Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Book Review: Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey


Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents’ rules – especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father’s office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, this good girl is tempted to peek inside, because the contents just might be key to winning a lucrative chemistry scholarship.

To better her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen’s sanity. Maybe his life. As things heat up in the lab though, Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and will compel her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.


A surprisingly simple premise, Fantaskey does a phenomenal job creating a modern Jekyll and Hyde. The explanation of how these families came to be is fantastic yet clear and easy when explained. Despite this basic level, this book keeps the reader involved and thinking, providing humor and entertainment in the midst of the events.

Jill is a smart and clever girl, focusing on her studies and flying mostly under the radar at school. Though her best friend is one of the beautiful, popular girls, she doesn't fall into that category. Despite this, she is not a mundane or boring character, offering surprising insights to both Tristen and the world in general. She is someone the reader can empathize with and someone who, while she does have her moments of bravery, also harbors moments of pure weakness mixed in with those of subtle fearlessness. Her reactions, while not always consistent, are understandable and explained each time and she develops beautifully throughout.

Tristen, as implied by the simple connection they hold merely due to their names, compliments her in surprising ways. He also is a strong character despite his violent side- one he tries to fight and certainly sparks a debate about his nature and relationships with a "violent person". Despite the violence, Jill tends to stay with him and support him but can he truly be at fault when it is something inherent and beyond his control? What about if he doesn't choose to remain violent but has no control over it? In small doses, this notion is brought forth throughout the book, sometimes in surprising ways. Tristen shifts between being frustrating and possibly even terrifying to being tender and sweet and someone any girl could fall for. He has a nonchalant, laid back air about him though his other sides are also shown.

Written in alternating perspectives, Fantaskey gives the reader direct insight into both the minds of these two characters- in their good times and their bad. She weaves the switches together smoothly, never leaving the reader behind or feeling as though something was missed. Secrets are still kept and the mystery builds despite a wider range of view and Fantaskey's writing is fluid and practiced. Though the overall style remains the same between the first person perspectives, each character's personality and habits come through strongly.

The pacing throughout is steady with few places where it seemed to lag. Secrets are unfurled and there are several unexpected twists scattered throughout, leading up to a thought out and fantastic ending. At the close of this book, the reader will be left with conflicting thoughts despite a comfortable feeling and though the outcome might seem obvious, it takes on surprise in its own way and is not entirely predictable.

Source: ARC Received for review from author/publisher
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (May 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0152063900
ISBN-13: 978-0152063900

Author's Website
Read the Prologue

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  1. I've seen this on Amazon and loved the title and concept but wondered if it was any good. Got my answer now! Can't wait to read it!

  2. I love the title of this book. Great review. =)

  3. Thanks for the review. I liked her other book--I'll definitely give this one a read.

  4. Nice review babe! I'll be reading this one soon, can't wait!

  5. I'm excited to see you liked this book. I'm getting ready to read her first one here in the next few weeks, and thought this one sounded even better!

  6. So glad you enjoyed it! SO excited for this one. I've seen a few disappointed reviews, so glad to see someone enjoyed it :)

  7. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one! That means I will too XD.