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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Personal History
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks begins with a written confession addressed to the administrative powers-that-be at the Alabaster Preparatory Academy. In the letter, Frances Rose Landau-Banks claims "full responsibility for the disruptions caused by the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds . . . [t]hat is, [she] wrote the directives telling everyone what to...
Published on March 25, 2008 by Little Willow

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Angieville: THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS
I read The Boyfriend List (Readers Circle)t awhile back and enjoyed it but somehow didn't make it on to its sequel, The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Readers Circle), or any of E. Lockhart's other titles. Then THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS came out and there was just so much buzz. And then it was named a...
Published on January 9, 2009 by Angela Thompson


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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incredible Personal History, March 25, 2008
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks begins with a written confession addressed to the administrative powers-that-be at the Alabaster Preparatory Academy. In the letter, Frances Rose Landau-Banks claims "full responsibility for the disruptions caused by the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds . . . [t]hat is, [she] wrote the directives telling everyone what to do."

But just who are these Hounds and what did they do? Who is Frances and why would she send her fellow students on these random acts of disruption?

Alabaster was once an all-male prep school. Even after it became co-educational, its secret society remained a boys-only club. The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds was famous - infamous, really - for its pranks, which were more kooky than cruel, more sophomoric than serious.

Frankie was once a quiet girl. Even after she became a curvy sophomore, she remained true to herself, not really aware of her new looks. Then she got her first serious boyfriend, and she was content with their relationship - for a time.

Before she was (in)famous, Frankie was the harmless little sister, the underclassman, the girl who knew but didn't really know. She was the younger sister of outspoken senior Zada. She was the youngest child of divorced parents, getting her name from her father, Alabaster alum Frank Banks and her conservative nature from her mother, Ruth. She enjoyed her freshman year at boarding school. She enjoyed the summer after her freshman year, when she read Dorothy Parker stories on vacation and had a chance encounter that would later prove interesting.

The book follows her through the age of fifteen, then sixteen, as her sophomore year and her curiosity lead her down an interesting path. After learning about the Order, she quickly assumes power over the group - without any of the boys knowing it. What happens next is a quiet riot, a series of misadventures involving (though not simultaneously) a statue of a fish, a Superman T-shirt, a lot of dog masks, a burned arm, and a small notebook.

Both snarky and serious, this History is written by the victors: the memorable narrator and the author. Frankie is smart, grounded, and direct, but she also has a quirky side. She has a thing for "impeas," imagined neglected positives, like ept as opposed to inept or gruntled as opposed to disgruntled. Author E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List, Dramarama) writes with heart and authentic feeling. In this novel, she uses third-person present-tense, yet is able to capture her protagonist's thoughts and actions so well that readers will feel as though they are Frankie's roommates.

This book is, dare I say, a coming-of-age story. It's not about breaking the rules, nor it is about controlling others. It's about daring: daring to be yourself, daring to stand up for yourself, daring to step outside of your comfort zone, daring to change the world. This novel possesses all of the elements necessary for a good bildungsroman, following the protagonist's journey through her formative years. History has an incredible conclusion, and Frankie becomes a remarkable young woman.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too, April 24, 2008
Frankie Landau-Banks has gone from geeky to gorgeous over the course of the summer, and she can hardly believe it when Matthew Livingston, the senior she worshipped from afar the year before, seems interested. But being Matthew's girlfriend comes with a lot of things Frankie didn't expect. She feels uncertain navigating the complicated politics of his social circle, and uneasy with the antics of his friends, which often seem to exclude her. Worst of all, she senses that he's not letting her all the way into his life--that, because she is a girl, he will never see her as an equal.

Then Frankie discovers that Matthew is a member of the school's exclusive--and male-only--secret society. At first she only spies on them out of curiosity. But as her desire to prove herself every bit as capable as Matthew's male conspirators grows, she finds herself getting wrapped up in the society's business of sneaking and pranking, without any of the boys suspecting a thing.

With Frankie pulling the strings, anything is possible.

THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS is one of those rare books that is equal parts entertaining and thought-provoking. Frankie's exploits are full of humor, suspense, and drama, but she's not afraid to stop every now and then and consider the consequences of her actions. Her insecurities make her as believable as her smarts and her guts make her admirable. Readers will be cheering her on from beginning to end--and wondering how the things she learns along the way might apply to their own school adventures long after they've put the book down.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feminism at its best, May 4, 2009
This is definitely one of those clever YA books that is a must-read for any teenage girl.

Frankie might not have made all the smartest decisions in this book but she figured out the main thing right: it is important to be your own person (not just a man's arm-candy), to be appreciated for your personal qualities and talents and not only for your pretty face and nice figure.

Writing style is flawless, dialog superb. I had to take away one star because the ending felt a little too open for me, I thought it called for something more. Maybe E. Lockhart is planning a sequel, I am not sure. But if she does, I will definitely read it and give her other books a try.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Angieville: THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, January 9, 2009
I read The Boyfriend List (Readers Circle)t awhile back and enjoyed it but somehow didn't make it on to its sequel, The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Readers Circle), or any of E. Lockhart's other titles. Then THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS came out and there was just so much buzz. And then it was named a finalist for the National Book Award. So I figured I'd better pick it up. Fortunately, Santa brought it to my home this year so I was able to jump right in.

Frankie is a sophomore at Alabaster Prep, super exclusive boarding school for the children of the elite. Ever since she was a kid, Frankie had heard her father and his cronies go on about a mysterious secret society known as the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. Once she starts at Alabaster it becomes clear that the Order is alive and thriving and open only to males. When she suddenly gains a few curves in the right places and a snazzy new boyfriend to go with them, Frankie becomes aware in a way she hadn't been up to this point in her life. And when the darling boyfriend starts evading her all the time, haring off to locales unspecified with other guys she just knows are in the Order, she decides to follow him. What she discovers from following Matthew (and the subsequent actions she puts into motion) change Frankie (and the Order) permanently. For the better? That's up to the reader. I say yes, but the whole thing is still painful to watch.

I am a bit conflicted over this book. For a variety of reasons. I felt like it really wanted to be Secret Society Girl: An Ivy League Novel meets Looking for Alaska. Not the best combination, IMO. This wasn't helped by the fact that I kept picturing Alpha (my favorite character) as The Colonel in my head. I usually quite like third person present narration, but in this case it felt slightly contrived, particularly since Frankie never gelled into a tangible character for me. I laughed several times while reading and I liked Frankie but I didn't love her. I liked her for her dogged attempt to wade through the ever shifting waters of a rather assaultive adolescence and an unsympathetically exclusionary pack of boys who told her they liked her but clearly didn't know her at all, nor did they seem to care to. Despite these obstacles, or perhaps because of them, she managed to carve out a place where she could be herself, free from manipulation. I liked her combative and compelling relationship with Alpha. In fact, I wanted more of that and less mooning over lackluster Matthew. But the book ended just when things were getting interesting. I suspect I would really enjoy a sequel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally a Strong Female Protagonist!!!, June 15, 2009
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As a fourteen year old girl, (using her father's account!) this book has been one of my favorites that I've read recently! Frankie Landau Banks transforms over one summer from a geeky, frizzy haired girl who found pleasure in debate club to a gorgeous, sleek haired girl with a knockout figure! When the new semester begins at her fancy private school, (She is a sophomore) the totally-hot-and-popular-senior Matthew, starts taking an interest in her! From then on her life is a whirlwind of discovering how to play and what it's like to be played by her boys, discovering & secretly infiltrating a secret all male society and generally causing mayhem!

This book is a perfect read for any girl who is tired of being "part" of a guys' group, but never really included in "guy stuff"! This book was a fun and interesting read, because when reading about her life at the boarding school (because many of them smoke, drink and have wild and yet utterly cool parties) I felt inspired (in the utterly cool party and secret society sense) to go out and start something that would be remembered years later!

As well as being intriguing, this book was also hilarious! Frankie's mind works in such a cool way, from deciphering the real motives behind people's behavior to planning devious pranks that work perfectly; it is just awesome to be able to delve into it! It is also easy to relate to, because many of the things Frankie thinks about are what you begin to notice after reading this book! Things involving boys, cliques, and other school drama!

The only bad part about this book (and the reason it is only 4 stars) is because of the ending! You are furious because of the way Matthew and his friends act and saddened by what follows. I couldn't believe what happened, and then I thought about what happens in the book and realized that they are somewhat justified. (In the sense that I think they over reacted but they have a right to feel hurt and angry.) (Am I giving too much away there?) Anyway I came away from this feeling that it was too abrupt of an ending and that the author left several strings hanging! I'm hoping she writes a sequel because I always felt that Frankie and... should have ended up together!

Overall this book was awesome and I couldn't put it down after I got it!!
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh, December 29, 2009
This review is from: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Paperback)
I'm about halfway through this book, and I really don't feel like finishing it. There were countless times when I though that the book may actually be getting better, or atleast more interesting, but it just...doesn't. One of my main issues is Frankie herself. I don't like her. AT ALL. She's overbearing and snarky, and just can't leave things alone. Every time someone does something for her out of love or affection, she analyzes it to death. I agree with her sister, Zada; why stop Matthew for having his little drinking club? Why do you need to be in the center of everything? She's doing it for the sake of connections when she scorns her dad for having the exact same mentality! Honestly, the point of a club is so that it's SOMEWHAT exclusive. Deal with it. Also, her relationship with Matthew isn't very solid. He himself isn't amazing, to be honest, and there's absolutely no chemistry between them. She doesn't give a rat's posterior about him for whole sections of the book, and then suddenly it's twu wuv. Plus, she frequently points out that she loves being with his friends as much as she loves him. I interpret that as using someone, plain and simple. Finally, the prose is stilted and uninteresting. Parts of the book read like textbook pages, and there's no attempt to spice up the writing. And the neglected positives aren't clever, just annoying. It can be summed up in one word: DULL. In the interest of fairness, I'll add an extra star because of the ideas. I wholeheartedly approve of feminism and being yourself, but these themes aren't really conveyed accurately. In the end, it's just not worth reading, and this novel is probably just going to gather dust in my bookcase. Fact.
***Update***
I'm a liar. I finished it; I'm kind of OCD about these things. It actually became considerably better, and it was intriguing how Frankie accepted her...psychotic tendencies. Don't worry, I still don't like her, and I think she got what was coming. But hey, you are what you are. Anyways, I'm glad I stuck with it, but I don't feel quite so generous as to give it another star. I think it's one of those novels that you either like or hate, and it's really all about how you interpret it. But whatever. I'm done with Frankie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun (Maybe) But Flawed, August 12, 2011
I was coaxed into reading this book by a friend who'd read it and wanted to talk about it. It's that kind of book. It brings up a lot of issues and will make you think. However, I don't think it deals with its issues in a clear way (and not in an intentionally ambiguous way either, from what I can see). It seems confused.

'Muddy' is the best word I can find to describe this book. I was often uncertain as to how the author intended certain events to be interpreted. Other reviewers have mentioned some of their concerns. The big one is: how much of a feminist is Frankie really? Is she a strong female character, or just a borderline psychopath? Is she overstepping gender expectations, or just expectations we have for humans generally? And if she's taken her issues beyond gender issues, does E. Lockhart know?

The book itself raises a number of questions, but many of the questions just muddy the waters. The book takes on a lot of issues -- too many to explore comfortably, and none that can quickly be answered/resolved.

A few other notes:

Almost none of the characters are likable. I doubt they're supposed to be likable. I don't think this makes the book a bad book, just one you might not enjoy.

E. Lockhart does a good job of following the actions of the characters to their logical conclusions. She doesn't tack on an easy ending.

Some reviewers have complained about the little grammatical tangents, which I personally enjoyed very much. The book is written in a self-conscious style that I thought mostly worked. However, it could easily get on some people's nerves.

This was a daring book to write, and I'm glad Lockhart gave it a shot. I'm just not sure how much she succeeds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes, a girl has to choose..., December 19, 2009
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This review is from: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Paperback)
Frankie Landau-Banks just wants to be let in. As a sophomore at a prestigious East Coast boarding school, she is very happy that a really popular senior thinks she is adorable. But he and his buddies have the camaraderie, the intellectual repartee, and the bonding that appears to be creating a potential springboard for their future lives. That's where Frankie wants to be, but her boyfriend cannot imagine including her. Smart, philosophical, and highly creative, Frankie wants to be both arm candy and also to be, not only included, but the leader of the pack. She will have to choose, and though the going gets rough, she will choose and she will eventually be happy with her choice.

Author E. Lockhart writes books for teenage girls that helpfully explain boys to them and that also encourage girls to not become dependent on boys for their own identity. She does this in a very entertaining and light-hearted fashion-her books are page-turners, well-written, entertaining, and helpful. The Disreputable History of Franki-Landau-Banks won the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It is a pleasure to recommend it for teenage girls-the content is even appropriate for middle school girls, though high school girls will probably find it more interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a tangled web we weave, March 13, 2009
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Teaching young adult literature to college students can be overwhelming, especially when trying to find a story with a female protagonist that won't make most of the guys in the class groan, "Not another mushy, girl story!" Here's a fantastic story for all. What stands here is a strong young lady, coming into her own, by her own wits and will. Frankie out-thinks the guys, a modern-day woman (not womyn) who gives the reader someone to cheer. Way to go E.!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative, fun G rated book, February 2, 2009
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Loved the book! Clean, fun, very creative. Would recommend this light read to all ages. G rated.
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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (Paperback - August 25, 2009)
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