The Summer We Read Gatsby

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Overview

Half-sisters Cassie and Peck could not be more different. Cassie is a journalist with her feet firmly planted on the ground; Peck is an actress with her head in the clouds. In fact, the only thing they seem to have in common is their inheritance.

Fool's House is a broken-down home in the Hamptons left to Cassie and Peck by their Aunt Lydia, a house that she decreed they must share. But Cassie and Peck can't afford the place, and they can't agree on what to do with it. Plus, ...

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The Summer We Read Gatsby

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Overview

Half-sisters Cassie and Peck could not be more different. Cassie is a journalist with her feet firmly planted on the ground; Peck is an actress with her head in the clouds. In fact, the only thing they seem to have in common is their inheritance.

Fool's House is a broken-down home in the Hamptons left to Cassie and Peck by their Aunt Lydia, a house that she decreed they must share. But Cassie and Peck can't afford the place, and they can't agree on what to do with it. Plus, along with the house, they've inherited an artist-in-residence and self-proclaimed genius named Biggsy who seems to bring suspiciously bad luck wherever he goes. Cassie and Peck try to figure out their Aunt Lydia's puzzling instructions to "seek the thing of utmost value" in the house, but as summer comes to a close, they seem no closer to coming to a decision.

The Summer We Read Gatsby is filled with fabulous parties, tempting romances, eccentric characters, and insider society details. It's a sparkling novel that showcases Danielle Ganek's pitch-perfect sense of style and wit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ganek’s wispy story unfolds a tad too slowly for the audio medium; listeners may find their attention wandering as they wait for the slim plot about two sisters, an old house, and a missing painting to pick up the pace. But Justine Eyre’s delightful narration provides ample reason to tune in: she switches back and forth from practical Cassie to melodramatic Peck, from proper Englishman Hamilton to Scottish-burred Scotty, all with authentic voices, without missing a beat. Her lively performance injects much needed energy into the proceedings and makes this audiobook an enjoyable listen. A Viking hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 12). (June)
Publishers Weekly
Two half-sisters search for the “thing of utmost value” in an inherited ramshackle Southampton cottage in Ganek’s witty new novel (after Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him). The story is narrated by introverted, newly divorced, would-be writer Cassie, but the flamboyant center of the story is her older half-sister, Peck, a theatrical socialite determined to “bring out” her sister while thwarting Cassie’s sensible plan to sell Fool’s House, the cottage they’ve jointly inherited from their eccentric aunt Lydia. As they wonder whether the house’s treasure is a Jackson Pollock painting, a first edition of The Great Gatsby, or a family secret, the sisters’ contrasting personalities clash in hilarious ways. During a summer marked by parties that recall both the artsy milieu of Pollock and the posh extravagance of Gatsby, the two sisters run into long-lost loves, strange neighbors, aggressive real estate agents, and charming artist hangers-on as they ponder the legacy of their beloved Aunt Lydia and their relationship to each other. Even though many of the novel’s revelations can be seen a mile away, getting there is a fun, witty, and surprisingly moving trip. (June)
Library Journal
Cassie and Peck are half sisters reunited when their aunt wills them her summer cottage in the Hamptons. Cassie is meek and grounded; Peck is an impetuous wannabe actress. When the sisters take over the home, long used as an artist's refuge, they learn about each other's quirks as well as discovering some of their own. VERDICT A beach read for the literary set from the author of Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him.
Kirkus Reviews
Half-sisters reconnect with each other, and with Mr. Rights from their pasts, during the summer of 2008. Their Aunt Lydia, sister to the father who left Peck's mother for Cassie's, has bequeathed her rickety shack in Southampton to the two young women. "The situation," Peck declares with her usual drama, "is that you and I can't agree on anything." Cassie wants to sell Fool's House and head back to Switzerland, where she works desultorily as a journalist. Peck, a would-be actress living in New York, wants to hang onto the house as an accoutrement to the ultra-fabulous lifestyle she aspires to. She also wants to accept an invitation from Miles Noble, who broke her heart seven years ago, the summer she obsessively read and reread The Great Gatsby and pressed it on 21-year-old Cassie, who'd never read it. Surely it means something that the now fabulously wealthy Miles is throwing "a GATSBY party" and has invited them? Cassie, more sober than her flamboyant semi-sibling, doubts it but agrees to go in hopes of finding architect Finn Killian, who might know the combination to Aunt Lydia's locked safe. The guy she remembers as a distant older man turns out to be a sexy charmer, though Cassie is convinced against all evidence that he's "just being polite" as he pursues her throughout the summer. Peck, meanwhile, is dismayed by the vulgarity of Miles' ostentatious mansion, but comes to appreciate his sterling qualities as the season winds down with hints of the economic meltdown to come. There's absolutely no suspense about narrator Cassie ending up with perfect Finn, though she's amazingly obtuse about his interest, and Peck is made up of attitudes and tics rather than actual personality traits. Still, Ganek (Lula Meets God and Doubts Him, 2007) provides enough zippy one-liners, moderately vivid party scenes and adequately attractive descriptions of clothes to sustain a paper-thin plot involving a missing painting and an unwanted houseguest. Agreeable, predictable and forgettable.
From the Publisher
"Even though many of the novel's revelations can be seen a mile away, getting there is a fun, witty, and surprisingly moving trip." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670021789
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/27/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author


Danielle Ganek is the author of the critically praised Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him and a former editor at Mademoiselle and Woman's Day magazines.

Justine Eyre is a classically trained actress who has narrated over two hundred audiobooks. With a prestigious Audie Award and four AudioFile Earphones Awards under her belt, Justine is multilingual and is known for her great facility with accents. Her recent television credits include Two and a Half Men and Mad Men.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(8)

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2010

    A delicious summer sundae without the guilt!

    The Summer We Read Gatsby is absolutely one of the must reads of the summer! I devoured it like an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day! It is such a delicious page turner and sprinkled with wit. Every reader can identify with the stacked themes of love, family, and relationships which are loaded like scoops of ice cream. Each with their unique flavor yet melting into such a rich story. The intertwined mystery just swirls like caramel sauce so smoothly throughout the story building up to the climax. And the ending is just like the cherry on top! What a delightful treat! It totally hit the spot and I can wait for more.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    An entertaining read

    An entertaining read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I really enjoyed this book, great characters and a fun setting.

    I really enjoyed this book, great characters and a fun setting.  Loved the relationship between the sisters.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    Add this to you summer reading list

    What an entertaining journey this story provides. The author is especially skilled at solid characterization, as well as creating a beautiful setting and an interesting plot. Give this book a try. You will want to read more by Ganek.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2012

    Really liked this book

    I'm surprised it doesn't have more stars recommending it overall. I love this story, it is quirky and poignant and entertaining all at once.

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  • Posted October 10, 2010

    Don't bother

    From the very beginning of this book I was just waiting for something, anything, to happen. Everything about it was predictable. The characters were uninteresting and the storyline was boring. It was not worth my time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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