3.5 or 4/5 stars (indecisive me!)
This is a book that I might love more than I should. Sometimes a book has flaws, but it's message and story just speak to you and you have trouble being bothered by those flaws. That is how I feel about The Disreputable History of Franke Banks-Landau.
I can recognize that it's not as fun and fluffy as E. Lockhart's other offerings (Ruby Oliver, love love love that series) and that the first 1/3 can be tedious. At times intelligent, calculating Frankie is even a little unlikable.
But I love the discussions of feminism and gender roles in this book. Maybe at times it was a little more heavy handed than the Ruby Oliver books. But DANG IT I want teenage girls thinking about these things. I like reading about these things and seeing a character realize her own potential.
"And being with him made Frankie feel squashed into a box--a box where she was expected to be sweet and sensitive (but not oversensitive); a box for young and pretty girls who were not as bright or powerful as their boyfriends. A box for people who were not forces to be reckoned with. Frankie wanted to be a force."I also like how it discussed that there weren't just expectations placed on women but expectations placed on men. Often that's not mentioned in the conversation, at least not at the YA level. It was an intelligent book narrated by a young woman just discovering her intellect and ambition. That doesn't make for the most warm-fuzzy of heroines but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
So yes the start of the book is slow. Yes Frankie has her pricklier moments. And yes I found the ending somewhat unsatisfactory (it was realistic but I'd liked a little more happy added in) but I still really really like this book.