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

Hello! Unfortunately I’ve been writing more essays than blog posts for the last while, but I’m back now 🙂

I really enjoyed E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars (review here) so I was delighted to see The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks finally has a UK/Irish edition. I have been wanting to read it for years!

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The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

E. Lockhart

Hot Key Books, 2014

YA

Frankie Landau-Banks attends Alabaster, an elite American boarding school. She is intelligent and good-looking. She has also caught the attention of the gorgeous Matthew Livingston, who she has long admired from afar. As Matthew’s girlfriend, Frankie is popular and becomes part of his fun group of friends. But she doesn’t feel she belongs to the group, as a girl she is treated differently. When she finds out Matthew is part of an all-male secret society and has been hiding things from her, Frankie decides to take matters into her own hands. She’s out to prove that she is much more than a pretty face.

This book features two of my very favourite things – wordplay and strong female characters. Frankie’s puns are funny and intelligent, and I loved the style in which the book was written. It is a contemporary YA novel, but also has elements of mystery. Lockhart brings in complex ideas (such as the panopticon or Foucault’s writings) but makes them clear to the reader and uses them to further her themes. I loved Frankie’s character – she is smart, outspoken and quirky – and seeing how she becomes aware of the gender disparities in her school. She is definitely one of my favourite literary characters, and this is a book I will be re-reading.

‘Frankie wanted to be a force’ Lockhart writes at one point, and Frankie certainly becomes a force to be reckoned with as she outsmarts the secret society. This book is both an examination of identity, as Frankie challenges how she is perceived at home and at school, and a fun read about outrageous pranks and one girl’s rise to notoriety.

A clever, well-written feminist YA novel with lots of pranks and intrigue. Highly recommended!

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I am very excited about E. Lockhart’s event in Eason O’Connell Street tomorrow (4th of December), expect a blog post about the event soon.

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