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


Book Title/Author: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
: Hyperion 2008
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Nope!
Other Books From Author: The Ruby Oliver series, Dramarama, How to Be Bad, Fly On the Wall

Amazon| Goodreads | @elockhart |

Recommended by the girl whose recommendations I take SERIOUSLY

In the summer between 8th and 9th grade, Frankie transforms from cute debate club nerd at her prestigious boarding school to suddenly having guys take notice of her for her new, more adult-like figure and her witty demeanor. She finds herself in the arms of her senior crush, Matthew Livingstone, and ushered into the world of his fascinating and elite group of friends. As she gets closer to Matthew and his friends, she starts to feel excluded from parts of his world that she can’t enter — an all male secret society that she knows her dad was a part of that has Matthew sneaking off in the middle of the night and pranks happening around campus. Frankie thinks it’s crap that, as a female, she can’t be a part of this group when she knows she could think of more genius pranks so she takes matters into her own hands as she hides her knowledge about the secret society from Matthew and his friends.

On the story itself:

I have always had a weak spot for fancy schmancy boarding school stories and have loved the idea of a secret society since my days of binge watching Gilmore Girls with my college roomie and watching all about The Life And Death Brigade that the (smokin’) Logan was a part of. So immediately the setting of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (and isn’t the title just SO intriguing??), along with the premise of this novel, hinted towards a good time for me.

This book was so fun in terms of the plot. These boys have their secret society and their pranks and Frankie decides she can do better and masterminds her own series of elaborate pranks while keeping up appearances with Matthew and her friends. It’s perfectly paced as you get this perfect balance of her scheming and her just being a normal student/friend/girlfriend that’s trying to be a part of her boyfriend’s world and trying to fit in. You can’t help but cheer her on as she masterminds these pranks, feel tense wondering if she’ll get caught and secretly cringing as she maybe starts to take things too far.

Confession time: I was totally a master pranker in college with my guy friends — we put white mice in the girls dorm below us, launched water balloons at people walking, egged the college vans as they drove from campus to the dorms and captured ducks outside the pond and put them in the common area in the dorms. I had to outrun campus security, fall into a pricker bush and got duck poop all over me. Deservedly so. I’m SORRY, alma mater. I am. So naturally, I was giddy about Frankie’s plotting and pranking and her outwitting everyone!

The real make or break deal of this novel lies in if you like Frankie — which I absolutely loved her. The girl wasn’t perfect by any means but I loved how strong she was and how she wanted to just prove that she could be like one of the guys — I could totally relate to that. She didn’t want to be excluded from the boys club because she had a vajayjay.   I loved how she explored what feminism was and what it meant to her and I think that’s important for girls to think about — what feminism is and looks like lived out. I think she made mistakes and had some skewed views but ultimately she learned a lot about herself. I mean, what 15 year old girl can REALLY know exactly what feminism is and what it looks like in your life. I just loved watching her grow and learn — even when it was painful and you wanted to be like “GIRL YOU ARE ACTING CRAY!” Plus she was sassy, strong and had some majorly awesome pranking skills.

On the audiobook:

This was one of the audiobooks I listened to while working out so my experience was a bit choppy because it wasn’t like it was a long car ride or something. I thought it was easy to follow and the plot worked well in the audiobook form. I didn’t feel like I was too lost and rarely did I have to go back to re-listen to something. The only thing I had a hard time was, and I’m quoting my friend Heidi from Bunbury in the Stacks on this, is that the narration kiiiind of “makes Frankie sound like a bit of an asshole” and not as endearing, despite her flaws, as I found her to be. So if you give this a go on audio and you find yourself hating on Frankie, try to switch to an actual book. It might help you but if you are still annoyed — you might just fall in the camp that just doesn’t like her as I alluded to before.

I really enjoyed The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks! It was a ridiculously fun boarding school story that not only had some serious mischief & pranking involved but also weaved in the story of a girl trying to figure out her place in the world dominated by men and hold on to her feminist ideals. There are plenty of mishaps and cringeworthy moments as to be expected but I loved Frankie, her spunk & sass and watching her grow!

For Fans Of: boarding school novels, snarky and sassy female characters that show strength without being of the literal “kickass” variety, secret societies




Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you enjoy it or have a different opinion than me? What was your favorite Frankie prank? How do you think about Frankie’s notions of feminism? Do you feel like she grew in  them?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. hands down, this is one of my favourite ya books. I am SO SO glad that you *got* Frankie, because I really can’t be objective about this book; if you don’t love it then I’m all ‘seriously bro, what gives?’ I mean, Frankie makes up words. FOR FUN. and she is so smart – she would be number one on my oceans 11 list because girl gets shit done. The way that Frankie refused to fade into the background and let the boys of the story take the spotlight was just so affirming. How she fought against the social order and refused to conform to what people expected her to be like. I LOVE HER. and I love this review.

  2. I haven’t read this but have wanted to ever since it was featured on the list recommended by Carla! It sounds like such a fun read and must admit that I too love the idea of a secret society since ever since my addiction with Gilmore Girls (Logan was smokin’ but eh, he could be annoying). Awesome review and hopefully I’ll read this soon. I plan to read the rest of Carla’s rec’s so if you want to do a little read-a-long or something that could be fun.

  3. Ok, in one review, you managed to work in a reference to the Life and Death Brigade, which was my favourite plot from Gilmore Girls (I know it’s about Rory and Lorelai, but I LOVED seeing Rory get pushed out of her comfort zone), fancy schmancy boarding schools AND the word vajayjay. The hat, it is off.

    Also, Logan. Oh, Logan, how much I heart and miss you! I have contemplated naming my future son Logan after Huntzberger and Echolls (from Veronica Mars).

    Sorry, I got sidetracked. Great review. While I loved Frankie, and I loved the pranks and the wordplay and the feminism and the Foucault(!), I think my whole experience of reading it was tainted by the ending. I was really pissed off by it because I thought Frankie deserved better, and it wasn’t enough that she was not thought of as “Bunny Rabbit” anymore. And yes, I totally wanted Alpha to see how brilliant she was and get down on his knees and beg her to join the Basset Hounds and date him.

    The fact that I still remember all of this even though I read Frankie in 2009 indicates to me that it was an awesome book. I like books that make me react. This one might deserve a re-read. Thanks for reminding me!

  4. Ha! I loved The Life and Death Brigade in Gilmore Girls, I am an avid fan of that show as well. The boarding school aspect is always so much fun in books, and I love secret societies. This definitely sounds like such a fun read, especially with all the pranks. Love your recommendations! Great review 🙂

  5. Frankie sounds like a fun, sassy character. I hadn’t heard of this book before, but it sounds fantastic. I love a good boarding school read. Thanks for the review!

  6. One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors! So glad you finally read it and realized the awesomeness of Frankie. This one might be going in my re-read pile for 2013, since it’s definitely worthy of multiple reads. And the feminism aspect doesn’t hurt.

  7. I really liked this book, but in my mind E. Lockhart can do no wrong!! I have NO idea what an audio version of Frankie would sound like, but I think I would like the book version of her better bc I could see her being annoying out loud. Cool Review!!!
    Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Book Blog

  8. Just added this one to my TBR after reading your review. I recall it being on your rec post, and thinking it was a great title. I want to read more different books in 2013 so *fist bump* for this review, for referencing the amazing plot-that-could-have-been with the Life and Death Brigade. (Loved Logan’s growth throughout his character arc, btw!) FRANKIE sounds fun, thought-provoking, and all around awesome. Thanks for reviewing it, Jamie! It might have gotten lost in my cobwebb-y mental “to read” list otherwise.

  9. Terrific review! I loved this book too. It was funny and delivered a strong message of female empowerment without being preachy. I enjoyed hearing about your pranking past too.

  10. I have mixed feelings about this book. I quite liked it when I first read it earlier this year. But the more I thought about it, I actually liked it less and less. I still like it, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t know. I guess what bothers me is that Frankie is supposed to be different from the girls at her school, because she wants to be in the boys club. I am not sure if I am explaining this well. Of course I think she should be in this club if she wanted to, and having an all boys club is silly. But what I mean is that it felt like we (the readers) were supposed to think she was great because she didn’t think like all the other girls at school. And that is my problem. I feel like lots of times the “special” girl in a story is special just because she isn’t like “all the other girls.” Like being a girl isn’t something to be proud of. Does that make sense? I really like to see stories were girls band together to support each other. Like The Lonely Hearts Club.

    I don’t know, maybe I am overanalyzing it. I did really enjoy the pranks she pulled, and how she kind of outwitted the boys in the secret society.

  11. Oh, goodness, I really liked this book! Frankie was hilarious and so much fun, and the pranks she pulled? Completely awesome! I’m so glad you liked this one, Jamie. I agree, it’s very hit-or-miss with this one. Very happy you thought it was a hit!

  12. I loooooove the boarding school setting too! I recently read the Gemma Doyle series and the whole idea of living at school, being on a beautiful campus excluded from everything is so enticing. And who would have thought you were the ultimate prankster in college?!

  13. I have so much love for this book. Frankie’s pranks are so awesome that I could never pick a favorite, and her feminism is perfectly radical and unique. Also, as Carla said, she practically has a hobby of making up words. I want this girl for a friend.
    Haha, and adding your own college shenanigans was a great touch to this review:)

  14. I’ve heard of this one, but I had no idea what it was about. It sounds like a great book though, and I’m very curious to see what sort of pranks Frankie gets involved in. All in all, sounds like a book I’d definitely enjoy reading!


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