The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart
Rating: 5/5 stars
Upon entering Sophomore year at a competitive boarding school, Frankie is not the same girl as the previous year. After pending a summer in the sun and growing into some of her more awkward features, she is the girl that everyone is beginning to notice. After the year kicks off with her dating a popular senior, Frankie thinks she has high school figured out. However, she soon realizes that she doesn’t love the way she is treated as a trophy without independent thoughts or that she is excluded from the school’s secret society just because of her gender.
It doesn’t take Frankie long to come up with a plan to show everyone that she is just as capable as one of the boys. Leading to an infamy filled school career, Frankie is willing to sacrifice everything to place herself on equal footing with the Boys’ Club at her school.
Review: I love this book that’s filled with all sorts of Girl Power goodness!! I most appreciated how Lockhart chose to take on the more subtle occurrences of sexism and misogyny that girls face. The frustration that Frankie feels when her words are disregarded simply because they are coming from her, or that they need to be validated by a male in the group in order to be considered valid is written so clearly that the reader becomes equally frustrated. Even with something as innocent as a male friend “looking out for her” and warning her off certain guys because people think she looks better than last year, Lockhart drives home the point that there is something inherently wrong with that being necessary.
While this book does primarily highlight Frankie’s discontent, I also appreciated the inclusion of other female perspectives on these issues. It shows that sexism is not a clear girls against boys problem. There are some girls in this book who are fine with the established norm regardless of the inequality, and their feelings are just as justified as Frankie’s.
I think this is a contemporary book that should be on every school library shelf, and wish it was one I had read when I was in high school.