Great by Sara Benincasa Book Review!

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Title: Great

Author:  Sara Benincasa
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★★★★
+Add to Goodreads

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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

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My Review: 

Great is a modern day retelling of the 1925 novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. A lot of retellings are usually on fairy tales or, less commonly, 19th century classics. What drew me to this is that The Great Gatsby, as a classic is still very young, only released in the last century.

A lot of people feel different ways about it, but I personally love the story for what it represents and how it still holds up in the modern age. As Jay-Z said in one of his songs for the soundtrack of the latest adaptation of the novel, history don't repeat itself, it rhymes.


I'm not going to go into the story or the themes because everyone knows it already. A critique of decadence, recklessness, hope and irresponsibility. I think that if you didn't like Gatsby, you won't like this novel. What can be said, however, is that the author understood the source material and expanded on it effortlessly. Benincasa kept the original 'skeleton' of the story intact and built on it and made the story feel unique and fresh, not a scene by scene rehash of The Great Gatsby but with iPhones.


I would say, if you like The Great Gatsby, check this out and if you never really connected with it or don't like it outright, I would skip it.


It's a good idea to read the original or what you're all probably going to do, watch the movie (which is amazing!) before you read Great. It adds to the experience and makes it extra special.


What did you think of Great? Did you love it as much as I did? Also check out my interview with the author of Great, Sara Benincasa where I ask her all about the process of writing Great and her future projects :)  



-Amanda Leon
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