Monday, May 03, 2010

What Mrs N's Been Reading - The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Just finished E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I've really liked anything I've read that Lockhart has written, and this one was no exception. In fact a co-worker and I were just talking about this book earlier this morning, and we both thought it was fantastic to find a female character, in a teen book, that is as strong and independent as Frankie. Frankie attends an elite boarding school, where, in her freshman year, she was more part of the geek group. She blossoms during the summer before her sophomore year, and at the beginning of the school year, attracts the attention of the most popular senior guy at the school and starts dating him. She finds out that Matthew, her boyfriend, is the current leader of a decades-old, all-male secret society at the school. Her father had been a member back when he attended the same school, and the members use the connections made there to full advantage for the rest of their lives. As Frankie tries to sort out in her own mind, why society tolerates this sort of discriminatory behavior, she starts to question a lot of other things as well. This leads her to take on a misleading online identity, which she uses to get the members of the secret society to pull all sorts of elaborate pranks, that she is masterminding. As various things are brought to light, as all of this plays out, the book really gets you thinking about all sorts of societal issues like sexism, elitism, societal rules in general, security and it's effects on freedom, etc. As I was reading, I found myself mentally cheering Frankie with "you go girl!" No surprise to anyone who knows me, since since I have the "Things to Do Today" poster which includes "shake things up" and "cause a scene" hanging in my office. The book starts a little slow, but hang in there. Once it gets going it's great. There's mention of some drinking and making out, but it's pretty cursory, and definitely not explicit. Even with that said, though, I'd recommend this one more for high school students, only because younger kids just won't really take away what they should from this one, simply due to lack of life experience.


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