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

A spirited young woman takes on the all-male secret society at her boarding school, and not just because her boyfriend’s one of the leaders.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks reminded me a lot of Rushmore, and that’s a good thing. It’s quirky and offbeat, combining intelligence and heart within a clever, original plot. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Frankie’s sabotage of the Secret Order of the Basset Hound stems from her sense that her boyfriend is underestimating her. In one sense, she’s just a girl who wants more from a guy who won’t give it to her. Yet she’s a natural criminal mastermind, and it’s just delightful to watch her put the boys through their paces.

The tone of the book is unusual. The author employs a third-person narrator who’s detached from the events. This allows for some fun digressions into wordplay that feel organic to the story as it’s being told.

It’s refreshing to read a young adult novel that aims to have some fun, even while it engages with real issues facing teens. This is no heavy-handed polemic purporting to tell it like it is. This is storytelling of a most imaginative sort.

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