Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Great by Sara Benincasa

13919896In Sara Benincasa's contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, a teenage girl becomes entangled in the drama of a Hamptons social circle, only to be implicated in a tragedy that shakes the summer community.
Everyone loves a good scandal.
Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother in East Hampton. This year is no different. She sticks out like a sore thumb among the teenagers who have been summering (a verb only the very rich use) together for years. But Naomi finds herself captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. Jacinta has her own reason for drawing close to Naomi-to meet the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather. But Jacinta's carefully constructed world is hiding something huge, a secret that could undo everything. And Naomi must decide how far she is willing to be pulled into this web of lies and deception before she is unable to escape.

Being a huge fan of The Great Gatsby, I was a bit weary when it came to starting Great. However, my curiosity got the best of me and I couldn’t resist reading it. I know that Great is a retelling of Gatsby, so this really shouldn’t bother me. But I didn’t like how similar it was? That sounds weird, I know. But I was hoping that the story would be altered at least a little bit (besides gender-bending the characters and setting it in a more current era). That being said, I understand that if Benincasa were to have changed it, there probably would have been a lot of backlash. Other than that, I really liked Great.

I loved that Benincasa changed around the genders of the characters, and it was really interesting to see the similarities and differences between her characters and how they were originally by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Naomi’s voice was fantastic, and it captured the essence of Nick’s voice perfectly. Jacinta had all of the mystique and wonder of Gatsby, and Jacinta’s attachment to Delilah was wonderfully written as well.

Though I would call Great one of my favorite books, I think Benincasa did a really nice job of retelling a classic story. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books, and Great did a pretty good job of doing it justice. Sara Benincasa captured all of the wonder of The Great Gatsby while still adding her own original flare. I recommend this to people who liked Gatsby, but are still open to experiencing it in new ways. Great takes awhile to get used to, but it is definitely enjoyable.

FTC- Received from publisher via Edelweiss.

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