By: Melanie | January 12, 2015 | (42) Comments

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. LockhartThe Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Publisher: Allen and Unwin Australia
Release Date: January 1st, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Drama, YA
Pages: 352
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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 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.

stickers-my-review (1)Reading The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks just goes to show that loving one book by an author doesn’t guarantee you’ll love every book by that said author. (I should know this after reading so many books but no, I am a person who never learns ._.) I read We Were Liars almost a year ago and well, let’s just say it made my top 10 reads of 2014. (If you want to know why I loved it, I suggest you check out the discussion review/fangirling session Celine and I did.) Unfortunately for this book, there’s no doubt it won’t be landing my top 10 for 2015.

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

So apparently, this is a feminist book. And for me, I didn’t see The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks as a feminist novel at all. We are introduced to Frankie as a strong-headed and determined girl who doesn’t like being talked to condescendingly and hates taking ‘no’ for an answer. I wanted to love this girl, for she initially sounded like someone I can strongly identify with, but I soon was proved wrong–Frankie got less likeable more and more throughout the book. Here are the reasons why I was completely ticked off by her.

Frankie gets pretty irked when she discovers that there is a secretive all boys society which is known as the Basset Hounds. Her boyfriend, Matthew Livingstone, is apart of it too and what pisses her of more is that Matthew did not tell her about this society. Soon Frankie decides that she wants in on this all males society which, to me, sounded completely absurd in the first place. I mean really, the things that the boys do in this society is so freakin’ lame. Anyways, Frankie soon starts stalking her boyfriend and decides that the only way she’ll get into the Basset Hounds is to prove to the boys that she’s way better than all of them. Which, didn’t make any sense to me. If Frankie felt that she was better than the boys, why even bother dealing with in the first place?–they’re not worth her time and efforts. And this leads me to my second complaint about Frankie. She was constantly trying to prove herself to Matthew and the other boys. When one of the boys said something to her (mainly Matthew), Frankie would analyse and go through all the possible responses then select the best one to reply with for the Matthew and the boys to respect her more. Essentially, this book was about Frankie who followed the boys around everywhere just so she could get their approval of her. Does that sound like a feminist novel to you?

No, I didn’t think so.

And don’t let me get started on how much the boys in this novel annoyed me. These boys don’t recognise (or admit to recognise) a girl until she starts getting fat in the right places. HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT?

What I did appreciate about this novel was Frankie’s wit. She’s a really smart girl, who just didn’t put her efforts in the right places. I particularly liked Frankie’s ‘neglected positive’ words and it was really entertaining to read about. Sure, her motives and ideas totally sucked, but there were a few positives about Frankie, and I’m not ready to just forget them despite how much I hated the plot line. 

In my opinion, E. Lockhart tried to achieve too much here. This is certainly not a feminist novel and so many characters here put me on edge and how obviously rude they were (namely, the boys–like Matthew Livingstone). I won’t be recommending this book, so if you want to try E. Lockhart, I suggest you turn to a much better novel by her; We Were Liars

~Thank you Allen and Unwin Australia for sending me this copy~

2 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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

  1. Lara says:

    I loved We Were Liars, so of course I’ve always been tempted to read this, but almost every single review I’ve read hasn’t been too great… I may read it someday, but based upon your review (and everyone else’s), it doesn’t seem like I’d enjoy it too much. Thanks for reviewing this!
    Lara recently posted…Goals for 2015 || Reading, Writing and BloggingMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I just don’t think I could get past the fact that this was so not the feminist book that people said it was meant to be. Yeah and besides that, the plot isn’t all that interesting either <.<

  2. Sigh. I was one of those people who didn’t really like We Were Liars; Personally I thought that the hype ruined it a little too much for me. So I’m not really sure if I even want to read this one, you know? I might if I come across it but until then it’s not something that’s appealing to much to me at the moment. I do like wit, though!

    Great review.

  3. So, I was just about to pick this up the other day but decided against it. Reading your review will definitely prepare me for what’s to come. I mean it doesn’t really sound like it’s feminist at all, why would she try and prove she was as good as the boys? and the boys only being attracted to girls when they shape out, yeah that’s pretty lame. Great review Mel!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…I Was Here by Gayle Forman Review: Overcoming GriefMy Profile

  4. Amelia K says:

    I was a huge fan of We Were Liars like you but yeah, I’ve heard similar things. It seems that this isn’t much of a feminist novel at all–more like anti-feminism or something, to be honest D: It’s a shame that this didn’t work out for you at all, but I can totally see why you didn’t like it. If I read it, I’d probably have similar thoughts. Great review Melanie!

  5. Amir says:

    Since I’ve never read any books by the author yet, I will def follow you suggestion and read We Were Liars instead. It’s a shame to get such a witty and smart character that ends up making poor choices. Your plan is definitely much better, why follow this secret boys-only society around when you can definitely make a better girls-only one?! Lovely review Mel, I think I will pass in this one, the whole premise will def annoy me.

    • Melanie says:

      We Were Liars is absolutely beautiful, Amir! I suggest you don’t have too high expectations for it because the hype does ruin it for several. Thanks, hun 🙂

  6. I guess this is known to be a feminist novel but I don’t think the author knows what is feminism if the MC tried to prove herself so much to the boys and get into their secret society. I agree that she should have just made her own secret society. She doesn’t have to prove herself to a boy – only to herself. Now if they were getting special privileges because they were boys and she started fighting that then that would be a feminist book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’ll steer clear of this one.
    Adriana @ BooksOnHerMind recently posted…Bout of Books #12: Wrap-UpMy Profile

  7. I loved We Were Liars because of it’s unique prose, and the unpredictable ending. It’s a shame this book doesn’t live up to that. It really doesn’t sounds like a feminist novel at all. In fact, it sounds like it’s just the opposite.

  8. SEE THIS IS WHY I AVOIDED THIS BOOK. I read the reviews and I said NO NO NO, THIS IS A BOOK THAT JESS WOULD RAGE AT. Not for me at all. I don’t think I could stand Frankie, even with all her good traits, unfortunately. Fantastic review, Mel! x
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…Seeking Saturday’s Read #20: Birthdays, Books and the Gift That Is Chris PineMy Profile

  9. I read this book years ago and remember loving it — back then, the secret societies and the pranks and the boarding school stuff seemed so innovative, but maybe years later, not as much. And now I’m reading the points you make and going hmmmm… maybe I need to re-read. But I still loved We Were Liars.
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics
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  10. Hm. I think I’m going to take a pass on this one Melanie! Frankie does sound challenging as a protagonist, I know I’m definitely going to want her to find her own self worth rather than continuously seek it out from these boys and their secret society. Thanks for your thoughts, sorry it didn’t work for you!
    Jenny @ Supernatural Snark recently posted…Review: MarkedMy Profile

  11. I can’t help but feel guilty whenever I dislike a novel by one of my most beloved authors. I’m sorry that The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks was E. Lockhart’s fall from grace; however I appreciate your honest review, I know how difficult it must have been for you to write. And, thanks for giving me an alternative by directing me towards We Were Liars.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Hunted by a Jaguar by Felicity HeatonMy Profile

  12. sounds to me that Frankie completely missed the definition of being a feminist. the movement is about equality. it’s not a competition. it’s not to prove women are better than men. i’m disappointed in this novel, and the message it sends. i’ll pass.
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…On the Night Table [#8]: Space and the Japanese Circus.My Profile

  13. Lily says:

    I actually didn’t have the greatest experience reading We Were Liars so I was planning on staying away from this one anyways but after reading your review i’m kind of happy I decided to avoid this one. I’m a huge feminist and love anything that’s even feminist in the slightest but I feel like i’d have a much harder time than even you did reading this one. Oh well. Hopefully you enjoy your next read, better.
    Lily recently posted…The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1): ReviewMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Aw it’s a shame that We Were Liars didn’t work for you at all, Lily. I really did want to love this, but I couldn’t get past the actions of Frankie and how she wanted to get her approval from the boys

  14. I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you. It sounds quite different from We Were Liars, so it makes sense you wouldn’t be as much of a fan.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Review: Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, DarthMy Profile

  15. So disappointing. We Were Liars was an interesting little read. So sad that this one doesn’t meet expectations. Thanks for the helpful review.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Audiobook Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer(Mara Dyer #3) by Michelle HodkinMy Profile

  16. Rashika says:

    I’ve only read E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver series and I loved those books to bits and pieces. I still haven’t given We Are Liars a shot mostly because the reviews are so MIXED. Some of my friends hate it and others love it. There seems to be no middle ground and I have no idea where I’d fall on that spectrum!

    I do believe I attempted this one at some point but gave up for some reason or another. If I were to read it though, I don’t think I’d mind that she wanted to be part of their speshul boys club. What would bother me is that she’s always trying to impress people :/

    I am sorry you didn’t enjoy this, Mel. 🙁

    Lovely review though!
    Rashika recently posted…Potato Prints #5: Harry Potter, Throne of GlassMy Profile

  17. Trying to prove yourself doesn’t sound very feminist to me either…a lot of being feministic is, like you said, about being proud of who you, isn’t it??? I have heard a lot of lame things about this one which makes me CRY! We Were Liars was jafdkslafd the best thing in the world. I’m still in partial shock on how good it is and was only just telling my sister to read it (okay I was basically smacking the book in her face). *sigh* I think I’d avoid this one just so it didn’t frustrate me.
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…Why Do I Love Retellings?My Profile

  18. Maddy E says:

    This book doesn’t sound like the best thing ever. I definitely agree that constantly seeking boys’ approval is not the way to go for a feminist novel, and boys who don’t bother with girls unless they are physically attractive are the bane of my existence.

    However, I’m going to have to disagree with you on the secret society aspect. In my opinion, feminism in about gender equality. I definitely think that trying to join this secret society and get rid of their “guys only” rule is the way to go. By creating an all-girls group, she would just be widening the divide between the genders. Feminism isn’t about proving that girls can be better than men. It’s about making sure that gender doesn’t play a role in the judgement of a person. In this case, anyone being able to join a secret society, regardless of gender, rather than having a “girls only” club that is “better.”
    Maddy E recently posted…Review: Jackaby by William RitterMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yes, I completely see where you are coming from, Maddy. I realise that it didn’t come out the way it intended you, and thanks to your comment I’ve fixed that part up in my review. Feminism absolutely isn’t about showing males that females are better, but that we are equals on the field and I absolutely see your argument there. Thank you for your comment! 🙂

  19. Alreem says:

    sorry you didn’t like this book so much, hope your next reading will be good 😀
    Alreem recently posted…Review: The Son of Neptune by Rick RiordanMy Profile

  20. I didn’t like this OR We Were Liars, so I guess E Lockheart really isn’t for me. The big reveal at the end felt really stupid and I didn’t like Frankie at all 🙁
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Ten 2014 releases I wanted to read…but didn’tMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Yeah some people just don’t find Lockhart’s work appealing at all. Right? Frankie wasn’t a character that I could really love, though I liked her wit, heh.

  21. Since you mentioned it, I guess this book has been praised for being feminist? From what you’ve written … that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. It sounds like Frankie is just putting all her effort into being “respected” by a group of boys who sound pretty much downright douchey, if I’m being honest. Frankie doesn’t sound like a really likeable character, although I’m interested in those words you mentioned!

    I did buy this as an ebook for about $1, which I still think is a deal because WE WERE LIARS was one of my top books of 2014. I freaking adored it.

    I’ll likely still end up reading this title, but probably without many expectations!
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    • Melanie says:

      Yeah, this book has been praised for being a feminist novel like uhh…NO IT’S NOT. Ooh that’s a pretty darn good deal, Chiara! I’d be curious to read your thoughts on it xD

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