Mini Review: Great by Sara Benincasa

Posted August 28, 2017 in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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Mini Review: Great by Sara BenincasaGreat
Author: Sara Benincasa
Pages: 263 (Hardcover)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Source: Borrowed
Purchase: AmazonTBD (affiliate link)

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.

3 Stars

It’s been over a decade since I read and disliked The Great Gatsby, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued by this modern day F/F retelling. Great begins with Naomi heading to the Hamptons to spend the summer with her TV Chef mother. Naomi doesn’t exactly fit in there, so she’s not thrilled about another boring Summer, but this year it’s different. Fashion blogger, Jacinta, is renting the house next door, throws lavish parties, and takes the beach town by storm. But there’s something not right about her.

Great was a pretty good, quick read. I was a bit disappointed that Naomi is 100% straight, and it’s only Jacinta and Delilah who are queer. But I got so caught up in the drama of their friendship and relationships with each other and the other teens who summer nearby. Naomi befriends both girls, but Jacinta and Delilah spend most of their time alone together. Delilah’s boyfriend finds this suspicious and is out to ruin Jacinta. Naomi knows Jacinta isn’t all that she seems, but she genuinely likes her and doesn’t think she deserves the torment. Things just get out of control very quickly.

I don’t really have a lot to say about Great that won’t spoil anything. Although I’m sure you can all guess some of the shocks if you know the original. Like I said, it’s been awhile since I’ve read it, but I did enjoy this retelling a whole lot more. Gatsby came across as creepy to me, while Jacinta feels more sad. I wanted her to get the girl and live happily ever after! In fact, I was much more invested in her than I was in Naomi, even though this is all from her perspective. I’m just a sucker for spoiled rich people drama.

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