08 July 2010

Book Review: Jekel Loves Hyde

Title:  Jekel Loves Hyde
Author:  Beth Fantaskey
Publisher:  Harcourt
Release Date: 3 May 2010
Date Finished: 2 July 2010

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

Challenges: 100+ Reading ChallengeYA Reading ChallengeHogwarts Reading Challenge,

The Short and Sweet of It
Jill Jekel and Tristen Hyde are thrown together in a chemistry experiment that could benefit them both. But while Jill's reward is money for college, Tristan's is something more personal and more dangerous. For Dr. Jekyll left a legacy beyond a great work of literature, a legacy which has the power to destroy those involved.

A Bit of a Ramble
First off, I can not get used to typing Jekel. Jekel. Not Jekyll. Seriously, my fingers have to be forced to type it J-E-K-E-L. While my left middle finger is trying for the 'e', my right pointer finger is simultaneously touching the 'y'.  Okay, now on to what you actually care about.

I sped through Jekel Loves Hyde, finishing it in one sitting. Throughout, I was entertained; although I can honestly say that the first part of the book was much more intriguing than the last. I think as time went on I was a bit annoyed by Jill's unclear motivations.

I didn't form a strong connection with either of the two main characters, Jill and Tristan, who take turns narrating the story.  I think I have very high expectations for multiple narrators; if the voices aren't completely distinct (a la The Moonstone), I go into eye-rolling mode.  Why have multiple narrators if they aren't going to be different? Outside of that, one other thing annoyed me.

At this point in the review, things may get a bit...  Well, you'll see. I have a question.  Why do some YA authors think it's sexy to have a boy almost rape his love interest? Or talk about how she must be careful around him or he might lose control and hurt her (yeah, I'm talking to you Twilight)?  Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for clothes-ripping, fist-clenching, teeth-scraping, intense passion - and it's pretty hot when the partners are equals.  But come one, unbridled passion is completely, utterly, and entirely different from rape.

But YA seems to think that guys are consistently teetering on the edge of control, and that girls are passive little receptacles designed to help them gain control through their virginal innocence and amazing capacity to forgive.  "Aw shucks hon, I know you didn't mean to slam me against that desk and keep going even though I was begging you to stop. It wasn't really you!"

I understand that in this book, Tristan really wasn't himself, but how does a girl initially fall for a guy who admits that a part of him wants to rape and kill her?  Maybe if they fell in love first when he wasn't a raging psychopath, and then he changed.  Maybe.  But I forgot. He's gorgeous.  And well, if a guy is gorgeous, we'll just forgive him anything.

Rant over.

Ultimately, I did not hate this book - despite indications from the rant above.  The premise is highly unique; I do so love reworkings of older stories.  I just wish Fantaskey (and other YA authors) found a way to inject her heroine with smarts and a backbone, which would be much more interesting than these silly little girls I keep seeing. If you like YA paranormal romance and quick reads, Jekel Loves Hyde is a solid choice.

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

This was another simultaneous review with Amy of Amy Reads!

Steph Su Reads; Laughing Stars; Wastepaper Prose; The Story Siren; Read This Book; Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf;

Question: Where are the strong, smart, sexually-confident YA heroines?


  1. I too had issues with the spelling! Very annoying! Oh, and I posted my review today as well :D I don't know how I didn't really catch on to that but you are right, he was a little much. Thinking back what bothered me most was that she had to change to really want it, know what I mean? As if girls don't normally want it. Sigh.

  2. I haven't gotten a hold of this one yet, though I've been looking forward to reading it. I really have to agree with you on this one...what is it with this all forgiveness of bad behavior.

  3. I just posted on Amy's review a comment similar to some of the stuff in here, or at least it had to do with breaking stereotypes. I don't get why all the guys in these have to be strong, rough, and bordering on violent, while the girl is beautiful and smart blah blah blah. I get so bored! I want to see a role reversal...

  4. It is the bad boy syndrome, don't ya know. Still I hate how that is glorified in alot of the YA out there. My reading of Twilight was one big eye roll session.

  5. Rape or almost rape isn't sexy at all. It's sickening. Glad you were able to enjoy the book for the most part.

  6. "Why have multiple narrators if they aren't going to be different?"

    So true! Collins does it better than anyone I can think of.

    And MORE of the girls-are-temptresses-and-boys-are-wild-beasts-dripping-with-ANIMAL-LUST-deep-inside myth?! Argh. *bangs head on desk repeatedly*

  7. This one is on my review shelf and I have seen some mixed reviews. I hadn't really thought about it until you said it here but you are right - the YA guys are strong and the YA girls... not so much.


  8. I am SO with you on your take on how male/female relationships are portrayed. I was thinking exactly the same thing as I read this book. Here's my review: http://laughingstars.net/2010/05/01/jekel-loves-hyde/

  9. Amy - *gasp* Of course girls don't want it! We must be cajoled into it you know. ;)

    Serena - Forgiveness is a wonderful thing, but I do think people should earn it.

    Amanda - I agree!

    Sandy - Aw, come on now. Bad boys make you want to scream in pleasure; it seems these boys make you want to scream in pain.

    Anna - I agree completely. It's like these authors don't understand the difference between violent passion and just plain violence.

    Ana - Collins definitely did do it better than anyone; I can still hear Miss Clack's voice inside my head, and I can feel Betteredge's.

    Sheila - I think YA authors need to meet some sexually-confident girls; they do exist. Then maybe they can make their female leads a bit more empowered.

    Stephanie - I wonder if YA authors were themselves sexually repressed, weak, too-nice girls? :)

  10. That's so true. And it's all being romanticized so that's what actually ends up happening with young adults -- they end up with guys who are jerks and will force them to do things, and they don't necessarily feel like they can or should do anything about it.

  11. Jenny - It's really quite sad. Girls have always liked bad boys, but it seems like the definition of bad boy has changed from a seducer to a rapist. Not a good shift.

  12. Really not sure if I will be picking it up. I know it's getting great reviews but so did Jessica's Guide and I had MAJOR problems with that one.

  13. Pam - Yeah, I have Jessica's Guide sitting on my shelves, but I'm not sure if I'll be picking it up after this one.


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