly, she is a girl growing into her woman's body and figuring a lot of that out, in relation to those around her.
There is lots of witty banter, creative pranking and hacking, and plenty of suspense as Frankie pushes the boundaries of respectability. At the same time, I agree with comments by an earlier reader that the frequent use of the omniscient voice that describes Frankie and her mindset was sometimes intrusive. It could have been toned down, at the very least.
However, if you're looking for an entertaining read about life among the young elite and the dynamics that rule them, this book is a definite must. Also try Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Jan 10, 2015
  • FindingJane rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Frankie Landau-Banks is a difficult character to appreciate, at first. She’s spunky, smart, witty and observant. At the same time, she’s entered the stage when she desperately wants to please a boy…not just any boy, but her hunky, self-assured, rich, privileged boyfriend Matthew. The book thus careens between her two states of mind: one wherein she coolly observes Matthew’s indifferent attitude towards her life, family and friends, his clannishness with his pals, his secrecy and lies. The other state is one where she tries to stifle any sign that she’s clingy, overemotional, tearful, spiteful, catty or mean—all the traits that men seemingly can’t endure from women. Slowly but surely she proves that she’s intelligent and resourceful by beating the boys at their own game. Yet her motivation—the wish that they let her into their pathetic little boys club—undermines her efforts. If she did it to prove herself their equal or superior, that would be something to cheer. But merely wanting to become another pitiful sheep in the flock? Where’s the triumph in that? The book also suffers from an intruding third person narrative that jarringly shifts the spotlight from Frankie because the writer seemed to feel that exposition was necessary to explain certain things that occur before Frankie is born or off stage, as it were. This weakens the reader’s vested interest in Frankie and reduces her to being an unwitting piece on an invisible chessboard. It’s as intrusive as reading a text with footnotes. Surely some way could have been found to weave the necessary information into the story without this tactic. However, the story achieves unexpected success when the tale shifts to other people and we see the foundations of the patriarchal society against which Frankie pits herself. Her boyfriend turns traitor, willing to expose her but not his friends (the “bros before hos” mentality). He constantly dismisses or denies her feelings, telling her not to be oversensitive then commits an act of violence and blames her for it. Even her mother and sister turn on her, insisting that she get counseling while her little brother gets to misbehave and throw plants out of windows. The clear moral is the indulgent “boys will be boys” syndrome that allows males to create mischief but considers women mentally unbalanced when they decide not to follow the rules. The novel achieves this point subtly and smoothly over the course of its reading so it achieves a qualified approval. It’s certainly better than most run-of-the-mill YA fictions without the prerequisite happy ending. You suspect that great things are in store for Frankie; she’s come to learn that some rules are worth ignoring or changing.

Apr 27, 2014
  • TrixiPost rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed this book. Frankie is a character I wanted to get to know and so I stuck it through to the end. She is, however, the only developed character. The roommate and boys are really two dimensional. Still, it was a quick read and I liked it. And, like another review said, it's enjoyable even for a grownup teenager, which I am (if you consider a middle aged with two kids, one a teenager herself, a "grownup teenager").

Sep 27, 2013
  • gribbles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Boarding school, a secret club, practical jokes and a strong-smart-funny female heroine. This is a very fun read, even for grown-up teenagers.

Sep 27, 2013
  • booksmaht rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Frankie is everything I enjoy in a heroine -- funny, smart, and unafraid to call boys on their bullshit.

Aug 08, 2013
  • LibraryK8 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Are you looking for a good read this holiday season? The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart is my new favorite. Frankie follows in her father's footsteps by attending the elite Alabaster boarding school. Her freshman year was relatively uneventful. With the help of her older sister she has managed to make a good group of friends that are slightly nerdy but still somewhat popular. At the begining of her Sophomore year Frankie is pining once more for the handsome Mathew Livingston. When he finally asks her out Frankie is swept up with the feeling of being popular. She falls for Mathew's friends almost as much as she likes Mathew. But when she finds out that Mathew is part of a secret all-male club at the school she doesn't like being left out. Instead of confronting Mathew and his friends, Frankie decides to infiltrate their secret society. But in the process Frankie begins to forget who she is. Check out The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart today!

Mar 28, 2013
  • bwortman rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this novel. On the surface it's a brilliant tale of boarding school life and some serious pranks orchestrated by a teenage girl. But below that it is an exploration of feminist ideas, relationships between men and women, and the concept of a cultural panopticon. The novel moves easily between these two elements and it does so while following Frankie who is a thoroughly fascinating character. While I didn't always like her, I could sympathize with some of her emotions and I was thoroughly intrigued by her quest to prove herself.

Dec 18, 2012
  • aboyter rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

It's been a couple of years since I read this book, but when I saw the cover image scroll by I had to leave a comment. This book, though it was not fantasy, was fun, energetic, and it made me think.

This book was about bending the norm. It was about breaking tradition. It was about teaching a bunch of uppity guys a lesson. What can I say, the feminist in me applauds the main character and her ingenious male manipulations.

But the book wasn't centered around feminism. Frankie was trying to find her place like all teenager/young adults. What was so different about her was her deep thoughts and philosophical proofs: do we make society fit us or do we follow society's rules.

Whenever I look at a sidewalk i'll always think of Frankie and wonder if I'm the type of person who walks on the lawn to get to a class because it is the shortest distance and most convenient to me, forcing the university to build a sidewalk on my path or suffer an imperfect lawn, or do I walk on their sidewalk to get to class even if it is out of my way because I let society rule over me.

Even without the philosophy, this book was a scream. I couldn't put it down. Frankie's pranks were epic.

Dec 10, 2012
  • bookelf221 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This book was nothing like I expected, to the point that I told myself at 50 pages I was going to put the book down.... and I didn't. Not a shocker to anyone who knows me, I picked this up because of the Basset Hound ties. I have a Basset Hound so am very excited anytime I find one referenced in literature. So I was expecting a book about the shenanigans of a Teen and her Basset Hound...instead I got a wonderful commentary on gender segregation in society, specifically an elite boarding school and the story of a spunky teenage girl who decided she was tired of it and was going to fight back. Frankie's shenanigans and ability to manipulate the boys who were members of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds kept me turning the pages until the story ended. I enjoyed every minute of the story (once I accepted the fact it was not about actual Basset Hounds). The only thing that really upset me was the fact that none of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds forgave Frankie, or even attempted to understand her. I got the impression from the last e-mail that Alpha did, but the ending still left me a bit unsatisfied. Maybe because I wasn't to see her and Alpha work things out and become friends. Either way, the ending left me wanting. However, despite not quite ecstatic feelings about the ending, I really did love this book and I loved how Frankie decided she was tired of being overlooked because she had a chest. I liked the fact that she wasn't really acting out just to get attention (although she was tired of being ignored), she really wanted to change the way the people at the university were thinking.

Jun 21, 2012
  • joannalib rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Manages to be both hysterically witty and thoughtfully clever.

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