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

I have heard such good things about The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and I’ve been curious about it for a while now. After reading We Were Liars, I thought it would be a good idea to give E. Lockhart’s other books a try. I started reading Frankie when I felt that I needed a fun book.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

The Disreputable History of FrankieFrankie 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 Landau-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.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is an immensely readable contemporary YA novel. I started reading it one afternoon and was able to reach 78% before I went to bed. I then finished the whole thing the next day. Frankie is such a brilliant character – she’s academically smart, active in extra-curricular activities and diabolically clever. I loved how she wanted to shake things up and wasn’t willing to settle for the status quo because she demands to be treated with respect, both within her family and in her school. That’s something that will resonate with a lot of us. She didn’t want to be known as the family’s Bunny Rabbit, always the young girl who needed to be protected. She also wanted her boyfriend (and his friends) to see her as more than just a pretty girl. It is Frankie’s determination that makes me feel like this is a book that I would gladly recommend to my teenage self and say, “Read this and remember not to settle for anything less that what you deserve.” I really liked that while there was romance in this book, it wasn’t really the focus of the story. To be honest, the romance felt a bit thin and I wasn’t even really rooting for Frankie’s to be with Matthew.

I really enjoyed reading this and even highlighted several sections of the book in my Kindle. But I kind of feel like the overall tone is a bit young for a YA novel. Granted, Frankie is only 15 years old and is a sophomore instead of the usual junior/senior main characters in YA. It’s just that I feel like this story wouldn’t have that much staying power with me – I know I really like it now but several months down the road, I probably wouldn’t remember what happened in the book. Then again, that’s the case with a lot of contemporary novels that I enjoy reading. Usually the ones that linger are the emotionally intense novels. I probably would have liked this one a lot more if it was a little longer and the ending was stretched out a bit. I was wondering if there was more to the story after I got to the final page. I might be getting ahead of myself only to discover that Frankie will stay with me longer than I expected, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I definitely recommend this one to fans of contemporary YA novels with smart female MCs. I’m really curious now about E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver series.

Other reviews:
See Michelle Read
I Like It Dog-Eared

13 thoughts on “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

    • Really? I must have missed that. Probably as big a splash over We Were Liars when it came out.

      I’m really curious about the Ruby Oliver books. They’re in my TBR pile.

  1. I really quite liked this one when I first finished it, but I don’t love it as much anymore. I guess I have a hard time with the some the things the book says. Like to be special you need to be different from every other girl. Or that Frankie is special because she is different from all the girls in her school. And that really pisses me off, really.

    I did read the first Ruby Oliver book and I really liked it. Lockhart is able to really tell a story that felt almost biographical to me. So realistic it was almost scary.

    • Hmm you do have point there, Quinn. I didn’t see it in that way though – that Frankie had to be different from every other girl to be special. What I saw was that she wanted to change the way people looked at her and to be accepted for who she is. I guess we all just have different ways of reacting/interpreting books.

      Oh that’s good to know that the first Ruby Oliver book is very realistic and that you could really relate to it. I’ve been hearing good things about it. Are you planning to continue with the series?

  2. Oh gosh, I hate this book. Sounds strong but I really, really do. It makes me mad.
    But hey, at least is a strong reaction, right?

    I didn’t like Frankie at all, she just messes with people because she can and to prove her own cleverness, it’s not like she was being oppressed by the man… she was just denied access to what amounts to high school club she only found out about because of her dad, and a pretty lame one at that. She could have formed her own club, and made it awesome and been empowered, but she just kept defining herself and her “empowerment” in basis of what she could get the dudes to do and how much she could get away with.

    I like the Ruby Oliver books better, though Ruby is the kind of character that takes a step forward and two backward and sometimes her behavior made me wanna say “What, What What are you doing? Look at your life, look at your choices?”

    • Whoa, such a strong reaction! Your point about Frankie just starting her own club was actually brought up by her sister, right? But she wanted to be accepted into the existing club because of Matthew, Alpha and the rest of the boys. She wanted to be part of the club because of the camaraderie it represented, she also liked spending time with Matthew and his friends and wanted to be included in their inner circle. I did feel bad for her that she felt that she was always adjusting her life around Matthew and he didn’t do the same for her.

      Ha! I would probably have the same reaction to the Ruby Oliver books. Looks like you still enjoyed it even though you got frustrated at the MC.

  3. I haven’t read this book yet so I’m not sure how I’d feel about it…need to get on that…

    I did however read the first three Ruby Oliver books and I LOVE them. But I have to agree with Alex about how Ruby’s behavior can make you want to shake her sometimes xDDD Cue the sassy gay friend voice, “What, what, WHAT are you doing?” *dramatically pushes scarf to the side*

    • Hahaha you just had to include the scarf flip in there. If both of you had that reaction with Ruby Oliver then I’m pretty sure that’s how I would react as well. But we’ll see. What about We Were Liars, have you read that?

      • I think that also depends on location? Because it’s pretty hot in Manila and Singapore so we don’t wear scarves and my gay friends can’t do that scarf flip. 😛

        I was curious about We Were Liars because so many friends were raving about it. And while it was good, I just didn’t love it as strongly as they did.

  4. I’m pretty excited to read this! I just bought it fairly recently, on the recommendation of a friend. Your review has me confident that I’m going to enjoy it! I’m usually a sucker for a great (female) main character, and Frankie sounds really awesome.

    • I think you’ll enjoy reading this, Alexa. Have you read her other books? I’m really curious about her Ruby Oliver ones, especially after everyone’s comments on this review.

  5. Pingback: June 2014 Recap | Chachic's Book Nook

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