Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absoluteespecially right and wrong.
Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for one reason: to win. The elite school recruited him after he argued his public school's debate team to victory last year, and now Bannerman wants that championship trophy. Debate is Banner's lifehis ticket out of scrimping and saving and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and a new, better future.
When he's paired with the prep school playboy everyone calls the Duke, Tanner's straightforward plans seem as if they're going off the rails. The Duke is Bannerman royalty, beloved for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and the strings he so easily pulls. And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.
As Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of the edge becomes addictive. A small favor here and there seems like nothing in exchange for getting everything he ever dreamed of.
But the Duke’s castle is built on shady, shaky secrets, and the walls are about to topple.
A contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, Katie A. Nelson’s taut debut is perfect for anyone who's struggled to survive the cutthroat world of competitive high school.
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Katie A. Nelson has always loved words and stories. A former high school English and debate teacher, she now lives in Northern California with her husband, four children, and hyperactive dog. The Duke of Bannerman Prep is her first novel.
What People are Saying About This
“A wholly original look at competition, success, and how well we can ever really know another person. The fresh, addictive Great-Gatsby-as-high-school-debaters retelling you never knew you were missing.” Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of Conviction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Having not read the original, I can't say as to how faithful it was, but going from the barebones of the original's story I know, it seems like it mostly stays true, except for the ending. Moving on - as a standalone contemporary novel about a boy who gets to attend a private prep school, and gets enmeshed in the schemes of the 'Duke', it lacks a good pace to the book. Most of it is about debate club, and the competitions they take part in, because Tanner's life revolves around it, and still, I couldn't understand most of the rules by the end. Tanner needs the club to win, and for him to be noticed and to be saddled with the flippant Duke seems an annoying task in the beginning, but Tanner soon realizes that the latter's charm and cunning more than makes up for him seeming casualness about all things academic. He slowly becomes friends with him, while also pursuing a romance with another of his teammates, and the tug between them, as well as his own wants drive the story. As for the ending, it leaves much to the reader's imagination, with Duke turning out to be a big mystery with few answers and also doesn't resolve Abby's thread. On the whole, this story could have done with more plot.
The best re-tellings for me stay true to the source material and also offer something new, interesting, and unexpected. Nelson delivers on all fronts! This book drew me in immediately, from Tanner's first experiences at Bannerman to meeting the Duke. At the heart of this story is something I think many of us can relate to - being so enamored by someone's charm that we forget flying so high almost inevitably results in a crash. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary, retellings, or heartfelt and powerful stories!
I read this book in one sitting and didn’t want it to end! I was immediately enamored by the setting: a private boarding school where the debate team serves as a way for the main character, scholarship recipient Tanner McKay, to prove he belongs among the wealthy elite. Heading this circle is the Duke, a school legend. The intrigue behind the Duke and the increasingly tough decisions Tanner’s forced to make as he’s drawn into the Duke’s orbit make this book a page-turner. But this is a fast-paced read with depth: I loved the endearing relationship between Tanner and his brother, and I felt like I was living each of Tanner’s choices (which also left me wondering, long after the last page, if I would have made them myself or chosen another path). A compelling and original retelling of The Great Gatsby, with plenty of emotional punch, THE DUKE OF BANNERMAN PREP isn’t to be missed. Five stars!
Listen, you tell me that there is a retelling of The Great Gatsby, and I'm already there. But I was hooked from the first chapter. This is exactly the kind of retelling I like best. It stays true to the emotional stakes and tone of the original while still feeling unique, original, and (best of all) page-turning. A level of intensity simmered beneath the surface of each page, almost like there was a timer counting down, and I was just waiting for it to go off. And when it did, I felt it. Tanner McKay was the perfect narrator for the story. He is an expert debater recruited from his public school to debate for the prestigious Bannerman Prep Academy. From the first chapter, Tanner’s motivations and thirst to prove himself, to be more and achieve more, are set up so well that what happens throughout the book has the right feeling of inevitability. Tanner remained someone I was rooting for throughout the story, and that sympathy I carried for him was essential to making the story work as well as it did. Kelsey, the love interest, was possibly my favorite character. She was fierce and feminine, sweet and brilliant. Those parts of her character served to make her the perfect match for Tanner. I love how she stood up for herself, called out crap when she saw it, and was so, so tender with Tanner’s brother. Those scenes stole the show (and my heart). As for the Duke. Oh, the Duke. I wanted SO MUCH MORE of him! But, and I hate that this is true, the story wouldn’t have worked if I were satisfied on all points. Because the way I felt is the way every character in the book felt: we all wanted more of the Duke. We all wanted to be the one person he trusted with his secrets. And we aren’t. Sigh. Still, if the author decides to write a novella from the Duke’s perspective, I will not object. Long review short, I loved this retelling so, so much. Five brilliant stars.
I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This is my first Gatsby retelling, and I’m not really disappointed. I didn’t like The Great Gatsby when I read it for school, so I was cautiously optimistic for this book. I can say that I liked this more than Gatsby. I thought both the high school setting and the debate team both helped create an authentic Gatsby feeling, and made perfect sense for the characters. But I didn't care for the characters, and found myself a little bored while reading (Likely due to my Gatsby apathy). Things I Liked : -High School setting. I feel like the high school setting really helped it feel like a Gatsby retelling. I could buy people creating this mythos around someone and holding them up on a pedestal, or trying to get in their good graces. I could also buy Andrew crafting his James Dean persona pretending to be something he’s not - something he wants to be, to have a better status symbol in a time in your life when you feel like status is everything. It was also really believable that Tanner would be envious of Andrew and tempted into his world. The high school setting helped the impulsive and dramatic actions of the characters seem more believable also. -Debate. I loved the debate aspect of the story purely for showcasing Andrew’s charismatic personality. It makes sense that he would be persuasive and charming, able to work a crowd and get others to see things his way. It was a perfect choice and worked very well. Things I didn’t like : -The Duke. Small personal issue, I hated Andrew’s nickname. I thought of John Wayne or people misquoting the Big Lebowski and not some mythic high schooler who had serious connections. It just made me roll me eyes every time I saw it. Where did the nickname even come from, did I miss that? If we had it's origins it might not have felt to dumb to me. -Characters. All the characters were unlikeable, and I’m pretty sure that’s the point. They are selfish and entitled and awful people. I don’t mind that the characters sucked, it just made it hard for me to care about what happened to them or to sympathize with them in any way. So I never got really invested in them or the story. -References. There were a few real world references (Twenty-One Pilots concert, World Series game) that just completely pulled me out to the story. There wasn’t anything wrong with them, they were well written and were used to show Andrew’s excessive wealth and influence, they just pulled me out of the story because I didn't expect them. -Scene changes. There are scene changes in the middle of chapters that are abrupt and you don’t denote time or location changes very well. It happens pretty frequently, but it’s not too disorienting that you can’t follow the story, it just interrupted the flow of the story. Not a bad reading experience overall, but not necessarily a memorable one. This was a terrific Gatsby retelling, I just wish I liked it more. I didn’t really care about the characters or what they were going through, so I never felt invested in the story, even though it was well executed. Would recommend for fans of The Great Gatsby and stories full of drama.