The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Published by Hyperion Books
Date Published: March 25, 2008
Frankie. Freaking. Landau-Banks.
Me, I LOVE me a strong girl character. Frankie knocks them all out of the park.
At 14, Frankie is underwhelming and over-looked. By everyone, including her family and boys. By 15, a she blossomed and is getting plenty of superficial attention.
By 16, a mastermind looking to prove her gender to everyone. Go Frankie.
I try to not get too colloquial in my reviews, but I have to say this book kicked ASS!
From the first moment, Frankie’s shrewd and bitingly-true observations about gender equality, societal structure in the world and in high school are phenomenal. I would go so far as to say that I think any and every high school-aged girl should read this book. Or any aged-girl. I’m going to be honest and say that Frankie is my number one favorite heroine. EVER. Strong, sassy, mouthy and clever. What a combination!
First we start with Frankie going to Alabaster Prep School (slightly ironic name, no?) and being told her whole life will be decided by the friends and connections she makes here. Anyone who has been around the snobbery that is the upper class schools, knows that this is NOT far from the truth and to not only spell that out, but have a character abhor it, is fantastic.
Then goes to focus on an all-boy, Skull and Crossbones-type of club where the members are prepped for becoming future Masters of the Universe, or so they think. And Frankie decides to hack into that club and manipulate them into doing her bidding. Marvelous.
And I guess the thing to remember about this book is that she isn’t obsessed with being the perfect girlfriend and spends little, to no time, worrying about the superficial things girls often worry about. Boys, appearance, celebrities, make up, etc. She is driven, goal-oriented and I’m quite sure that if she was a real person, she’d be ruling the world already. Some people (I’m bad, I look at other people’s reviews on Goodreads as I write my review) don’t like her for that. That’s she too-goal oriented and not humanistic enough. Now we’re walking a fine line on the argument of feminism and complacency. And I, for one, won’t argue it here. That’s up for you decide. Personally, I liked her and completely found her within the realm of believability. Even though she’s not the stereotypical teenage girl.
Oh, and to top it all off, she makes up words in her spare time. Is there anything this girl can’t do?
I’ve got to say that this book is genre-defining. This is on the level of John Green work. If more YA books were like this, YA would emerge faster as the seriously kick ass genre that it is might even be able to break away from just being “children’s”. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it takes on it’s share of issues and does all that without getting too serious or dramatic. Perfect!
And if all of this isn’t enough to convince you the amazingness of this book, let the award list prove it to you! National Book Award Nominee for Young People's Literature (2008), A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2008), Cybils Award for Young Adult Fiction (2008), Printz Honor (2009), South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2011), South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2011), ALA Teens' Top Ten (2009), Florida Teens Read Nominee (2009), Iowa Teen Award Nominee (2011).
Seriously. Read this book.