Beth Fantaskey's debut novel, Jessica's Guide To Dating On The Dark Side
was one of my favourite reads of 2009. As you can imagine then, I was eagerly anticipating her sophomore effort. When I heard it was to be Jekel Loves Hyde
I was surprised (given how different it sounded to Jessica's Guide
), and now having read it I understand it much more. A blend of "what if the story was real?" and a case of history repeating it was not quite up to the standard that Jessica's Guide had set, but still quite an enjoyable read.
I enjoyed the altering (but uneven) first person narratives by Jill and Tristen. Both had really distinct voices and played off well against each other. While Jill's meek acceptance of everything was saddening, watching her journey forward made it better. Tristen, too, changes but as that is a stated goal it has a bit of a different emphasis to it. One seeks for something external to change what is inside, while the other requires a bit of poking and prodding to actually think about it. It was a very watchable journey though, with character development and science going hand-in-hand.
For the most part Jekel Loves Hyde
was incredibly well-paced and absorbing. When I finally was able to tear myself away from the pages - about three quarters of the way in - I was surprised to see that only an hour (for me) had passed. I was not trying to speed along (although I know I can), Jekel Loves Hyde kept going when it had to, and did not linger where it was not supposed to. After complaining that it seems a lot of YA books are padding things out with the most mundane of activities, it is very nice to read a book that does not do that.
What kept Jekel Loves Hyde
from reaching the full five stars was the last part. It almost felt like the book went, realised it was nearly at the end, went "Oops! I totally forgot about that" and then tried to cram it all in. With the emphasis on the back of the book being about bad-girl-Jill I was surprised to see that there was not as much as I thought there would be, and overall it did feel a little bit tacked on at times. This, combined with a very abrupt ending (which left me flicking back a few pages and rereading several times to check that no, I wasn't missing anything) left the book just a little bit lacking. I would not minded have minded more pages to cover this stuff - indeed I would have preferred it - but alas it was not to be.
A combination of chemistry of both the scientific and romantic kinds, Jekel Loves Hyde
did not quite stand up to the level of Fantaskey's debut but it was still an enjoyable read.