August 11, 2014

Great by Sara Benincasa


Great by Sara Benincasa
Series: N/A
Source: Bought
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
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.

The reason that I rated Sara Benincasa's Great three stars isn't because I didn't like it - in fact, it's just the opposite. But I ran into the same problems in this one that I did in the original one. Sometimes, the drama of this one (and the original) was just too hard to keep up with. It's not that they're bad reads, not at all... but sometimes they're just a bit too complicated for my taste.

I really loved the writing style of Great. It has the same elegant, descriptive narrative of the first one, but it was much easier to understand this time around. It was interesting to see the parallels of the story, but it was also interesting to see the differences. For instance, Nick was genderbent into Naomi, which honestly makes more sense. And then we have Jacinta, the female counterpart of Jay, who was just as over the top and weird as the original. And then, of course, we have Delilah... and I'm sure you can all guess exactly where that goes. It was really an interesting update, to say the least.

Naomi did a good Nick, and I feel like we got to know her better than we got to know Nick in the original. Her voice was a lot less disconnected. She was very even keel, and she wasn't annoying or anything - which Jacinta could be. It was nice that she balanced out.

As for Jacinta, I really don't know exactly what to say about her character. It was obvious that she was Jay, but her personality was a bit different, and truly a lot more twisty. Not to mention the fact that she's obviously a girl, but... her and Delilah end up being in a relationship, and it was a bit confusing.

Great mostly follows the original plotline of The Great Gatsby, but there are a few new twists here and there. All in all, I'd say that it was an interesting enough read; and I'd definitely recommend it if you enjoy the original story.


  1. I've read this book 3 times, and the second time I was extremely confused as to why Gemma was friends with those girls, especially Felicity. What a brat! I didn't feel that way about her "friends" on the first read or the third read, strangely. NO idea why, haha.

  2. I hope three times means you liked it, though! :)

    It's possible its because you've been on "different places" at those times. Like, since reading the book the first time you've read other books (I assume) that made you look differently at the content. Or, you were just really IN the book that only the second time, when you were looking at it from a standpoint of someone who knows whats going to happen, you were free to look at it from a different angle :)

    Regardless, I actually think it's a beautiful thing to read a book several times and see it differently each time!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read & comment Renae!

  3. I know how it feels like to be terribly disappointed by a book written by a great author.After all,expectations can be a bad thing,sometimes.
    I've never read a book by Libba Bray,both this book and The Diviners are in my TBR.Maybe I should just omit this one and go for the latter

  4. I find that expectations are almost ALWAYS a bad thing HAHA They are rarely met, after all...
    I think the Diviners is just AMAZING and I so hope you'll like it!