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.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

16179216Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.
Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.
But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Oh, this book hit the spot. As soon as I heard about Dear Killer, I wanted to read it. I’m a huge fan of the TV show Dexter, and I had heard that Dear Killer shared some similarities with Dexter. Though it did share some of the same aspects, Dear Killer wasn’t a copy of the show at all. It was original and fantastically addicting. Dear Killer kept me interested. I was on the edge of my seat, waiting to read what Kit would do next.

Kit is a fantastic narrator. Though she’s a killer, it’s incredibly easy to empathize with her. I found myself wanting to befriend Kit, rather than fear her. The whole aspect of her being a vigilante-type killer was fantastic. In some ways, it made her easier to understand her point of view. The inner-turmoil that Kit faced was the cherry on top of Dear Killer. It added tons of depth to both Kit, and the story. Katherine Ewell did an amazing job writing Dear Killer.

Ewell’s writing is meticulous and tight. There isn’t a dull moment, and every sentence leaves you wanting more. Dear Killer is an original novel that you won’t be able to get out of your head. The main character Kit has one of the strongest voices that I’ve read in awhile. Katherine Ewell is an author that I recommend looking out for. Her books are sure to be hits.

FTC- Received for review via Edelweiss.