Summary and book reviews of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

by E Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2008, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2009, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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About this Book

Book Summary

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer and possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.

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 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.

A Piece of Evidence

December 14, 2007

To: Headmaster Richmond and the Board of Directors

Alabaster Preparatory Academy

I, Frankie Landau-Banks, hereby confess that I was the sole mastermind behind the mal-doings of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. I take full responsibility for the disruptions caused by the Order -- including the library lady, the doggies in the window, night of a thousand dogs, the canned beet rebellion and the abduction of the guppy.

That is, I wrote the directives telling everyone what to do.

I, and I alone.

No matter what Porter Welsch told you in his statement.

Of course, the dogs of the Order are human beings with free will. They contributed their labor under no explicit compunction. I did not threaten them or coerce them in any way, and if they chose to follow my instructions, it was not because they feared retribution.

You have requested that I provide you with their names. I respectfully decline to do so. It's not for me to...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
About this Guide

This guide includes discussion questions intended to provoke thought and insight into the themes of the book, which include school life, feminism, friendship, gender roles, acceptance, humor, and intellectualism.


Pre-reading

Read Frankie's opening letter to the administration. Make predictions about how this letter became necessary. Discuss what kind of character you think Frankie will be.


Discussion Questions

  1. Frankie undergoes both a physical and an emotional transformation in the book. Why do you think people only recognize one of them? Is it difficult for women who are beautiful to be taken seriously? Why?
  2. How does Frankie first meet Alpha? Why doesn't he acknowledge their ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Lockhart has a sensitive ear for her characters' young voices; the dialogue is funny and real. Young women will savor this subversive cautionary tale of a girl geek's exhilarating pursuit of power -- sexual, intellectual, and social -- within the retrograde, male-dominated world of an elite boarding school.   (Reviewed by Jo Perry).

Full Review Members Only (529 words).

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Big ideas are an essential part of the fun in this sparkling tour de force

School Library Journal

Starred Review. Lockhart has created a layered and engrossing story that is as smart and quick as Frankie, combining the thrilling prospect of how she will get caught with her earnest attempts to understand what it means to be an outsider, an underdog, and in love. An empowered female hero like Frankie is a rare and refreshing find. She is the ultimate feminist role model for teens: a girl with guts and imagination who’s brave enough to take on the “old boy’s club.

Booklist

Starred Review. 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.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. Lockhart has transcended the chick-lit genre with this adroit, insightful examination of the eternal adolescent push-pull between meekly fitting in and being liked or speaking out and risking disdain. A funny feminist manifesto that will delight the anti–Gossip Girl gang.

Reader Reviews

Amanda

Disreputably Good
This book is about a girl, Frankie, who is trying to find her place in the world. Everyone sees her, as she explains in the book, their cute, innocent, little “Bunny Rabbit” and so Frankie sets out to prove that she is not “innocent, in need of ...   Read More

lina pal

The disreputable history of frankie landau-banks
AWESOME BOOK!!! not a five star because it has some stupid or awkward moments but its sooo a four star!!! this book should be #1 book read by teens!!! totally!!!

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Beyond the Book

Invisibility and the Panopticon
Adults have neither presence nor influence at Alabaster Prep. If they matter at all, it's only as offstage dispensers of wealth, tradition or status. Instead (like its Gothic counterpart Hogwarts), Alabaster's architecture and geography -- ponds, woods, golf courses, dorms, libraries, and most importantly, off-limits and secret places -- are powerful historical elements in the novel. Frankie, once an invisible freshman geek within the school's society, now an uncomfortably visible sophomore, returns to and exploits invisibility as she spies on her boyfriend and the school's secret society. As Frankie penetrates Alabaster's mysteries and exploits that knowledge in the execution of grandiose ...

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