Great

( 4 )

Overview

Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother at her East Hampton home. And this year is no different. Naomi sticks out like a sore thumb with her Chicago accent and her Doc Martens, and she has no patience for the snooty sons and daughters of the mega rich.

But despite her reluctance to join the lavish social circle, Naomi is captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. The ...

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Great

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Overview

Everyone loves a good scandal.

Naomi Rye usually dreads spending the summer with her socialite mother at her East Hampton home. And this year is no different. Naomi sticks out like a sore thumb with her Chicago accent and her Doc Martens, and she has no patience for the snooty sons and daughters of the mega rich.

But despite her reluctance to join the lavish social circle, Naomi is captivated by her mysterious next-door neighbor, Jacinta. The extravagant parties Jacinta throws are the social events of the summer, and loner Naomi suddenly finds herself with not only a new best friend but a possibly-could-be-probably boyfriend. But Jacinta has her own reasons for drawing close to Naomi, and they include the beautiful and untouchable Delilah Fairweather, a family friend of Naomi's and Upper East Side royalty.

As the summer days slip by, Naomi discovers that 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/27/2014
Adult author and comedian Benincasa (Agorafabulous!) gives The Great Gatsby a biting, genderbent twist in her first book for teens. Standing in for narrator Nick Carraway is Naomi Rye (get it?), a quick-witted 17-year-old who is begrudgingly spending another summer in the Hamptons with her social-climbing, Food Network star mother. Naomi is more comfortable in combat boots than Ferragamo, but she’s quickly drawn into a glamorous world of parties and drama when she’s befriended by neighbor Jacinta Trimalchio, the enigmatic teenage founder of TheWanted.com, the fashion blog every girl wants to be seen on. While Naomi learns to enjoy the newfound attention, it becomes clear that Jacinta needs her to get to up-and-coming model Delilah Fairweather, the novel’s Daisy stand-in. In many ways, this is a very faithful retelling, and any readers who have completed ninth-grade English (or caught the recent Baz Luhrmann film) will have as much fun picking out the parallels and allusions as Benincasa clearly did creating them. And, yes, there’s even a green light on a dock—the charging dock for Jacinta’s laptop. Ages 14–up. Agent: Scott Mendel, Mendel Media Group. (Apr.)
Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Judith A. Hayn
Naomi Rye spends the school year with her dad in Chicago, where she hangs out with her BFF, Skags. She spends every summer with her mom, a Food Network superstar, in East Hampton, where her middle-class lifestyle and values make her an outsider. This summer, however, begins on a different note when she becomes enthralled in the drama that wealthy and mysterious Jacinta Trimalchio brings by moving into the mansion next door. Jacinta throws fabulous parties and is besotted with local debutante Delilah Fairweather, Naomi’s friend from past summers. Naomi unwillingly becomes part of the plan to captivate and woo Delilah, a sinewy, blonde, future model. Teddy Barrington is Delilah’s loutish, possessive boyfriend, but it is his buddy, Jeff Byron, who hooks up with Naomi for a summer of mindless partying, boozing, and drugging, uniting the five teens in an uneasy alliance. Is Jacinta who she says she is? Why does she pursue Delilah so relentlessly? A tragedy involving a local waitress and an emergency crisis at her mom’s company bring Naomi back to reality, along with texts and conversations with the ever-grounded Skags. This debut novel is another retelling of The Great Gatsby set in a contemporary backdrop that should engage teen chick-lit fans, as the author intersperses fashion and pop-culture insider terms to keep them on track. Reviewer: Judith A. Hayn; Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-29
Alas, this debut is anything but the titular great, though it could have been pretty good. Naomi feels at home in Chicago, hanging out with her best friend, Skags, and living with her father. So when she spends summers in the Hamptons with her mother, her ratty T-shirts and love of books make her an outsider. But this summer, things are different. She's actually friendly with Delilah Fairweather, senator's daughter and up-and-coming model. She's got her first boyfriend, the dorky yet popular Jeff. Things are good with her mother. And then there's Jacinta Trimalchio, fashion blogger and Naomi's next-door neighbor. She's mysterious and different, and Naomi likes her. But Jacinta has many secrets and one obsession: Delilah Fairweather. And that obsession will lead to scandal, an accident and death. This retelling of The Great Gatsby—especially with the "edgy" twist of a lesbian relationship between Jacinta/Gatsby and Delilah/Daisy—disappoints, as the story's original elements are good enough that riding Fitzgerald's coattails isn't necessary. Naomi's voice and character are engaging, and her relationships with Jeff and her mother provide plenty of fodder for a coming-of-age novel. The Gatsby elements are the weakest, from the character types to the plot. Read this for Naomi and try to forget The Great Gatsby. (Fiction. 12-16)
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—A reimagined, gender-bending The Great Gatsby set in modern times. Narrator Naomi Rye lives in Chicago with her dad but spends every summer with her mother, a Food Network star, in East Hampton. Usually, Naomi's summer social life is limited to a few parties that she attends with her mom. This time, the teen arrives to find that a new neighbor, Jacinta Trimalchio, has moved in by herself next door. Jacinta is known among rich Hamptons denizens as an infamous fashion blogger. She hopes to reconnect with Delilah Fairweather through her new friendship with Naomi. The fashionista hosts fabulous parties and eventually ignites a close relationship with Delilah. This is a story of indulgence, with teenagers consuming alcohol and drugs and driving while under the influence. A car accident in the climax scene closely parallels the original. Lies, gossip, and intrigue figure prominently in the plot. No new ground has been forged in this work, so stick with F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062222695
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/8/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 188,222
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Sara Benincasa

Sara Benincasa is the author of the recently published Morrow title, Agorafabulous! (which was based on her one-woman show). Sara has received much acclaim as a comedian and memoirist and is now turning to YA fiction.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I don't know how to start with this book because I seriously hav

    I don't know how to start with this book because I seriously have no feelings towards it. Great was such a weird book.. with the way the story progressed and the actual plot line. It is only 270 pages and almost 200 of those pages felt like a total filler for me. I was waiting for the actual point of the novel but I only really got there towards the end of the book when all hell and psychos broke loose. They are saying Great is a retelling of The Great Gatsby.. I was initially interested in checking out The Great Gatsby but I'm not sure I will right now because the storyline was seriously screwed up.. in a bad way. The main protagonist, Naomi is a child of divorced parents. Her mom lives in East Hampton ($$) while her dad is a high school coach. Every summer she spends it with her mom and this summer is no exception. She goes to East Hampton, meets Delilah and starts hanging out with her and Jeff, a guy who is interested in her. Then we've got Naomi's neighbor who seems to be creepily obsessed with Delilah, but for some reason everyone doesn't seem to notice it. We've also got Naomi's stereotypical homosexual friend, and literally every time she enters the picture we are reminded of that. Do we really need a reminder? I don't know why she didn't point out every time Jeff entered the picture that he is straight. I just don't get that. Also, I was not a fan of how everything went down the last 30 pages. There are 270 pages in this book.. why would the author do that? And Naomi.. Naomi was so annoyingly trustworthy and naive.. I disliked how she kept horrible secrets of people and wanted the bad person to redeem him/herself by confessing when we know that won't happen. Grr.. I really really disliked how everything was forced in this book.. from the 90210 luxurious life that we are always reminded of like "OOH this costs 5,000$, they are RICH" yes.. we get that.. the first 10 times it was mentioned to how all the characters seemed fake and stereotypical. I do not recommend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2014

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a re

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
    17-year-old Naomi is off to spend the summer in the Hamptons with her desperate-to-be-famous Mother, but is about to get more than she bargained for.

    Jacinta is the author of a popular fashion blog called ‘The Wanted’, and is renting the house next door to Naomi’s mother’s summer house. She’s nice, and asks to be introduced to Delilah – the daughter of one of Naomi’s mother friends, and also an up-and-coming model.

    Jacinta and Delilah seem to be becoming more than friends though, and Naomi isn’t sure how Delilah’s boyfriend is going to feel about that when he finds out.
    What secrets is Jacinta hiding though? What is going on between Jacinta and Delilah? And what happens when everything is revealed?


    This was an interesting YA tale of one girl’s summer in the Hamptons, and the ending was really surprising.

    Naomi was a simple girl, who cared about the things she cared about, and didn’t spend ages obsessing over trends, or trying to make people like her. Even though she didn’t really want to spend the summer in the Hamptons, or wear designer clothes, or make posh friends, she did it to make her mom happy, but didn’t lose her own morals and ideas in the process.

    I liked the storyline in this book. Initially I did wonder what the point was, but it was interesting to see the goings on of a group of teens in the Hamptons. When the big things started happening though, boy did they happen! The last 30% of this book was really surprising and good! And I really couldn’t wait to find out what happened.
    I felt really sorry for certain parties by the end of this book, and in a way it was really unfair that things ended the way they did. It was also a little disappointing that we didn’t have some kind of epilogue clearing up what happened legally, but I suppose the point was supposed to be about how things turned out socially rather than legally.
    Overall I enjoyed this book, and found it quite surprising compared to other contemporary YA stories.
    7 out of 10.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    I had high hopes for this novel. THE GREAT GATSBY is not my favo

    I had high hopes for this novel. THE GREAT GATSBY is not my favorite book by any means, but I do enjoy it and the various film interpretations that have been released. I was fascinated by this book from the time I first heard of it and finally decided to purchase it after reading the sample and falling in love. The sample was misleading.

    I've always believed that one should never be wholly positive or negative when it comes to a review of a piece of writing. Here's something positive to start out with: the book is a true, close homage to the source. Benincasa did a great job of following the Gatsby plot and carrying it out to the end (even though I personally had some doubt about the Gatsby figure's story in this tale - I never doubted what Jay did for Daisy in the original). The idea to set the story in the Hamptons and use rich teenagers is pretty fantastic as well. The setting was portrayed very nicely.

    As for what I did not like:

    1) too much product placement (did Marc Jacobs fund this novel?)
    2) too many pop culture references that absolutely will not age well - the author references CLUELESS, which is from 1995. It's from before most of the characters in this novel were born. Furthermore, while GOSSIP GIRL just ended in 2012 and was clearly an influence for Benincasa, it remains to be seen whether or not it will survive as a reference point for teenagers in years to come. (And, as a side note, I do not know a single 16/17 year old girl who would be interested in BOARDWALK EMPIRE, except for the one character who is, and referencing it did not make sense to me)
    3) the best friend at home in Chicago is a ridiculous butch-lesbian caricature that should have either been left out entirely or fleshed out a little better - I would actually have rather read about her story at home than about Naomi's. It was borderline offensive.
    4) I get the title, but I'm an adult with a literature degree. The title has absolutely nothing to do with the story on its own, which is a shame. It tells you right away that the novel's intending to ride happily along on Fitzgerald's coattails.

    Overall, I think that this could have been an excellent novel if the writer had put a bit more effort into making it her own and a little less effort into trying to point out how absolutely witty and connected she is. Instead of a modern retelling, we get a self-indulgent remix that succeeds in retelling the Gatsby story, but fails on its own as a standalone novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2014

    *MY THOUGHTS*

        Here's a little known fact abou

    *MY THOUGHTS*<br />
    <br />
        Here's a little known fact about me.... I'm not a huge fan of classics. But there are some that I do like, which are The Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. So of course when I saw this was a re-telling of Gatsby, I KNEW I had to read it. If not fr anything else, just because it was like Gatsby. <br />
    <br />
    &quot;Fitting in is overrated&quot;<br />
    pg. 149 (ARC)<br />
    <br />
        With that being said, this was a very solid re-telling. It followed the story almost to a tee. But in this one, it's modernized and there is something very different in this one as well. I think this is what I liked the most. Not only is it close enough to the original story to be a good modernized version, but it was also different enough to be a good re-telling and give Benincasa her own voice. <br />
    <br />
    &quot;I guess love, or whatever they were in, changes a person. Or maybe it just brings out their true nature.&quot;<br />
    pg. 169 (ARC)<br />
    <br />
        Which bring me to my next point. Yes it was distinct enough to give Benincasa her own voice, but to be honest, it wasn't 100% great. Really what kept me reading was the fact that I knew how Gatsby ended and I wanted to see how much she would keep the same. I think I would've liked it better had she made it a little more modernized. I know I was just praising her for making it a modern story, but really its the setting that's more modern. The actual writing stil felt like I was in the 20's/ Maybe it was supposed to be that was to help with the re-telling, but because it was in that type of setting, it just didn't work for me. <br />
    <br />
    &quot;My father told me once that people don't change- they just reveal more of who they really are.&quot;<br />
    pg. 201 (ARC)<br />
        As I said, I'm a huge fan of Gatsby, and I'm very happy to see that this version of the story is almost just as good. It has definitely made me want to re-read it. I really praise Benincasa on re-telling a timeless classic, something that so many people already love. <br />
     

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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