Thursday, January 19, 2012

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

"Secrets are more powerful when people know you've got them."

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 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.

I'd read E. Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series a while ago, and I'm always keeping an eye out for books by authors I like. Plus, for some reason, I adore boarding schools, so when I read the summary for this one, I checked it out.

Frankie, our main character, dates the (as the summary says) supremely goofy Matthew. He's one of the most popular boys at the school, and so Frankie spends a good amount of time tagging along with him and with his friends, especially at the lunch table, since she's been elevated in popularity enough to sit at the popular senior table. The conversations between Frankie's boyfriend and his friends are generally goofy and entertaining.

In a word: Frankie. I know, there should be some cardinal rule that says you can't dislike the main character. It's just that, she's very pompous. She thinks that she's better than everyone else and constantly is looking down on other people. She's so wrapped up in rah-rah sisterhood that she comes off as crazy, analyzing everything.

One for instance is when Matthew, her senior boyfriend, gives her a t-shirt of his. She has this like internal battle because, while she loves that he gave it to her, she's also suspicious that he might be trying to mark her as his property or control her and all this other ridiculous nonsense. Personally, I would think that Matthew didn't particularly care about the shirt and that he thought it would make his girlfriend smile to get it. And it did--before she starts her analyzing.

This was probably my biggest problem with the story: the entire book, the narrator foreshadows what a genius Frankie becomes. You can even see in the last line of the summary: Possibly a criminal mastermind. My problem was that I never saw anything Frankie did that was even slightly mastermind-like. She pulls a few "pranks", which, really, are lame. A lot of which, she even says, aren't her ideas, but "pranks" people from this club have pulled in the past. They're still lame pranks, by the way. (Drawing your club symbol on all the chalkboards in the school? Wow, Frankie, I cannot contain my awe at your brilliance.)

I could bring up countless events, such as the shirt event, where Frankie just doesn't make sense to me. (The worst was probably when she publicly screams at her ex-boyfriend over nothing.) She's supposed to be this girl that every girl can relate to, but I never felt that. After enjoying other books by the same author, this book was a serious let down.

If you're an E. Lockhart fan, it has a similar feel of her writing, so this might be for you. However, Frankie, and her crazy antics, were too much for me to get past. I don't recommend it.

Read more reviews for The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks at:

Let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

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