Thursday, February 12, 2009

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

disreputablefinalbig_copyThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart 345 pgs. 2008 4.75/5 Frankie Landau-Banks is a 15 year old Sophomore at a boarding school that caters to mostly the rich and influential. There have been a few developments since her freshman year, mainly physical developments. Over the summer, Frankie has shot up a few inches and has grown curves in all the right places. When she goes back to school for the start of her Sophomore year, people notice her that never noticed her before. Mainly, Matthew Livingston. Matthew is a senior that she's had a crush on since last year and despite the fact that she sat with him on occasion last year with her older sister, Zada, he swears he's never met her before. Matthew's friend, Alpha, is another interesting character who Frankie met over summer break, but he also swears that he doesn't know her...though she believes that he's not being entirely truthful there. Frankie soon learns of The Loyal Order of the Basset Hound, a secret society that has existed at Alabaster for years. A society that her father was a part of. After starting a relationship with Matthew, a dream she never thought would come true, she grows her own suspicions that he is now a member of the Order. But he won't let her in on the secret. Frankie feels like she's still looked upon as just a little innocent girl, not good enough to be one of the guys. So she decides to take things into her own hands after learning more about the secret order from her father. Mainly that the order is said to have a book called The Disreputable History which contains all of the secrets and past pranks of the order. To prove her worth to Matthew (or is it more to herself?) she goes looking for the book while Matthew still has no idea that she even knows about the order. By and by, she is feeling more alienated from Matthew as she begins to notice that he leaves her for the guys and refuses to tell her what he's doing, always making excuses. Frankie decides that to be something to Matthew, she has to pull the biggest prank of them all. It's obvious that E. Lockhart is a big fan of John Green's and I mean that in a completely positive way. At no time does she steal his ideas or imitate his writing, but this novel does have that same wonderful feel that John Green's novels do. It has that depth to it also running underneath the main current of the story. Lockhart's story is extremely entertaining and engaging, but underneath the entertainment is the story of a girl trying to find her place in the world, to prove that she has a place in the world. Frankie is a very three dimensional character. She's smart, witty, well-read, and well-versed. But she's also insecure and wanting to find that place where she pleases both herself and everyone around her. That balance of independence and acceptance. It's a novel that examines gender roles as well. Frankie refuses to be "just another girl". She's even named after her grandfather. She chooses tshirts and jeans over frilly dresses, but still has a beautiful female quality. She challenges the long sustained society of boys by trying to become a member. But in doing so, will she alienate everyone along the way as she becomes more and more obsessed with her goal? Frankie is a character that I very much enjoyed getting to know. I couldn't help but think of Alaska Young from Looking for Alaska, despite the obvious character differences. Both are fantastic female characters in modern young adult literature that put up a facade of being strong and edgy, but underneath are struggling with major issues. A highly recommended read. Other Views and Opinions: Maw Books Books and Other Thoughts Bold. Blue. Adventure. Becky's Book Reviews Fizzy Thoughts Bottle of Shine Let me know if I missed your review and I'll add it to the links!

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