Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Title: Jekel Loves Hyde
Author: Beth Fantaskey
Publisher: Harcourt
Hardcover, 282 pages
Date Published: May 3, 2010

Description (Taken from Goodreads) 
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. 

Jekel and Hyde seem like a likely chemistry pairing, given who each of their relatives are, but the two have no interest in working together for a scholarship. That is until Jill Jekel discovers that her father has drained her college fund and Tristan Hyde starts to believe he may really be a monster on the inside. With a copy of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and a box full of the Dr. Jekyll’s notes on the experiment, Jill and Tristan begin working together to win the $30,000 scholarship and to save Tristan’s soul.
Late night experiments lead to more than just lab partner feelings and the monster within Tristan lusts for Jill just as much as he does. While Tristan attempts to kill his darker side, good girl Jill accidentally ingests some of their experimental solution. Goodbye good girl and hello bad girl. The darker side of life is a little more fun, a little sexier, and a lot more dangerous. Can Tristan save his soul and hold onto Jill? Or are these descendants doomed to a fate that their ancestors created?

I had been looking forward to this one since I had first read the premise of the novel. Having never read anything by Beth Fantaskey, I didn’t really know what to expect, writing-wise. Jekel Loves Hyde certainly lived up to my hopes though. The story is based around the famous Robert Louis Stevenson novella, but you don’t really need to know that story to understand this one. The chapters are told from alternating viewpoints through both Tristan and Jill. At times, this seems to make the characters less personable and almost disconnects us from them, but it also keeps the story moving. Still, this is not a fast-paced story. It is a character-driven, dark tale about the good and bad that reside within all people. The monster in Tristan can be violent and dangerous. That darkness within him is so palpable and richly described. You really feel like Tristan is more than just a pretty boy with a secret to hide. He is a tortured soul. From his eyes, to his voice, to his overall demeanor. Tristan has a monster consuming his soul.

Jill happens to be the complete opposite of him. Where Tristan is the consummate bad boy, Jill is a goody two shoes. At times, her good girl persona can border on annoying, but it helps to make her bad girl half that much more unnerving. Jill’s desire to be someone she isn’t leads to an entirely new character who I wished we saw more of. The story is a constant battle of the good and the bad within a person, but I think it would have been even more entertaining to glimpse more of that darker side of both Jill and Tristan.
Boy. Girl. Dark room. Nothing wrong with that scenario – except that we have our clothes on. ~ pg. 166
At times, you can feel the character’s desire to hold onto that darker side. It provides a release and unadulterated freedom that they aren’t able to hold onto otherwise.

Jekel Loves Hyde is not a fluffy love story. It is dark and filled with suspense, but the love story and the chemistry between Tristan and Jill is delectable. It’s not an in-your-face romance, so some may not connect with it instantly, but the slow build is what makes it so good. The ending is a bit abrupt and seems to close the story out too quickly, but this is still a very good read; if not for the romance, then for the twists and turns set to the backdrop of such a classic tale.

Opening line: I buried my father the day after my seventeenth birthday. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: Awful secrets were like bloodstains in my life. I knew enough about them to recognize them before they’d even been revealed. ~ pg. 193
3.5
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

And here is the book trailer that I made for Jekel Loves Hyde, which Beth happened to pick as a winning entry in her book trailer contest

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