In the wake of that book's success, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks has now been published for the first time in Australia (after numerous awards and nominations when first published in the US back in 2008). And I'm so glad it has!
When we meet Frankie, she is fifteen, very smart and a privileged student at the elite Alabaster Academy. Over the summer holidays, she has grown taller, filled out in all the right places, tamed her frizzy hair and become head-turningly attractive.
One immediate benefit of her new look comes in the form of a new boyfriend: the handsome and popular editor of the school newspaper, Matthew Livingston. Life is good. Until Frankie finds out about a secret society known as the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds that only admits men to its ranks. And that's something that Frankie — a young woman smarter than any of the Bassets — simply has to change!
I fell in love with Frankie. On the one hand, she's funny, articulate and original (as well as seriously brilliant). But on the other, she's just your average teenager head-over-heels in love with her gorgeous new boyfriend. Precocious genius one minute, goofy lovesick girl the next — Frankie is endearingly real.
In fact, this is great writing on every level, with each aspect of the book — from the setting to the dialogue — resonating with authenticity and drawing me in to Frankie's world. Along the way, issues of ambition, power and gender equality are all thrown into the mix in a way that never becomes preachy but which will hopefully inspire reflection. Frankie has big ideas. She's not afraid to challenge the status quo. Her message is that you can grow up to change the world.
I am a massive fan of E. Lockhart and I will be hunting down her other books.
Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: January 2015
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult