Summary - 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 - Beth Fantaskey's debut, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, was a snarky and often amusing take on vampires. Fantaskey's sophomoric release, Jekel Loves Hyde, is a deeper exploration of a person's duality, familial and romantic love. Other than a mild supernatural theme and references to classic horror fiction, these titles are two different kinds of beasts. It's brave that the author has forgone the tone that saw her amass many fans and trying something different.
Jill is a loner, more interested in tolerating high school until she's finally out of there. She hasn't ever really experienced life due to her own hermit-ism and the sheltered existance of her parents. This all changes when her father is brutally murdered and Tristan offers some kind words when everyone else (including her depressed mother) switch off. While Jill ultimately undergoes the most change in this novel, it's Tristan who's the most interesting. Struggling with his own dual persona, a family legacy, he's struggling to grapple with an event in his past and a nightmare foretelling his future.
While the love story was an element of the story, it's the family element that is the strongest. How the sins of our forefathers can affect us generations later. How manipulative an obsessed individual can be against their own families. The nature of violence and how anger makes reason fly through the window. Jekel Loves Hyde is a completely different kettle of fish with it's dark introspection, heart pounding lust and mysterious overtones. It's a heavier read that really makes the reader take in the smaller details amidst the all encompassing emotions that swirl throughout.
I can't wait to see what Fantaskey comes out with next.
Published: May 3, 2010
Format: ARC, 288 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Source of Review Copy: publisher