Review: Great by Sara Benincasa

April 13, 2014 Review 13

GreatPages: 272
Publication Date: April 08th 2014 by HarperTeen 
Series: N/A – Stand Alone
Source: Harper Teen via Edelweiss

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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.

 My Thoughts & Review
The Hamptons is one of my favorite settings. I love the drama and the socialite lifestyle that comes with it so I knew I had to read Great. I had NO idea however, until MONTHS after adding it to my TBR that it was a retelling of The Great Gatsby. I had read The Great Gatsby years ago in high school, and while I didn’t dislike it, it wasn’t my favorites. I have since chalked that up to it being a required read and not being interested in the genre when I was younger because I when I think back to the story it’s something that I think I would LOVE now if I did a reread!

I really loved Naomi, immediately. I thought she was interesting and so was her backstory. I enjoyed that she didn’t fall head of over heels with the ultra rich lifestyle and even when she was welcomed into it, she still kept her values (for the most part) and true to herself. Her mother on the other hand was wretched. I didn’t dislike this family dynamic as much as other stories though and perhaps because it felt much more real to me than some are portrayed. Naomi and her father have a very close relationship and she lives with him full time, while spending the summers with her famous mother in the Hamptons. Her mother is not nurturing and cares more about how she is perceived to others than maintaining relationships. Jacinta is one of my favorite characters hands down. I loved her quirkiness and her genuineness. Naomi described her best, while she might have been a liar, or at least a major exaggerator, she was a good person. She just wanted to be liked and accepted and that alone made my heart ache for her.

The story was incredibly fast paced and really stayed along the same note as the original, so the retelling portion of the story was done very, very well. That being said, I kind of forgot that this WAS a retelling while I was reading it because it holds it’s own as well. It’s hard not to get swept up in the fascinating lives these teens have. I don’t want to give too much away, because if you haven’t read The Great Gatsby, several parts of the story will be a great surprise I think, and even if you have you may still be!

The ending made me so sad, so so sad. While I knew it was going to happen like that essentially, it made it no less sad. Despite it being the way I would have liked, it was still a great ending and I loved the final act.

Great is one of those books that you can just devour in a few hours. With the wonderful writing, the interesting characters and their scandalous behaviour it’s nearly impossible to put down. Not only is this a book that I definitely recommend, but it’s one that I will be personally adding to my shelves!

4 Stars


13 Responses to “Review: Great by Sara Benincasa”

  1. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    I seriously loved this book! I’ve actually never read Great Gatsby, but if this book is any indication of what the original is like, I will definitely be reading it in the future. This had such a Gossip Girl feel to it which I loved. I loved all the scandal, the secrets. The characters were amazing and the ending really did break my heart as well. 🙁
    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted..Review: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn HeasleyMy Profile

    • Lauren

      Rebecca, let me know when you are going to read it because I would love to do a reread! I haven’t read it in YEARS (ahem… maybe like 15, gosh… lol) and would love to read it as an adult! YES the Gossip Girl/Hamptons esque feel is what I loved as well. I have only JUST watched GG for the first time and I am so into that lifestyle right now! Oh my gosh, I knew the ending was going to be like that but it made me no less sad because I REALLY liked her!

    • Lauren

      Oh, definitely don’t pass it up next time! It’s so good, and PERFECT for summer 🙂 It has that lovely Gossip Girl vibe that I can’t get enough of lol.

    • Lauren

      I’m hit or miss with retelling’s so I was super surprised when this one exceeded my expectations 🙂 I’m so glad you liked it too!!!

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