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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks Paperback – August 25, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 148 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Over the course of one summer, Frankie Landau-Banks, a somewhat geeky girl with an unassuming nature, has developed into a 15-year-old with an attention-grabbing figure, a new attitude, and sights set on making changes at her elite boarding school in this novel (Hyperion, 2008) by W. Lockhart. The teenager also has a new boyfriend, a gorgeous senior who belongs to a long-standing secret society on campus—The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, known mostly for silly pranks and a history of male-only membership. With a witty, sharp, and intelligently scheming mind, Frankie manipulates the Loyal Order to do her bidding with pranks meant to make a political statement about the male-dominated and classist nature of the school. Tanya Eby Sirois adequately voices the characters. Frankie's personality is portrayed most effectively; some of the slang and the attitudes of the male characters feel forced. Telephone calls are relayed using special effects that are mostly convincing, and the segments that are told via emails are well conveyed and perfectly paced. Listeners will feel that they are a part of the teen's disreputable and humorous history. An overall fun listen that the author's fans are sure to enjoy.—Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, Frankie Landau-Banks transforms from “a scrawny, awkward child” with frizzy hair to a curvy beauty, “all while sitting quietly in a suburban hammock, reading the short stories of Dorothy Parker and drinking lemonade.” On her return to Alabaster Prep, her elite boarding school, she attracts the attention of gorgeous Matthew, who draws her into his circle of popular seniors. Then Frankie learns that Matthew is a member of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male Alabaster secret society to which Frankie’s dad had once belonged. Excluded from belonging to or even discussing the Bassets, Frankie engineers her own guerilla membership by assuming a false online identity. Frankie is a fan of P. G. Wodehouse’s books, and Lockhart’s wholly engaging narrative, filled with wordplay, often reads like a clever satire about the capers of the entitled, interwoven with elements of a mystery. But the story’s expertly timed comedy also has deep undercurrents. Lockhart creates a unique, indelible character in Frankie, whose oddities only make her more realistic, and teens will be galvanized by her brazen action and her passionate, immediate questions about gender and power, individuals and institutions, and how to fall in love without losing herself. Grades 7-12. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; Reprint edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786838191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786838196
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I fell immediately for this book, from delicious plot to precocious protagonist, and I’d go as far as to say that I think this is a book that all young adults should be reading. It could ostensibly be seen as a book about fitting in and finding your place in the world, but more than that it is a book about power and ambition, and the great lengths that a girl will go to obtain that power.

A lot of reviewers have dissed the narration of this book, with a sort of unnamed narrator telling the story of how Frankie shook things up in her sophomore year of high school, but I really enjoyed it. It felt so very confessional and conversational having a third party tell the story, and I thoroughly enjoyed that broken fourth wall feel of the narration.

As for Frankie, she’s by all means not perfect. She comes across as a bit brash and entitled at times, but her heart is in the right place and her drive and ambition make her really relatable. Who hasn’t wanted to shake things up a bit to fight against the patriarchy and perceived slight? In this book, Frankie does just that, and her eventual fall into obsession with her cause is a fun ride.

This book is a wild ride, featuring secret societies, gender politics, and a lead character that is just plain sick of feeling left out. It is both highly political and wildly funny. With hijinks that could only happen away at boarding school and a delicious sense of revenge, readers will love Frankie Landau-Banks and her endless drive to come out on top.
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