The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
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.
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.
Review: Frankie’s new boyfriend is a member of the all-male secret society that is responsible for pulling the biggest pranks in school history. Frankie desperately wants to know what happens during the society’s secret meetings, but every time she asks, her boyfriend lies to her. What he doesn’t know is that Frankie is controlling the society. She’s the one coming up with the pranks and pulling all the strings. She can make her boyfriend and his friends do whatever she wants just by sending an email.
Frankie is a great character. I can’t say that I understand her or relate to her, but she’s fascinating to read about. She’s power-hungry and ambitious. She doesn’t want to be a nice, sweet, sensitive girl who does whatever her boyfriend asks. Frankie is obsessive and refuses to be underestimated. She has goals, and she’ll do whatever it takes to achieve them, even if it means manipulating people. She’s far from your typical YA heroine. So, if you read a lot of YA, Frankie is a refreshing change.
I like the detached way that this story is written. The third-person narrator examines Frankie’s behavior and shows how much calculation she puts into every decision. The book is almost written like a cautionary tale or an old-school children’s book, but it’s not preachy or heavy-handed. The writing style creates a mysterious tone. It made me keep reading because I needed to know what Frankie did to get herself into so much trouble.
I do have one big criticism of the book. It’s marketed as YA, but I think a lot of YA readers would find it juvenile. Some aspects of the story seem more middle grade than YA. I had a hard time staying interested in the plot because I couldn’t force myself to care about high school pranks. I didn’t even care about pranks when I was in high school. The story wasn’t interesting to me, but kids and younger teens would probably love the suspense, mystery, and humor.
Frankie is a wonderful character, but I wish the book had more going on in the plot. It mostly focuses on pranks, so I’d recommend this book to younger readers, but older readers may want to skip it.