Friday, June 17, 2011

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Oh my gosh, you guys, this book was so much fun. I read it right after "How Green Was My Valley," and while I loved "How Green Was My Valley," it did leave me feeling in need of a lighter, fluffier book. And "The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks," by E. Lockhart, was exactly what I needed.

Here's the summary:
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 Landau-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 places.
Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew is 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.
As you probably caught from the summary, the book's about how Frankie, annoyed at her boyfriend constantly underestimating her and pigeon-holing her because of her gender and good looks, manages to take control of the school's all-male secret society without any of the members knowing. And it's fantastic. Seriously.

I know I already used the word "fun" to describe this book, but I'm having trouble thinking of another, since "fun" is really the best word to describe it. It's a blast to follow smart, witty, sarcastic Frankie around as she becomes the criminal mastermind of the school with out anyone catching on. And Frankie herself is simply wonderful. I'm definitely adding her to my list of literary BFFs. I would love to be friends with her. She would get me to do crazy stuff I'd have a ridiculously good time doing, even though I would never do it otherwise. And we would talk to each other in neglected positives (words that people only use the negatives of--like "parage" from "disparage"), and we wouldn't care whether they're real words or not.

I also love how this book perfectly articulates those feelings I'm pretty sure all girls have but can't always express. Here's one that when I read it, I was like, "Ahhh!!! That's basically the truest thing I ever read!" It's from a part talking about Frankie's feelings upon catching her boyfriend Porter cheating on her with a girl named Bess:
It didn't matter that Bess hadn't become Porter's girlfriend after the incident.

It didn't matter that in her heart Frankie knew she was smart and charming.

What mattered was that feeling of being expendable. That to Porter, she was a nobody that could easily be replaced by a better model--and the better model wasn't even so great.

Which meant that Frankie herself was nearly worthless.

It was a bad, inconsequential feeling, and every word of every email Frankie had sent to Porter had been fighting against it. She had made him apologize in more ways than one, had flung neglected positives at him, criticized his grammar--and made him wait for her to accept his invitation. All because of how she had felt when she remembered how little she'd mattered to him.
See what I mean? She totally hit the nail on the head with the whole feeling-of-being-expendable thing.

Anyway, I fully intend to give some of this author's other books a shot, and I suggest you do the same for this book.

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