Reviews for Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks


Booklist Reviews 2008 January #1
*Starred Review* In the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, Frankie Landau-Banks transforms from "a scrawny, awkward child" with frizzy hair to a curvy beauty, "all while sitting quietly in a suburban hammock, reading the short stories of Dorothy Parker and drinking lemonade." On her return to Alabaster Prep, her elite boarding school, she attracts the attention of gorgeous Matthew, who draws her into his circle of popular seniors. Then Frankie learns that Matthew is a member of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male Alabaster secret society to which Frankie's dad had once belonged. Excluded from belonging to or even discussing the Bassets, Frankie engineers her own guerilla membership by assuming a false online identity. Frankie is a fan of P. G. Wodehouse's books, and Lockhart's wholly engaging narrative, filled with wordplay, often reads like a clever satire about the capers of the entitled, interwoven with elements of a mystery. But the story's expertly timed comedy also has deep undercurrents. 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. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
Alabaster Preparatory Academy sophomore Frankie Landau-Banks is cute, clever, and dating one of the most popular boys in school -- who also happens to be the co-leader of an all-male secret society on campus called the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. At first Frankie is content just to be Matthew Livingston's arm candy, but the more he keeps secrets from her -- seriously underestimating her intelligence -- the more restless she becomes. By impersonating Matthew's co-leader over e-mail, Frankie takes control of the Bassets, secretly engineering campus-wide pranks such as fastening bras on paintings of the school's founding fathers. Over the course of the story, Frankie transforms from being her family's "Bunny Rabbit" into "a person who liked to be notorious" -- a change that comes as a shock to her friends, family, school administration, and, most of all, to Frankie herself. Throughout the story, a clinical-sounding narrator addresses readers directly, giving the book a case-study vibe and presenting Frankie's struggles in a dispassionate way ("How does a person become the person she is?"; "she might, in fact, go crazy, as has happened to a lot of people who break rules"). Readers are left to make up their own minds about this unique, multifaceted individual while giving her the space -- and the attention -- she so craves. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #3
Alabaster Preparatory Academy sophomore Frankie Landau-Banks is cute, clever, and dating one of the most popular boys in school -- who also happens to be the co-leader of an all-male secret society on campus called the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds. At first Frankie is content just to be Matthew Livingston's arm candy, but the more he keeps secrets from her -- seriously underestimating her intelligence -- the more restless she becomes. By impersonating Matthew's co-leader over e-mail, Frankie takes control of the Bassets, secretly engineering campus-wide pranks such as fastening bras on paintings of the school's founding fathers. Over the course of the story, Frankie transforms from being her family's "Bunny Rabbit" into "a person who liked to be notorious" -- a change that comes as a shock to her friends, family, school administration, and, most of all, to Frankie herself. Throughout the story, a clinical-sounding narrator addresses readers directly, giving the book a case-study vibe and presenting Frankie's struggles in a dispassionate way ("How does a person become the person she is?"; "she might, in fact, go crazy, as has happened to a lot of people who break rules"). Readers are left to make up their own minds about this unique, multifaceted individual while giving her the space -- and the attention -- she so craves. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 February #1
This cerebral and offbeat comedy of manners will appeal to fans of John Green's An Abundance of Katherines (2006). Spunky boarding-school sophomore Frances "Frankie" Landau-Banks is tired of being underestimated by the men in her life, including her upperclassman boyfriend Matthew and his wittier-than-thou friends. Inspired by P.G. Wodehouse's Code of the Woosters, she infiltrates Matthew's secret and exclusive male club--The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds--and, unbeknownst to them, begins orchestrating their elaborate pranks. She hopes the boys will be awed by her ingenuity and finally acknowledge her brains as well as her recently developed body. But Matthew & Co. are less than pleased to discover Frankie's deception, and she learns the hard way that "it's better to be alone . . . than to be with someone who can't see who you are." 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. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 October
Fifteen-year-old Frankie is attractive, extremely bright, and a student at an academically challenging boarding school. But everyone underestimates her: her family who affectionately calls her Bunny Rabbit, and even her boyfriend who thinks she is ?adorable.? Frankie longs for recognition. She seizes the opportunity with a secret organization on campus, but Basset Hounds membership is only for males and highly exclusive. Frankie uses her computer to manipulate the unknowing club members to do her bidding. The pranks increase in scope and daring until the club?s involvement becomes known to everyone on campus, especially the administration. When Frankie reveals herself as the woman behind the pranks she loses her boyfriend, but she is allowed to remain in school, and more importantly gains self-knowledge as well as the respect and admiration of family and classmates. The author does a noticeably good job in portraying private school culture with its secret societies. Her characters? voices are perfect for today?s youth. While of particular interest to private school students, female students will easily relate to Frankie?s yearnings for intellectual recognition and acceptance into male dominant cultures. Highly Recommended. Tena Natale Litherland, Head Librarian, Webb School of Knoxville, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Tennessee, Knoxville ¬ 2006 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 January #1

Big ideas are an essential part of the fun in this sparkling tour de force. Back at her elite boarding school after a summer vacation in which she has grown from duckling to swan, sophomore Frankie starts dating cool, gorgeous senior Matthew and instantly becomes a part of his charmed social circle. Hanging with Matthew and his crowd is a thrill, but Frankie begins to chafe as she realizes that the boys are all members of the secret society to which her own father belonged, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hound, and that not only will they never let her join, Matthew will not even tell her about it. Lockhart (Dramarama ; The Boyfriend List ) dexterously juggles a number of smart and tantalizing themes--class and privilege, feminism and romance, wordplay and thought, friendship and loyalty--and combines the pacing of a mystery with writing that realizes settings and characters, large and small, with an artist's sure hand. Inspired by a class called Cities, Art and Protest, Frankie concocts a brilliant plan to infiltrate the Bassets and has them carry out a series of pranks that wittily challenge the politics of the school. Girls especially will be interested in this unusual portrait of a heroine who falls in love without blurring her sense of self, even if none of her friends understands her, and in Lockhart's fresh approach to gender politics. An exuberant, mischievous story, it scores its points memorably and lastingly. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

[Page 55]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 March

Gr 7 Up-- Frankie Landau-Banks has always been underestimated. After spending her childhood as a bright but sheltered ugly duckling, she begins sophomore year at her elite boarding school as a swan, catching the attention of senior Matthew Livingston. Frankie is ecstatic, particularly when she learns that he is the leader of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an all-male secret society. She spends most of her time with Matthew and his friends but soon realizes that no matter how smart or funny she may be, she will never truly be a part of the group, simply because she is a girl. This frustrates her to no end. In a remarkable turn of events, Frankie takes control and begins to direct the Bassets, through email, in a series of elaborate school pranks, revitalizing the Order and the student body as well. These ingenious pranks embody the vigor of Frankie's personality, making social commentary on everything from the school's lack of female leadership to its disgusting cafeteria salad bar. 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."--Emily Anne Valente, New York Public Library

[Page 204]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2007 December
Lockhart chronicles the adventures of Frankie Landau-Banks-student, girlfriend, deviant. In the summer between her freshman and sophomore high school years, Frankie undergoes a metamorphosis. She tames her wild, frizzy mane, grows curves in all the right places, and hones her razor-sharp mind. Gone is her family's "bunny rabbit," and here to stay is one stealthy woman. When she returns to school in the fall, Frankie captures the affection of school golden boy and logophile, Matthew Livingston. The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, an arcane society of which Matthew is a member, piques her interest. The Bassets' claim to fame is their perpetration of mediocre pranks on campus. When a class paper plants a seed in her mind, Frankie sets out to enhance the Bassets' mischievous nature with a chain of e-mails, a treasure hunt, and the members' limitless credit cards. Lockhart fashions a thoroughly enjoyable tale of a good girl who aches to be bad. She deserves special mention for her ability to create likeable characters out of those that literature typically maligns-privileged, WASP-y males. Matthew and his cadre of friends are witty and buffoonishly humorous, and Frankie's desire to share their friendship and gain their approval is entirely understandable. The prose flows smoothly, and readers will remain engaged to see what new dastardly deed the heroine has planned. Fans will applaud at the conclusion as Frankie strides into the sunset, her head metaphorically bloody but unbowed.-Angelica Delgado 4Q 4P M J S Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.

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