Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.
Character Development: 10/10
Overall Enjoyment: 8/10
Total Score: 64/70
Age Appropriate? PG
Cursing: Very limited, if at all.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Teen drinking, references to teen drug use.
Sexual Content: Mild and vague references, nothing more.
Disturbing Images/Violence: None.
Wow. This book took me by surprise! I have never in my life read a book that was so witty, so charming, so unique! Seriously. I can't tell you how freaking different this was from anything I've ever picked up. The third-person narrative shifted wonderfully between the analytical, academic, slightly ironic tone of a good mystery novel to the human, emotional, teenagery tone of a real high school girl. There were so many fascinating and adorable little anecdotes that added so much to the story and the character of Frankie--who, by the way, is the perfect example of a modern-day ass-kicking heroine.
The Disreputable History is dripping with feminism and social commentary, but in a sense it reminds me of Anna and the French Kiss, in that it is just a regular ol' high school story (that happens to be set in a boarding school) and involves all the hi-jinks that ensue--friends, romance, breaking rules, etc. Only in Disreputable History, Frankie is the mastermind, Frankie is the genius, Frankie is the diamond in the rough that is constantly underestimated by everyone around her. She is alone in her creativity, but it had a sort of Agent Cody Banks excitement to it that was entirely new and fresh and wonderful, and Frankie was a lovely change from your typical bookish girl character. She was awesome. She did things. She had boys and friends and all that, sure, but to her, that was trivial. She wanted the world.
And even though the book ends on a...well, not entirely positive note, it ended right. It ended with power, with a statement. That statement was this: Show them what you're really made of. No matter what it takes.