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

March 25th, 2008 (06:10 pm)
thoughtful

Current Mood: thoughtful
Current Song: Nothingwrong by Jimmy Eat World

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart begins with a written confession addressed to the administrative powers-that-be at the Alabaster Preparatory Academy. In the letter, Frances Rose Landau-Banks claims "full responsibility for the disruptions caused by the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds . . . [t]hat is, [she] wrote the directives telling everyone what to do."

But just who are these Hounds and what did they do? Who is Frances and why would she send her fellow students on these random acts of disruption?

Alabaster was once an all-male prep school. Even after it became co-educational, its secret society remained a boys-only club. The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds was famous - infamous, really - for its pranks, which were more kooky than cruel, more sophomoric than serious.

Frankie was once a quiet girl. Even after she became a curvy sophomore, she remained true to herself, not really aware of her new looks. Then she got her first serious boyfriend, and she was content with their relationship - for a time.

Before she was (in)famous, Frankie was the harmless little sister, the underclassman, the girl who knew but didn't really know. She was the younger sister of outspoken senior Zada. She was the youngest child of divorced parents, getting her name from her father, Alabaster alum Frank Banks and her conservative nature from her mother, Ruth. She enjoyed her freshman year at boarding school. She enjoyed the summer after her freshman year, when she read Dorothy Parker stories on vacation and had a chance encounter that would later prove interesting.

The book follows her through the age of fifteen, then sixteen, as her sophomore year and her curiosity lead her down an interesting path. After learning about the Order, she quickly assumes power over the group - without any of the boys knowing it. What happens next is a quiet riot, a series of misadventures involving (though not simultaneously) a statue of a fish, a Superman T-shirt, a lot of dog masks, a burned arm, and a small notebook.

Both snarky and serious, this History is written by the victors: the memorable narrator and the author. Frankie is smart, grounded, and direct, but she also has a quirky side. She has a thing for "impeas," imagined neglected positives, like ept as opposed to inept or gruntled as opposed to disgruntled. Author E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List, Dramarama) writes with heart and authentic feeling. In this novel, she uses third-person present-tense, yet is able to capture her protagonist's thoughts and actions so well that readers will feel as though they are Frankie's roommates.

This book is, dare I say, a coming-of-age story. It's not about breaking the rules, nor it is about controlling others. It's about daring: daring to be yourself, daring to stand up for yourself, daring to step outside of your comfort zone, daring to change the world. This novel possesses all of the elements necessary for a good bildungsroman, following the protagonist's journey through her formative years. History has an incredible conclusion*, and Frankie becomes a remarkable young woman.

* The last line of the book is my favorite, but I won't reveal it here.

Read the first three chapters of the book.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:

Check out a roundtable discussion with readers of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

Read my interviews with E. Lockhart:
2007
2008 (with E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, and Lauren Myracle)
2009

Tidbit:

When Maryrose Wood learned that I loved this book and that I recommend her novel My Life: The Musical alongside E.'s book Dramarama, she said: "E. is very flattering company to be in, thank you! I'm a huge fan of her books and her as a person too. Disreputable History is fabulous, a shoo-in for one of the top YA books of 2008, so read it, everyone!"

Comments

Posted by: mimagirl (mimagirl)
Posted at: January 27th, 2008 05:16 am (UTC)
flash

You've sold me!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 27th, 2008 05:23 am (UTC)

*grin*

Posted by: boothyisawesome (boothyisawesome)
Posted at: January 27th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)

God, I want this book so badly!!

How did you get it so darn early? My goodness, that's like 7 months before publication...

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 27th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)

It arrived without a note - I think Frankie would approve.

Posted by: simmone howell (simmone)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 10:55 am (UTC)

it sounds fab. I loved dramarama - inhaled it practically!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 28th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)

I loved Dramarama as well. SO GOOD.

Posted by: Lara M. Zeises (ex_zeisgeis)
Posted at: January 29th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)

I loved this book so freaking much. I can't stop thinking about neglected positives. Man, I swear - Emily inspires me to be a better writer.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 29th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)

I love the impeas. LOVE. I remember asking about such things even as a little kid. I've always been one to look words up in the dictionary.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: February 3rd, 2008 03:59 am (UTC)

I just got an ARC and I can't wait to get started on it. :)
-Em
(www.emsbookshelf.blogspot.com)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)

Enjoy it!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 25th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)

Ooh! Ooh! I can't wait to crack open my copy!

Jules, 7-Imp

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 25th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)

*grin*

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 25th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)

Wow! I can't wait to read this book. I preordered it a while ago and it FINALLY shipped so hopefully I'll get it tomorrow.

-Reader Rabbit
http://readerrabbit.blogspot.com

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 25th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)

Enjoy it!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 27th, 2008 04:13 am (UTC)

I just finished reading it and I DID enjoy it. I think it :)

-Reader Rabbit

Posted by: chatteringbee (chatteringbee)
Posted at: March 27th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)

Oops...what I meant to say was that I think it's her best book yet!

-Reader Rabbit

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 27th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)

Gotcha.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 27th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)

Frankie rocks.

Posted by: Melissa Walker (mewalker1999)
Posted at: March 25th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)

Heard a teaser at a reading and can't wait to get the book! Thanks!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 26th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)

Enjoy!

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