Monday, March 2, 2009

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

I recommend this book for: grade 8 and up

Frankie was a freshman at her exclusive boarding school last year - a geek, a nobody. This year, she's getting noticed, in particular by the popular senior Matthew Livingston. But Frankie isn't just a pretty girl who will be contented with being Matthew's girlfriend. When she realizes that he has a secret, she does her homework and finds out about the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds - an all-male secret society bent on causing mayhem. A society that Frankie's father belonged to in his own boarding school days. A society that is at a total loss for some good prank ideas. Which is where Frankie comes in . . . and the resulting hijinks involving ladies' undergarments, vegetable sculpture, and statue abduction are hilarious.

This was a fantastic book. Frankie is a strong girl who applies what she learns to real life, with pretty amazing results. She is passionate about what she believes in, regardless of how silly other people think she is.  She's brilliant and creative, and very fun to read about. The other characters are also drawn very well, particularly Matthew - the reader can see what he's really like and still understand why Frankie likes him. The ending is also fantastic - I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that I respect Frankie's independence and that it remains intact. A very fun read!

A fairly clean read, but read the invisible text if you're concerned about content: Although Frankie does not drink, she does attend a party with lots of teens drinking beer, and the boys in the Loyal Order do a lot of drinking when they get together. Frankie's relationship never progresses beyond making out, but there is (non-graphic) discussion of other characters having sex. No bad language to speak of. Oh, and Frankie definitely makes war on the administration, so  if you find rebellion against adults offensive, this one may not be for you/your child. End of invisible text.

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