Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

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 Laundau-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 smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s 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.

–From Goodreads

Feminism. Geeky grammar wordplay. Lots and lots of really great pranks. E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is a Printz Honor Book with a little bit of everything I could ask for. I read a lot of serious books about social issues and psychological problems, and I read some books that are just fun and quirky and give me a brain break. This book did both. I read a review in which somebody called it Michael Foucault on training wheels, which is perhaps the best description I could ever imagine. This is a must read if you are ready to break free from the all too common old boy’s club mentality.

Quotable Quotes from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

“Matthew had called her harmless. harmless. And being with him made Frankie feel squashed into a box–a box where she was expected to be sweet and sensitive (but not oversensitive); a box for young and pretty girls who were not as bright or powerful as their boyfriends. A box for people who were not forces to be reckoned with. Frankie wanted to be a force.”

“It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can’t see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow. It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people.”

“Secrets are more powerful when people know you’ve got them.”

“She might, in fact, go crazy, as has happened to a lot of people who break the rules. Not the people who play at rebellion but really only solidify their already dominant positions in society but those who take some larger action that disrupts the social order. Who try to push through the doors that are usually closed to them. They do sometimes go crazy, these people, because the world is telling them not to want the things they want. It can seem saner to give up – but then ones goes insane from giving up.”


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