Monday, September 29, 2014

Great by Sara Benincasa

Title: Great
Author: Sara Benincasa
Length: 263 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Classification: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling, 
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Hardback (I won a copy of this book from Cuddlebuggery's Little Blogger, Big Ambitions project and Coranne @ The Best Books Ever. Thank you so much!)
Read: September 2014
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. 
**I won a copy of this book from Cuddlebuggery's Little Blogger, Big Ambitions project. This does not change the way I view this book**

Some information before the review:

I have not read The Great Gatsby yet, I have been meaning to but keep putting it off.
So my knowledge of Gatsby comes from the newer version of the movie with Leonardo Dicaprio.

I have taken my time to write up a review because I am not completely sure how I feel about this story.

On on hand, I feel like it was an interesting, modernized version of The Great Gatsby that I am a little familiar with.
I was very easily able to make the connections for whom each character is. And I knew when the big events were going to happen. So even though I sorta knew what was happening, I also didn't exactly. I feel like there were enough changes and modernization to give this a twist on an old story. Which makes it a pretty good Retelling.

This retelling focuses on the life of Naomi. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her father for most of the year. But every summer she travels to the Hamptons to stay with her mother. Naomi usually hates it there, but this summer is different. She gets pulled into the glamorous world of the Hamptons. Becoming friends with people that she didn't think she could ever like or be friends with.

I really liked that the story kept my attention and left me wanting to read more. I found it to be pretty well paced and I read it quickly. And it reminded me a bit of Gossip Girl. I did like that even though I generally knew the outcome of events in the story, I still had hope that things would end differently.

But, I had a hard time really connecting with the characters. I disliked so many of them.

Naomi: I flipped between finding her character okay and being really annoyed with her. I do like that Naomi tries to be a good friend to Jacinta. She stands up for her and defends her a lot.
But the biggest problem that I had with Naomi was that I felt like she wasn't that good of a friend to Skags. I didn't really like some of the comments that Naomi says to Skags about her being gay. Maybe I have looked at these comments the wrong way, maybe it is in a joking nature...but to me it felt like at times she doesn't really like that Skags is gay.

Delilah: At first she seems like she is going to be a very likable person. But as the story progressed, I became frustrated. She put up with a lot of crap from her boyfriend, Teddy and didn't really do anything about it. I feel like she never stood up for herself and let others make her decisions.

Jacinta: Out of all the characters in the story, I think I like her the most. She was interesting and a some backstory and a lot of secrets. I like that she is a fashion blogger. But it was a little weird the way she was completely obsessed with Delilah. I know it is supposed to be attraction and feelings, but I just didn't feel like there was much of a relationship there between them. I have no issue with lesbian relationships, but in this story, I just felt like it was more of an obsession than a relationship.

Teddy: I really don't like him. But I think that is really the point, since he is a jerk. I think his character is well written to the point that I really dislike him.

Jeff: I didn't really like him much either. I thought he was a jerk a lot. Other than his relationship with Naomi, I didn't really care much about his character while reading.

Skags: She is Naomi's lesbian best friend back home. I felt like Skags had a very small part in the story. Especially since the only time she is there is when Naomi is calling her to complain about something. And how many times are we reminded during the course of the story that she is a lesbian? It felt like it was there any time she was mentioned.

So overlooking some of the issues I had with the retelling, I was able to read it and enjoy it a bit. It is not a book that I think I will ever re-read. But I don't feel like I completely wasted my time either. I am sad that I didn't enjoy the book more.

My Rating:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my blog and leave a comment! I read every single one and they make my day! <3