Author: Sara Benincasa
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for this ARC!
DISCLAIMER. I have not seen or read The Great Gatsby in any form so don’t hate me or think I’m lame or ~uneducated~ or whatever. It was just never something that was forced upon me in school and never something that I felt the need to read on my own. THAT SAID I cannot compare this to the original so I have NO IDEA how it holds up as a remake. This review will be about this book and the story that I read ALONE.
I love ‘rich white people problems’ books. I love ‘ugly-pretty-people’ books. I love especially love ‘tragic, dramatic, rich teens with rich people problems’ books. So this was perfect for me. DON’T ASK ME WHY I LIKE WHAT I LIKE I JUST DO. So this fit the bill. A normal girl from Chicago with a super rich, famous mom who lives in the Hampton’s, goes to spend the summer there just like she does every year. Naomi kinda hates her mom and the life she leads and the people she’s around. But this summer is different. Next door to Naomi’s mother’s house lives Jacinta, a gorgeous young blogger who blogs about the rich and gorgeous teens of Manhattan. And Jacinta drags Naomi into her world with hugs and kisses and lies. Naomi usually avoids these people all summer, hanging out in the fringes, pretending to get along, just to get it all over with. But this summer she joins their fun, their parties, and even their scandals until, of course, tragedy strikes.
This book is short, but the pacing is perfect. There are just enough parties, just enough drama, just enough sweet moments and sad moments and heartbreaking moments. I ate this up like bad reality TV. I never really LIKED any of the characters, but they all served their purposes. And I did like Naomi. I’ve seen a lot of reviews bashing her for slut-shaming, but I never really saw it. I saw a typical girl-out-of-water reacting to her surroundings. And she called others out on their bad behavior, which I really liked. I also liked her best friend, who is depicted as a ~stereotypical butch lesbian~ but I think it worked. I think these types of things are difficult to write because you have to be so damn PC all of the time and then if you’re TOO PC you get accused of stereotyping. So yes, Skags was a bit of a stereotype, but I thought she was also balanced out enough that she WASN’T at the same time. And I liked how Skag’s kinda acted like Naomi’s conscience whenever Naomi’s own moral compass started to spin in the wrong direction.
I also really enjoyed the fashion blogging aspect of this book. I used to be a fashion blogger and sometimes I really miss it. The way that blogging was used in this was pretty well done and I liked the ending, it seemed to fit Jacinta’s character very well.
This reminded me a bit of We Were Liars in subject matter and tone. So I think if you enjoyed that book you’ll like this. I actually almost didn’t read this because I had no interest in The Great Gatsby, but I decided to pick this up at the last minute and I’m SO glad I did. Def. don’t let this pass you by if you like scandalous stories about the rich and famous.