Great by Sara Benincasa
Release Date: April 8th, 2014
HarperTeen, 263 Pages
Source: eARC from Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!)
Age Group: Young Adult (drug and alcohol use)
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.
While a little over the top with brand names of various shoes, clothes, and bags – I thought Great by Sara Benincasa was a good, modern, and faithful retelling of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Maybe this book resonated with me because I started reading it on my way back from a vacation in the Hamptons. The descriptions and images really clicked with me since I had just been there myself and I could really immerse myself into the story. But even for readers who weren’t just coming back from the actual setting or who have never even been to the Hamptons, I think the story will come alive. There is minimal use of dialogue in the book, which gave more room for descriptions. And it gave the main character more time to talk about the other characters.
And she does give her thoughts on the other characters – a lot. But that’s just it, isn’t it? Her thoughts and opinions on these other people, who are complicated. I kept trying to look at them from outside of Naomi’s perspective – but it was hard! There were characters like I liked, characters that I disliked, and characters that I just felt bad for. And I really enjoyed seeing how all these different threads were connected to Naomi’s life – just a reminder that you never know how much someone has going on in his/her life.
Fans of The Great Gatsby should pick this one up!