Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (3.75/5 stars)
Synopsis: 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, she’s tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be key to 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. But Jill’s accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything – even Tristen’s love – just for the thrill of being… bad.
Review: I was lucky enough to get an ARC for Jekel Loves Hyde a few months before the release and needless to say was very excited to read it. I was initially attracted to the synopsis and the very attractive cover. The plot was wholly fascinating and unique; I kept reading it because I wanted to know the ending. Jekel Loves Hyde explores the classic story in a whole different way. In Jekel Loves Hyde, the characters are descendants of Jekel and Hyde and apparently, the story of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was based on “a true story”.
Despite the somewhat original plot, I still found the romance similar to those ‘girl falling for bad boy’ romances. Even though Jill knew that Tristen was not exactly a good guy (who may be harboring a big secret), she still fell for him. I found that too predictable, and the first thing that came to my mind was “haven’t we seen this before?”. No I won’t mention that book. The course of true love never runs smooth, there are obstacles throughout the book that prevent Jill and Tristen from truly being together.
Fantaskey’s writing was excellent, however. The alternating chapters were well-done and not choppy. I think I preferred Tristen’s chapters over Jill’s. It’s good to see what is going on in his mind; it gave his character some depth and insight. Unfortunately, I felt that the alternating chapters affected the character development, and I feel that the book could have been so much better if some chapters were longer. It also hindered the believability of the story as Jill’s reasons for her actions were not able to win me over.
The ending was way too anti-climatic. I hate hate hate it when the character blacks out in the middle of a fight scene and then wakes up a few hours later and slowly try to recall everything. It happens in certain books and it happened here. By doing this, the story’s momentum, which was initially going full speed ahead, suddenly comes to a stop, as if it crashed into a brick wall and lost all of it’s kinetic energy. (Oh dear, I’m talking physics now?) Only the not-so-picky readers will not be bothered by this. But it’s not just that. The ending was absurdly unrealistic and awfully cheesy. Think Perfect Chemistry.
Despite it’s faults, I still throughly enjoyed the novel because I adore Fantaskey’s writing. I’ve yet to read Fantaskey’s debut yet so I cannot compared both books but from what her fans have been saying, they prefer Jessica’s Guide. Still, Jekel Loves Hyde will appeal to fans of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Evermore by Alyson Noel and Bree Despain’s The Dark Divine.