Great by Sara Benincasa

ARC, 263 pages

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Published by: Balzer + Bray

Stand-alone

For fans of: Retellings, Chick-lit, LGBTQ, Cntemporary

 

     In 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.
     Based on a beloved classic and steeped in Sara Benincasa's darkly comic voice, Great has all the drama, glitz, and romance with a terrific modern (and scandalous) twist to enthrall readers.

 

 

*MY THOUGHTS*

 

     Here's a little known fact about me.... I'm not a huge fan of classics. But there are some that I do like, which are The Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. So of course when I saw this was a re-telling of Gatsby, I KNEW I had to read it. If not fr anything else, just because it was like Gatsby. 

 

"Fitting in is overrated"

pg. 149 (ARC)

 

     With that being said, this was a very solid re-telling. It followed the story almost to a tee. But in this one, it's modernized and there is something very different in this one as well. I think this is what I liked the most. Not only is it close enough to the original story to be a good modernized version, but it was also different enough to be a good re-telling and give Benincasa her own voice. 

 

"I guess love, or whatever they were in, changes a person. Or maybe it just brings out their true nature."

pg. 169 (ARC)

 

     Which bring me to my next point. Yes it was distinct enough to give Benincasa her own voice, but to be honest, it wasn't 100% great. Really what kept me reading was the fact that I knew how Gatsby ended and I wanted to see how much she would keep the same. I think I would've liked it better had she made it a little more modernized. I know I was just praising her for making it a modern story, but really its the setting that's more modern. The actual writing stil felt like I was in the 20's/ Maybe it was supposed to be that was to help with the re-telling, but because it was in that type of setting, it just didn't work for me. 

 

"My father told me once that people don't change- they just reveal more of who they really are."

pg. 201 (ARC)

     As I said, I'm a huge fan of Gatsby, and I'm very happy to see that this version of the story is almost just as good. It has definitely made me want to re-read it. I really praise Benincasa on re-telling a timeless classic, something that so many people already love. 

 

Overall, I give this