on 1st January 2015
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. 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. Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is a fun story bringing together ideas of gender equality and growing up. Trust me – the blurb on the back of the book does not do this novel justice! Frankie is an engaging and crafty heroine who is not to be underestimated.
Returning to her prestigious boarding school for her sophomore year of high school, things are different for Frankie. Boys who previously ignored her now take a double take and she managed to start a relationship with one of the hottest guys in school. But for all the differences there are many things which stay the same. Frankie is sick of being treated as “bunny rabbit” – a child who cute and adorable but not to be concerned with the complexities of life. When Frankie gains knowledge of a secret all-male society on campus (a secret society her boyfriend just happens to be a member of), she also gets the opportunity to show them all that she’s not a meek little rabbit. She’s just as smart (possibly even smarter) than any of the members in the secret society and when it comes to pranks – she’s a genius!
One of the things I liked most about this book was Frankie is a realistic and modern kick-arse heroine who shows you don’t need a bow and arrow or any bloodshed to hold your own against the world. She’s more intelligent than anyone gives her credit for and whilst there might be some moral issues (as well as legal ramifications) with what she does, there is a level of brilliance to it all too. Frankie questions the roles of males and females in society in a way which is anything but boring. This is a book with a strong feminist hero without the negative connotations which often go along with the feminist label.
In addition to the commentary regarding gender and social structure – this book is a lot of fun. The pranks and their ramifications are hilarious. Some of the ideas are ingenious yet at the same time realistic. These are antics you can imagine actually happening. I couldn’t wait to see what Frankie was going to come up with next and I was never disappointed. The pranks kept getting better and better.
After reading The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, I can understand why it was award nominated. This book is exciting and interesting with an empowered heroine who is both authentic and different from other fictional characters. It is a fun and compelling read and a must for anyone who enjoys well written, interesting fiction which is just a little bit different from most contemporary reads.
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.