April 2, 2014

Latest Read: Great by Sara Benincasa

Here are the basics ...
Great by Sara Benincasa
Publication date: Apr. 8, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary / Retelling
Source: Received via Edelweiss from publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
The good
Great is a contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, a book most high schoolers have to read and honestly, I didn't like very much. But Sara Benincasa's version? I couldn't put it down! It's a very fast read that got more addicting with each passing chapter. The narration of main character, Naomi Rye, certainly helped as her voice was sharp and engaging. She's a genuinely nice person who finds herself suddenly belonging with the socialites of East Hampton and no one is more surprised by this turn of events than her. Although her mother, head of a rising baking empire (think Martha Stewart) is extremely pleased and for the first time, Naomi doesn't mind spending her summer vacation in the Hamptons with her mom.

At first, Naomi thinks this summer will suck like every other summer has in the past. But when her mom encourages her to be friends with socialite and up-and-coming model Delilah Fairweather, it turns out she's actually nice. She invites her to hang out, introduces her to a cute guy named Jeff who seems to be into her too. And while these two start to pull her into the fold of rich kids, it's her friendship with Jacinta, the next door neighbor, that cements it. Jacinta runs a famous fashion lifestyle blog and is renting the house next door to Naomi. When she throws her first big party of the summer, Naomi is invited and they become friends. But it's clear Jacinta is very interested in the connection Naomi has to Delilah. Jacinta has a bit of a.. fixation, for lack of a better word, on Delilah. All things get revealed in due time and let me tell you, the craziness starts when these two characters meet.

Naomi is a smart girl and even though she's delegated to the background of their little trio of friendship, she sees what's going on with them and with the other rich kids in their circle. She may be starting to fit in and enjoying some new pretty clothes, but I like that deep down, she still knows who she is and the kind of person she wants to be. Her character goes through a lot in this book between the drama with her friends and the strained relationship with her mother (which was a whole other crazy but kinda sad story). It was interesting to watch Naomi navigate between her life in East Hampton and her life back home (with her father and best friend who we "meet" mostly through phone calls and Naomi's anecdotes).

(No) reservations
If you're familiar with The Great Gatsby, then you'll have an idea of how things may end but that didn't detract from the urgency of seeing how it would all unfold. At least, it didn't for me.

Do I recommend?
I do! I wasn't sure what to expect from this re-telling but I really enjoyed it.



Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What kind of party would you throw?
You see this picture to the left - this Breakfast at Tiffany's themed party? This is the kind of party I would throw! Maybe it's a little cliche but I've already professed my love for all things Audrey Hepburn and this was the first idea that popped into my head. I just love that Tiffany blue color and I feel like there's so many fun things you could do with this theme. And it's a great excuse to buy a little black dress, pearls and heels. Three things I love!
(Photo credit)

1 comment:

  1. I hope I have an invite to that party, because it sounds awesome! Can you believe I haven't seen any Hepburn film in full? I think I should remedy this. ANYWAY. I loved your thoughts on Great! Pretty much exactly how I felt about it as well :)

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