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

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Fifteen-year-old Frankie Landau-Banks has grown up a lot over the summer. She’s no longer daddy’s little girl – and almost immediately after starting the new semester at her highly prestigious school, she bags goofy-but-gorgeous Matthew Livingston as her boyfriend. They get along great but then Frankie discovers that Matthew is a member of a boys-only secret society that specialise in ‘hilarious’ pranks. Which hardly seems fair… especially when Frankie knows she’s smarter than any of its members. And to prove this, she’s going to teach them a lesson.

I unfortunately didn’t really enjoy this one as much as I’d have liked. As mentioned in my previous review, E. Lockhart has a very unique style, and it shone through once again in this novel.

Unfortunately, the first word that comes to mind when I think of this novel is slow. I just feel like for a book of over 300 pages, not much happens in this book at all. Frankie spends a while at school. She gets a boyfriend. She uncovers secrets, and she pulls some clever pranks. She ends up pretty much back where she started.

“It is better to be alone, she figures, than to be with someone who can’t see who you are. It is better to lead than to follow”

Her relationship with Matthew bothered me a lot. She talks about loving him – but never actually explained why she loves him. In fact, she seemed angry at him for most of the book, and there doesn’t actually seem to be that much of a relationship between the two.

So what did I actually enjoy about this book? A lot of what I liked about it was the cleverness of E. Lockhart. The whole complicated plot and pranks and basset club were just so imaginative and clever. I really admire her for creating something refreshing and different from so many other YA novels. This is just so…unique, which lives up to my expectations of E. Lockhart.

“It is better to speak up than stay silent. It is better to open doors than to shut them on people.”

The plot development reminded me a lot of Fly On the Wall, also by E. Lockhart. It seemed we spent a lot of time reading this slow story for not much of a reward at the end. I felt so different about Fly On the Wall, simply just because I think we got a reward for finishing the story.

Let’s talk about this book being a feminist novel. Sure, I understand this. But I don’t actually think Frankie portrays a great role model. She’s a very jealous person who manipulates people to get what she wants. I felt her ‘love’ for Matthew was a complete lie and for once, I wish there was more focus on the romance and development of it.

“She will not be simple and sweet. She will not be what people tell her to be. That Bunny Rabbit is dead.”

Overall, I have really mixed opinions of this book. It left me confused and I definitely feel like maybe I didn’t understand the full message it was trying to portray. But what I do understand and can analyze, I unfortunately cannot bring myself to love.

★★★ (2.5 stars)

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

  1. Hey, I read this back in 2011 or so! 😀 And then read it again a few months ago! 😀 That rhymed! 😀
    Going off of what I remember, she loves him because he can offer her a look at a “new” and “exciting” world (for her). I also seem to remember him just being a nice enough guy in general? It’s been a little while. 😛

    Like

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