The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart

Posted 3 November, 2009 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 33 Comments


Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Published: 2008 Pages: 342
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 4.25/5

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of those books that I heard about all over the blogosphere and finally grabbed my own copy at Borders Bookstore from one of their bargain shelves. I’m kind of funny when it comes to reading reviews–I don’t read a lot of summaries and I have a terrible memory, so I often go into books not knowing very much about them except that others really liked them. The case was the same for this one–and what a delightful surprise!

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks besides having a terribly long title is the story of Frankie Landau-Banks during her sophomore year of high school when she decides to take down the school’s secret society. After living in her older sister’s footsteps during her freshman year, Frankie finally makes a breakout during her sophomore year and becomes involved with some of the cooler and older kids at school. One of the seniors, Matthew, begins courting her and thus begins a whirlwind romance as well as her secret involvement in the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, the secret male-only society. Upset about the continual lies, deceit, and hypocrisy, Frankie decides to take down the Loyal Order one prank at a time.

Mostly this book was just a lot of fun. Although Frankie is not the narrator, the narration focuses around her thoughts and actions, so we get to know her really well throughout the book. Frankie is a little insecure and eager to be accepted among her peers. Her mother still thinks Frankie is her little “Bunny Rabbit” and is constantly undermining her abilities and intelligence. Even in her involvement with Matthew, Frankie shows how important it is for her to make a name for herself and to be taken seriously.

The meat of the book comes from Frankie’s growth and development throughout the book and her desire to become her own person. Frankie shows that she is every bit as clever and quick-witted as her male counterparts, but she must do most of this through a covert cover and the leader of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, Alpha, quickly takes credit for Frankie’s work–even as the pranks become more and more serious. My favorite bit about Frankie, though, is her playfulness with the English language:

“[Matthew] got up from the desk, walked over to the couch on which she sat, and kissed her on the lips. There was nothing else around.

‘Mmmm,’ she whispered. ‘Now I’m gruntled.’


‘Gruntled. I was disgruntled before.’


‘It’s drizzling, there’s nothing to do but study, the vending machine’s broken. You know, disgruntled.’

‘And now you’re…’

‘Gruntled.'” (110).

Frankie is such a likeable character, and while some might be annoyed by her antics, I think Lockhart portrays Frankie as many teenaged girls are–someone who is just looking to become a part. My only regret about the book is the ending when although Frankie has learned a lot and accomplished a lot, she’s still the teenaged girl who second guesses herself. This book has received some mixed-reviews, but generally I would recommend it. I certainly really enjoyed it!

On a side note: I’m taking a bit of a blogging break. I’m tired of whining about blogging, so I’m making this announcement kind of quietly. And who knows–maybe in a few days I’ll change my mind. Ideally I’d still like to get my pending reviews written and posted, but I fear that otherwise I might be a bit sparse around the blogosphere. I’ve felt that blogging lately has become a lot of pressure and I’m trying to alleviate some of that pressure (mostly self-induced) and until I can figure that out…I’m in a state of avoidance. :)

33 Responses to “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart”

  1. You’ve heard about it all over the blogosphere? Where have I been? Well, I’m glad I’ve heard about it know because it sounds like one I’ll want to read.

  2. Amy

    I’ve been wanting to read this one, but i have read the mixed reviews. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    We’ll miss you while you’re on your blogging break, but I hope to take one myself someday. ;)

  3. I’ve heard mixed reviews on this one, too, but I’m sure I’ll eventually get around to reading it.

    Have a good break Trish. If you’re ever feeling chatty, you know where to email me. :)

  4. Glad that you enjoyed this one!

    And enjoy the blogging break. I’ve found myself blowing off posts, etc. because I’m learning to not stress about it. Post when you want to and don’t worry about the rest. But we’ll miss you in the meantime!! Check in on Twitter so we know you’re alive and kicking!

  5. Glad to hear you enjoyed it, Trish :) I loved this one!!

    And enjoy your break. I think we all need those every once in a while. I tend to just disappear unannounced when I need mine :p Like Amanda said, you know where to find me if you ever want to chat!

  6. I also keep hearing about this, but have wavered as to reading it or not. Maybe one of those days when I’ve finished the other 27 books on my list…

    Have a good break! We all need them sometimes.

  7. That book sounds good and why have I not read about it at all!
    And go girl.. you need a break … you take it :)
    Have fun… and miss us;) so that you feel like coming back soon :)

  8. This is the first time I have heard of this book and it sounds good.
    Enjoy your blogging break. I know what you mean about feeling the pressure.

  9. I loved this book, I was surprised it didn’t win the Printz Award (Until I read Jellicoe Road, the actual winner, and then I had to admit I would have put Frankie in as a close second also.)
    I think I partly loved it because I identified with Frankie. I can remember so well what it was like to have guy friends who suddenly went from just being buddies to seeing you differently, and how hard it was to get them to realize you were more than just “cute”.

    Enjoy your blogging break!

  10. I’m surprised you liked this one so much. I’m glad for that, but surprised. I, on the other hand, went below the 3 mark. :( Ultimately I thought it was ho-hum, but I liked the ending. lol

    As for your blogging break – I understand. Whenever you want to post or comment, I’ll be happy to see you. :)

  11. I’ve heard lots of things about this book as well. I have it but am waiting to read it for some reason. Not sure what.

    Happy blogging break. Hope you’ll come back refreshed and relaxed!

  12. Annie’s reading this one right now for her teen book club. I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time, too…one of these days I’ll get to it. *said with massive doses of hope*

    Enjoy your break, Trish! *hugs*

  13. Enjoy your break from blogging but I hope that it’s only a small break ;-) I’ll miss reading your reviews!

  14. I TOLD you it was good! I was a bit unhappy about the ending as well, it wasn’t really needed.

    You can take a break from blogging, but I will still be harassing you.

  15. Why haven’t I read this yet? I’m sure I’ll love it when I do! That passage you shared is awesome. And I totally understand needing a break *hugs* I’ll join Amanda and Chris in the queue for random e-mails from you :P

  16. Secret society books always sound so cool! Enjoy your break, if blogging feels like pressure that’s probably telling you to ease back on it for a while.

  17. This sounds a wee bit like The Chocolate War, except with a fun girl at the helm instead of a depressing angsty boy. I would love to read a fun book right now. I am bogged down in the classics! The worst feeling in the world is getting to about pg 400 of a book, realizing you’re only halfway done, and feeling slightly “eh” about it. I would love to set my quals list aside for this or any other disreputable history!

  18. *Lisa – To be fair it’s been a while since I’ve seen this one, but it made the rounds last summer. It’s a fun read!

    *Melody – I’ll be around–maybe just not as much.

    *Amy – I can’t remember the negative things I’ve seen about this one but I know things have been mixed. And a little blogging break can be good, I think.

    *Charley – I really enjoyed learning about the Panopticon as well!

    *Amanda – It was a fun and light book–I don’t know that you’d love it but I think you’d like it.

    *Natasha – It isn’t the posting here that is stressing me out–it’s the commenting that leaves me a little frustrated. I just can’t keep up. I kind of want my blogging to be smaller…

    *Chris – Wasn’t this a fun book? About the break–I think it will be more of a slimming down of the GReader more than anything else–just too many blogs to keep up with right now!

    *BlackSheep – LOL! I know all about the 27ish books! I hope you like this one.

    *Veens – It seems a lot of people read this one last summer. And of course I miss you guys!! :)

    *Vivienne – Frankie is such a fun character–hope you like her, too! And yes, I wish blogging wasn’t so much pressure. Need to figure that out!

    *Bermuda – I hope you can get to Frankie soon! And thanks about the break.

    *Lindsaygail – I think I liked this one because I related to Frankie as well. I really wanted people to take her more seriously than they did–she was such a smart cookie!

    *Joy – LOL–did you abandon this one? I remember commenting that I had hoped to like it and was sorry that you didn’t but I don’t remember much more than that. I’ll be around–I think I want blogging to be smaller and more intimate for me if that makes sense.

  19. *Clover – This is a pretty quick read–I read it for the readathon so only a few hours. Definitely worth the time! I hope you enjoy.

    *Debi – Oh I can’t wait to see what Annie thinks of this one! I think you’d like it too, Debi. And HUGS back to you–I owe you an email, I know.

    *Dana – I think my break will come more from bloghopping than posting, but I’ll be around here and there.

    *Marie – Thank you. :) I won’t be going too far–I love blogging!

    *Amused – This book was a popular choice last summer and it’s a fun read!

    *Lisa – LOL. :) Yes, you are wise beyond words. I think I bought it either right before or right after you read it. And harass away. :)

    *Nymeth – Yes, I think you’d like this one and Chris loved it, too, so that’s two endorsements, huh? :) HUGS back to you.

    *Softdriink – LOL–I’m REALLY good at avoidance. What I really want is to just make blogging a little more intimate and smaller. Just trying to figure out how to do that without messing up the blogging politics (yes, you know they exist…)

    *Kailana – Twice unread! This is a pretty quick read so you definitely need to check it out again. :)

    *Jodie – The secret society was a fun element to the book! And yes, agreed that blogging should not feel like pressure. Sucks the fun out of it!

    *Karen Beth – I haven’t read The Chocolate War! Can you believe that? :) And oh KB–do you ever wonder if you’ll read a fun book again? I know you love Dickens to death, but I don’t blame you for wanting something a little lighter right now. Hope you find it!

  20. I loved this book (although I was a bit disappointed in the ending as well). I like strong female lead characters, and Frankie was damn cool!!

    Don’t break for too long. We will miss you!

  21. Please don’t stay away too long.You will be missed in the blogosphere.

    I does one good to take a break and that renews the interest too.

  22. I read this during last spring’s read-a-thon, and thought it was a ton of fun… a perfect short, fast, funny read-a-thon book.

    I hope your break lets you take a bit of relaxation!

  23. This one has gotten lots of attention hasn’t it? I don’t have it yet, but it’s on my list of musts for next year – we’ll see how that goes! :-) As for breaks from book blogging, I’ve stopped announcing them unless they’re planned and extended – otherwise I only come on when I’m in the mood, there’s enough pressure in other areas of life!