[ARC Review] Great by Sara BenincasaTuesday, April 08, 2014
Author: Sara Benincasa
Genre: YA Contemorary
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Harper Teen
Source: ARC received by publisher in exchange for an honest review
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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 want to preface this review by saying that I have NOT read The Great Gatsby and therefore I went into this book blind as to what to expect. That being said, I believe that my naivete towards to original story allowed me to enjoy this book that much more.
Naomi Rye, our narrator was a great character to introduce us to her world. I say that because she herself is an outsider and therefore sees things that other characters may not. What I loved most about Naomi's character was her growth throughout the book. She gets introduced to us as a city girl from Chicago who comes to visit her mother in the Hamptons. She hates everything about that life and what it represents, but we see her get influences by other through the story, and she really changes when she meets Jacinta, and I honestly believe that Jacinta's character changes the outlook of the entire story, and I loved that one character could shape so many others.
Even though I have not read or seen any of the movies of The Great Gatsby, I did realize that Great kept certain themes of the original, such as deception, obsessive love and grandeur from the original source. I loved that these themes were still present but put through a modern lens for a new generation to read. The things I think that surprised me the most were the things that I loved the most. The LGBT elements were a great surprise to me and I loved that even though they were subtle, they impacted every character in some way. It was these relationships that shaped the entire story.
Great was a surprise love for me, I was not expecting to love it as much as I did because I was not familiar with the inspiration, but honestly I think my naivete to the original was what pushed this book over the edge for me. I did not know what to expect and I loved that.