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


Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Author: E Lockhart

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 345 pages

Published by: Disney-Hyperion

Source: borrowed from the library



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.

I was excited about this book because people have said good things about it. I got it from my local library in large print (it’s massive print, actually) and…woah, the title is a mouthful, right? Let’s talk about it in terms of Frankie. Actually, if I said that to Frankie she’d probably be like:

Except, replace “Nymphadora” with “Frankie.” Basically, the premise of this novel is that Frankie doesn’t like being the “Fluffy Bunny.” She wants people to think she’s…I don’t know, fierce or something? She infiltrates some stupid boy club and gets them to do pranks. She’s a feminist, which I liked, and calls everyone out on their sexist stuff, but she does it in a really annoying way. I mean, I’m a feminist as well, but I don’t yell and scream at people for saying things they don’t know are wrong.

I also had a problem with Frankie’s boyfriend; namely, it seems like she hates him and loves him at the same time. They had no chemistry whatsoever. He’s constantly dismissive of her, and she’s always internally monologue-ing about how he doesn’t see the real her.

The things I liked were few and far in between. I liked the descriptions of the pranks. I liked the beginning. That’s about it.

I did not like the style of narration: it was third person omniscient and broke one of the biggest “rules” of writing: it told instead of showed, like the whole thing was just narration. What’s more, it was really pretentious narration. Why does it need that?

Literally, it was like the writer saying, “look at me, I use fancy words and I’m clever.” Because the writing is clever, I can’t deny that. But it really annoyed me that the author had to be so obvious about it.

So really, I didn’t like most of the characters. I didn’t like the narration. The ending was a let-down and an anti-climax. The secret boys’ society was stupid (I mean, Frankie could have just started a girls’ club – what’s wrong with that?).

I really wanted to like this but I just couldn’t.

Rating: 2/5 Wonderkitties


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

  1. Eh…it sounds kind of…condescending?? I HATE that. And I really don’t like reading those kind of relationship, mostly because they’re plain frustrating and you have to wonder why they’re together anyway. What’s the point, really? I’m not really a fan of omnipresent. And yelling at people because they have different viewpoints to you (on whatever matter!) is kind of rude and dodgy. So yikes yikes yikes, not liking.

  2. Ick. The narration does sound quite pretentious and that’s definitely a pet peeve of mine. Have you ever seen Good Will Hunting? It’s an fantastic movie. There’s a scene it where the main character flips out on this pretentious douchebag and it’s the most epic thing ever. You can see the scene here:

    Lol it’s just full of win.

    I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you. I hope your next read is stellar.

  3. Oh man, is this one of those books which just makes feminists look like tyrannical know-it-alls? Because WAY TO GIVE US A BAD REP. There are ways to ‘correct’ people and share your opinions without being a dictator and completely trampling over other people.

    RE show, don’t tell. My uni teacher would be professor over in his tweed suit if he read this. He was so big on SHOW US, stop TELLING us what happens and let us experience it. I can’t stand books that just explain things really factually and don’t take the time to emote and really immerse the reader in the experience.

    Blah :/ sorry this disappointed!

    • I know, don’t you just HATE that?? Like us feminists already face enough crap.

      That’s so true about the telling. It’s one of the first things I learnt about writing, and it’s been reinforced enough times that this just read really badly :/ very unfortunate, but hey, not everyone can like it right?

  4. Oh yes! The “look at me I use fancy words” thing is something I’ve encountered a few times in my reading career. I’m pretty sure I used that description for The Discovery of Witches and 50 Shades of Gray. Lovely review Emily, thanks for being honest! hope your next read is better.

    • It annoyed me. Quite a bit, actually. I don’t mind the big words so much as the author dangling them in front of me. Yes, I get it, you’re clever. I haven’t read 50 Shades (not willing to go there for a LONG while). But sounds like it might be the same offence 😛 I hope my next read is better too, thanks for commenting! 😀

  5. Pingback: What Happened This Week: British relatives | The Loony Teen Writer

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