You know school has a lot of required reading. Lots of Shakespeare is thrown at you from all directions. The classics that you would never consider picking up yourself, are suddenly being shoved in your face. Well, The Great Gatsby is definitely one of those classics! I was required to read it this past year for my English course and while I don’t always enjoy required reading, I did enjoy this book. It wasn’t “OMG…this is awesome!”, but it wasn’t “OMG just kill me now!” either!
So when I found out that there was going to be a book loosely based on the events in Gatsby but set in a Prep school, I was like “Yes, sign me up!”
The Duke of Bannerman Prep by Katie A. Nelsom
Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absolute—especially right and wrong.
Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for only one reason: the elite school recruited him after he brought his public school’s debate team to victory last year. Bannerman wants a championship win. Debate is Tanner’s life—his ticket out of his poor-as-dirt life and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and the start of a new, better future.
But when he’s paired with the Duke, his plans for an easy ride seem as if they’ve hit the rails. The Duke is the quintessential playboy, beloved by everyone for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and seemingly effortless favors.
And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.
But as Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of existing on the edge becomes addictive. A small favor here and there seems like nothing in exchange for getting everything he ever dreamed of.
But the Duke’s castle is built on shady, shaky secrets, and the walls are about to topple down.
A contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, Katie Nelson’s taut debut is perfect for fans of John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Kate Brian’s Private series, and anyone who’s encountered the cut-throat world of competitive high school.
- Tanner is 10000000x better than Nick Carraway. (You have no idea!) He is super flawed, but still such a sweet heart, except in the times I wanted to stab him. (Especially when he was being spineless!)
- Kelsey all the love to her, the perfect Jordan! She took BS from no one, I loved her. I wish we got to know her a little bit more though!
- Abby = B*t*h, except when she was helping Sam.
- Blake = Bigger B*t*h. He irked my soul!
- Sam (Tanner’s brother) is a character with Cerebral Palsy, something I haven’t read in YA before.
- The Duke was a very interesting Gatsby, I really liked his suave, mysteriousness. The cockiness was rather annoying, but classic Gatsby so can I really complain?
- The setting of the boarding school was great, it showed all the privileges and perks of living in one. It stayed true to the aristocratic scenery from the original GG. Also showed how rich kids can be rats!!!!!!!!
- The retelling aspects were solid, I could see the similarities but also the differences. It was the complete story, save maybe one or two characters from TGG who took a less important role.
- The Debate Games totally spoke to the nerdy nature of Nick/Tanner! It wouldn’t make sense to make him a jock if he hates jocks!
- Also Debate is cutthroat. I’d be wayyyyyyy too shy to even try to talk and battle people with words. It. Is. Intense!
- The point in the book where I hated all the characters (Oh yeah, it happened)
- The ending was so mellow. Just mellow. No wow! No being blown away. It was a good ending just not a great one.
- Must I continue saying the smooching factors were at an all time low? (Although I wasn’t too focused on Tanner’s romance…)
Overall, It was a great book! I can’t ask for a sequel because well…it just doesn’t need one! I thought the Gatsby aspects tied in very neatly with the story’s own uniqueness. I was just hoping a little more from the ending! It was good and I really liked how the author played with it consider the Gatsby ending is not that great! I just want more!
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Recommend: Yes, for those looking for a intriguing twist on a renowned classic!
Well this turned out to be a rather long review! Let me know your thoughts! Have you read this, did you enjoy it? What classic would you love to see a retelling of?