Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hyperion
Age Group: Teen
Source: Borrowed from Public Library
Amazon     Barnes and Noble     IndieBound
Rating: 4  out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

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 Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

My Thoughts

I’m not actually sure how I feel about this book.  Did it make it on my favorites list?  No.  Will I ever re-read it?  Probably not.  Should everyone read this book?  Definitely yes!

The tone in which this book is written is pretty fabulous.  I love how this novel begins with Frankie’s confession letter, and the rest of the book is about how and why she did what she did.

Frankie is a very investing character.  Sometimes I found myself thinking that I wish I was more like her in high school, and other times thinking I’m so glad I’m not like her.  As she began her take-over of the Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds (this is not a spoiler, as it is mentioned in Frankie’s confession letter) I simultaneously thought “you go, Frankie,” and “Frankie, what are you thinking??”

I could totally understand Frankie’s frustration about being left out of the Basset Hounds, and her frustration with her boyfriend, Matthew.  Without giving too much away, Matthew was a nice guy.  He treated Frankie fairly well, and I do think he truly cared about her.  But ultimately, he doesn’t think of her as his equal, but as his cute girlfriend that he needs to look after.  He does not value her intellect.

There were some parts in the book where it felt like the author was trying to say that Frankie was so special because she wasn’t like other girls.  Almost as if the other girls that attend Alabaster aren’t as awesome as Frankie because they aren’t these great strategists.  I’m not really sure how I feel about this.  I think we should respect girls and women for whom they want to be, whether it is the super “girlie” girl, or if they want to infiltrate a secret society.  I think Frankie is a feminist, and probably the author as well, which is why I thought this whole feeling about Frankie being so special because she isn’t like other girls bothered me.  Aren’t all girls special?  I don’t think this was a huge thing, and maybe the author didn’t mean this at all.  It just seemed that way to me sometimes.

The whole story arc is pretty awesome, though, and I really did enjoy reading this book.

At the conclusion, I am not really sure what Frankie will do next.  It is pretty open-ended.  This book is very good, and it gets its readers thinking about how women are treated, even in these modern times.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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3 Responses to Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

  1. Candice says:

    I loved this book for all the reasons you listed. I’ll probably never read it again, but it definitely left an impression on me and I agree that everyone should read it. Frankie is such a complex character and I think it’s interesting to see how others react to her and her situation. Fantastic points made all through your review!

  2. Hi! I just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Click here for more info:) http://coffeenovels.blogspot.com/2012/07/versatile-blogger-award.html

  3. LOVED this book! I read an article E. Lockhart wrote about Jane Austen adaptations – harsh, but she came across as so smart. It comes through here!

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