The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart
* * * Stars (Pretty good)
Frankie blossoms over the summer between her freshman and sophomore years in high school, and when she returns to her elite boarding school (Alabaster), she’s suddenly the focus of a lot of male attention – in particular, gorgeous senior Matthew. They start dating and although Frankie really likes Matthew, she feels like he doesn’t take her seriously. After he breaks a date with her and lies to her about a prior engagement, Frankie follows him and discovers that he’s part of a secret, boys-only society called the Bassets. Frankie gives Matthew what she thinks is every opportunity to tell her about the Bassets, and when he doesn’t, she makes it her business to discover everything she can. Using her smarts, Frankie finds the lost History of the Bassets and uses it (in addition to other research on secret societies) to take control of the Bassets.
There were times when I both loved and hated this book. I didn’t like how Frankie got overshadowed by Matthew all the time – but she hated that, too. And I loved it when she took up the reins of the Bassets and had them jumping to do her bidding (she had good ideas, and she used the society to enact change!). But she’s at war within herself – she wants to be her own person, she wants to be seen a certain way, and she also wants acceptance, love. And maybe these things aren’t always compatible. I know and feel her frustration and I’m completely sympathetic to it. We’re all in the process of growing and finding out who we are – and we want to be seen and accepted and loved for being whoever that is.
Reviewed by YA Librarian