Probably the most powerless-feeling person on the earth is a fifteen-year-old girl. Being a teenager makes one rife full of righteous outrage anyway, but I remember feeling like I had no control over my life. I was at the mercy of the decisions of adults. Well, duh, it's supposed to be like that. If teenagers were allowed to completely rule their own lives, most of us wouldn't survive to adulthood. I have the wisdom of being far from adolescence now, but it wasn't so long ago I can't remember how it felt. I can now look back with scorn at my so-called fury over injustice and agony over being completely misunderstood. Man, you couldn't pay me enough to go back to it.
Unfortunately, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart took me back to the thankfully never-to-be-repeated fifteenth year of my life. Well, sorta. I was never wealthy or went to an exclusive boarding school in New Hampshire or had a boyfriend who was the most popular guy at school or was consumed by the fact that he belonged to an ultra-secret boys club that he refused to tell me about. But I did feel powerless and frustrated by the perceptions all my peers had of me, that I couldn't seem to break out of a mold formed when I was so much younger and continued by people who didn't know me as anything different. I could relate to all that.
Frankie cannot stand the fact that her boyfriend is involved in this club that, she eventually discovers, goes back to the 1950s. When she does uncover more information about The Loyal Order of the Bassett Hounds, she decidees to use what she knows to control the guys involved. As the narrator explains, Frankie could someday use her talents for good, becoming the CEO of a large company or striving for finding peace between warring nations. Or she could become a crime boss to rival all others. She has the potential for both.
It becomes quickly evident that Frankie is smart, ruthless and a bit obsessive. If I was her mom, I'd have a royal freak-out when I found out what she was up to, but you have to admire her talent. She directs a gang of teenage boys to carry out pranks the likes of are impressive on any scale, and pins all the blame on her nemesis, who pretends to have done it all to get the credit. That, of course, comes back to bite him, which was Frankie's plan all along. All because her boyfriend thinks she's harmless and her family's nickname for her is Bunny Rabbit. Way to prove them wrong, kiddo!
Even though I read this through the eyes of an adult instead of a jaded teenager, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Frankie is awesome and awe-worthy in her mischief and you can't help but admire her. Every bit of it was enjoyable and I felt a bit jealous that she got to work out her teen angst in such a creative way. It's a whole lot cooler than wearing alot of black and listening to music that drove my mom up the wall, just as an example that I may or may not know about.