The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
By E. Lockhart
Published 2008 by Disney-Hyperion
Frankie Landau-Banks is not the kind of girl everyone thinks she is. She is not meek. She is not content with the status quo. She will not be quiet and she will ask questions, even if no one is listening to her. So, when she is excluded from her new boyfriend's secret society simply because she is a girl, she will not sit back and be okay with that.
I remember hearing about this book when it was released and wanting to read it, being pretty sure that it would be the kind of book I would like. Of course, it took the Hub Reading Challenge to spur me to actually picking up the book and reading it. I am glad I did.
This book. This book is awesome. This book should be handed to every teenage girl. This book should be required reading for gender studies courses. This book is something I desperately wish I had read when I was a teenage girl myself. I LOVED THIS BOOK AND ALSO EMILY LOCKHART/JENKINS/WHICHEVER IS YOUR REAL NAME - PLEASE BE MY BEST FRIEND. Ahem.
Now that that's over with, let me tell you why I liked this book. First and foremost, Frankie. Frankie is fantastic. I love her. She is the type of heroine that I think every teen girl needs to be introduced to. Yes, I imagine there will be readers who don't love her as much as I do. I can quite easily see that some people will view her as too precocious or pretentious, which actually makes me surprised that I liked her as much as I did. But here's the thing - if Frankie were a real girl I met in my real life, I probably wouldn't like her. I'd be far too intimidated by her. Reading about her, though, I imagine even teen me would have felt inspired and rejuvenated. I mean, if you ever wanted a feminist book for your teens, this here is your winner. I simply adore Frankie and her consistent questioning of societal norms. I was certainly a teen girl with my own questions about the way society was run, but I did not have the confidence to make my questions heard or to do something about it like Frankie does. Who knows what might have happened if I had read this book as a teen?
Why else did I love this book? It's so damn smart. John Green is not the only person who can write smart books for teenagers, guys. If you need proof, here you go. This book will make you laugh, maybe make you cry, and definitely make you think. In addition to being so awesome, Frankie brings to the forefront thoughts and ideas that even I, as an adult, would never have spent time on if I hadn't read this book. Reading this book made me miss being a student and writing crazy essays about off-the-wall topics. It made me miss the serendipity that education can be - research on one topic can lead you to discovering things you might never have encountered otherwise.
Overall, this book was just a great read. I want to recommend it to every teen girl I meet and I wish I could read it for the first time again. I will definitely be reading more by Lockhart.