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

15 09 2009

disreputable-history

Normally I can count on books to get me through trying times.  Trying times like this shit-storm of a summer.  Between all the celebrity deaths, personal deaths, the healthcare “debate”, torture memos and the stress of day to day life when your sister is planning a wedding, I really needed a good book to take me away from it all.  Of course, because this summer was a giant ball of SUCK, I couldn’t find that book.  Outside of trashy vampire novels (hello, Anita Blake) I could barely even finish a book, let alone love it.  There were a lot of disappointments, even from beloved authors like Richard Russo.  I’d given up.  Then, Labor Day weekend, I finally read a great book.  A fantastic book.  A book that saved my summer.  I read The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart.

Frankie is entering her second year at Alabaster, a prestigious private school in Massachusetts.  Over the summer she had one of those growth spurts that transformed her from horribly awkward teenage girl into stunning young woman.  Of course, she’s still wicked smaht and super independent, but when the older boy she’s been crushing on for a year asks her out she can’t believe her luck.  Well, until she actually spends some time around him and his friends – all of whom belong to an all male secret society, the same all male secret society her father belonged to when he went to Alabaster.  Frankie hates it – hates the old boys chumminess, hates the secrets, hates the fact that just because she’s a girl she not only can’t join, but these boys in her life expect her to be docile and subservient.  So Frankie, because she’s rad, decides to do something about it.

This book was such a breath of fresh air.  It’s a Young Adult novel and it was so awesome to have a YA female lead who stood up for herself, who was smart and funny and brave and didn’t sacrifice her entire self to a boy. ::cough-Bella Swan-cough::  Ms. Lockhart created an incredibly realistic character – Frankie makes plenty of bad decisions and second guesses herself and deals with body issues and bad hair days and where to sit in the cafeteria and that horrible in between time of adolescence.  But, most importantly, she thinks and doesn’t downplay her intelligence.  She’s a teenager and she’s figuring out the world around her and what role she wants to play in that world.  This was one of the most convincing coming of age novels I’ve read and I’d be proud to have a daughter as kickass as Frankie Landau-Banks.
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