The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Injustice -
Secrets -
Societies -
Step aside Katniss, Frankie will outwit you at every turn
E. Lockhart
Disney Hyperion
Publication Date
Mar 25, 2008
Number of Pages
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year (2008), Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2009), Cybils Award for Young Adult Fiction (2008), National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature (2008)

E. Lockhart of We Were Liars fame has another book and – wait for it – it’s better than We Were Liars.

Yes, that is a BIG statement but I will stand by it for many a reason:

1) The title. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

2) Secret societies. Who doesn’t love secret societies?

3) The fact that Frankie is the most kickass YA character ever. Step aside Katniss, Frankie will outsmart, outtalk and outwit you at every turn.

Frankie is such an important character. She strives for what she wants, not what society tells her she should want. If I had read this as a teenager, I would’ve clung to this idea and maybe it would’ve made me act differently.

Frankie is a girl who loves words. She’s clever and she knows it. She also has the excellent luck of puberty turning her into a beauty. Frankie at 14 was overlooked. Frankie at 16 is beautiful, has a perfect, popular and saucy boyfriend Matthew, and is definitely sick of being ignored. So when her new boyfriend uses her only as arm candy and becomes elusive and cagey about his whereabouts, Frankie decides to take action.

She follows Matthew and witnesses something she definitely shouldn’t have seen. Matthew is a member of the school’s secret society. A society with a legacy so long, no one really remembers when it began. And, much to Frankie’s dismay, it is also a society that only opens its doors (and secrets) to men.

Frankie is the epitome of kickass girl.  Yes she’s up in arms that she cannot join the society. Yes she hates that the group is sexist but most of all, she hates that the society has this great secret organisation and they’re not even doing anything cool with it. But she is going to change that.

I read this book in a day because I just couldn’t put it down. I needed to keep reading to find out what Frankie would do next. I am nothing like Frankie, but boy do I respect her.   I love that even though Frankie has what a lot of teenage girls want, she knows it isn’t enough.

I know I would’ve been happy with beauty and smarts. I would’ve been happy to fit in. High school is a very vulnerable time and most people (me included) wanted to feel safe and accepted and escape unscathed. Frankie appears to have it all but this isn’t  what she thinks life is about, what happiness is about. She wants the boys to see her as an equal, not solely as a beauty, and she is ready to do anything to get the respect she knows she deserves.

This book is just brilliant. I loved it. I really think all young girls (hell, boys) should read this and take some of Frankie’s great characteristics and views on the world. She is just fantastic. Now, excuse me while I research everything else E. Lockhart has written.

About the Contributor

This is Maiko. She’s liked books since forever, which is how she ended up working in publishing. Her favorite author is now, and forever will be, Tamora Pierce (and not only because Prince Jonathan was her first book crush). She’ll read anything (unless it’s Austen) and especially loves folklore and myth. Her current addictions are radio-drama podcasts, movies starring Domhnall Gleeson and going for extravagantly long walks. She’s based in London and currently works for Hachette.