disreputable-historyI haven’t posted a book review in ages, and I’m not really sure why. I listened to the audio for this book months ago and never posted about it, so I decided now’s the time.

When Frankie Landau-Banks starts the school year, she has changed almost overnight from a bookish girl no one notices to a gorgeous and smart headturner. And 15-year-old Frankie catches the eye of senior Matt, gorgeous and popular at their prestigious boarding school. They start dating, but very quickly Frankie starts to feel like eye candy only as word-obsessed Matt begins correcting her vocabulary choices and keeping secrets from her. And then Frankie discovers Matt’s part of an all-male, super-secret society. Determined not to take a backseat to any boy, Frankie begins showing the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds just how much smarter than them she is with a series of pranks under an assumed male identity.

Frankie asks questions about the balance of power between boys and girls, questions that will resonate with teenage readers. She falls in love with a popular boy but refuses to give up her brains and identity in the process. It sends a powerful message to readers that girls should never be underestimated and never sit quietly just looking pretty. At times the story feels reminiscent of movies like Just One of the Boys with its battle between the sexes, but Lockhart steers it away from melodrama and predictablility. Frankie is not the awkward, angst-ridden outsider of books like Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep. She is beautiful, smart, and outspoken–a great combination. But just because Frankie stands up for herself doesn’t mean there are no consequences. The story is real and very, very cool.