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

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

Publishing Information: Hyperion: New York, 2008
ISBN: 9780786838189 / 978786838196 (PB) / 9781423366805 (Audio)
: 352 p.
Ages: 12 & Up

Frankie Landau-Banks turns her boarding school's secret society traditions upside down in this fun, feminist, and highly disreputable romp!

Book Talk:
Reputable—enjoying good repute; held in esteem.

Disreputable—not reputable.

Frankie was born Frances Rose Landau-Banks, but her father wanted a boy named after himself, so she became Frankie (although her father also called her “Bunny Rabbit”). Frankie was an ordinary, smart-but-easily-overlooked girl until the summer of her 15th year.  With her sophomore year approaching, she bloomed, and with this flowering, she became a force to be reckoned with.

Frankie attends Alabaster Prep, an elite boarding school along the lines of Exeter and Phillips Andover.  Her father had attended Alabaster Prep, which had once been an all-boys institution, with the “old-boy network” still ingrained in the school culture. The more some things change, the more they stay the same, and while Alabaster is now thoroughly co-ed, it still has its longtime all-male secret society, the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds.  When Frankie realizes that she cannot join her dreamy senior boyfriend in this secret society, she makes plans to infiltrate the Order. The pranks that Frankie (incognito) incites her friends to pull could alienate her from the rest of the Order, including her boyfriend, as well as the school administration. What will happen when Frankie is found out?
Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Boarding Schools
Secret Societies
Social Classes

Awards & Reviews:
Amelia Bloome List for Young Adult Fiction, 2009
Booklist Editor's Choice, 2008
Michael L. Printz Honor Book, 2009
National Book Award Finalist, 2008
New York Times Notable Books, 2008
Oprah's Kids Reading Lists
School Library Journal Best Books, 2008
Texas Tayshas Reading List, 2009

YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2009

Booklist, January 1, 2008 (Starred Review)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 1, 2008
Horn Book, May 1, 2008
Kirkus, February 1, 2008 (Starred Review)
Publisher's Weekly, January 7, 2008, p. 55
School Library Journal, March 1, 2008, p. 204 (Starred Review)
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, December 1, 2007

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. What would you do if you were excluded from a school society on the basis of gender or race?
  2. Do you agree with Frankie that the Order’s pranks were a legitimate form of civil disobedience?
  3. What might have been a better avenue for Frankie to open the Order up to girls/women?
  4. Do you think that Frankie’s activities in the Order will change anything around Alabaster?
  5. Frankie’s feminine side is at war with her feminist side in this novel. Which side do you think came out on top, and why?
  6. Who does Frankie respect more - her feminine roommate Trish or her feminist older sister Zada? How did her relationships with those two influence her? How about her parents - how did they influence her to become the person she became in her sophomore year?
  7. Is Frankie herself as power-hungry as those she complains about?
  8. Discuss the symbolism of the Panopticon.
  9. Discuss the symbolism of the dog in the novel.
  10. Are Matthew’s feelings about Frankie at the end of the novel justified?

Related Websites:
Author's Blog –
Author’s Web site –

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Other Books by the Author:
The Boyfriend List (15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs, and Me, Ruby Oliver), 2005
Fly On the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything
, 2006
The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them, 2006
Dramarama, 2007
How to Be Bad with Sara Mlynowski and others, 2008

About the Author:
E. Lockhart wanted to be a writer ever since she was eight years old.  By the end of third grade, she had writer two novels. In college, however, while taking a fiction writing class, her teacher’s criticisms would leave her in tears. (This same teacher later told Lockhart he found her work boring, and he didn’t even read the final drafts of all of her stories!)  She is now the author of five works of fiction, which have been translated into nine foreign languages. She has two more books coming out soon. 

| ©2004 - Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee | Aaron Coutu, Chair