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Review: Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey
Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Hardcover (HARCOURT, 288 pages, $17.00)
ISBN# 0152063900
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 the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.
To improve 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.

Author Site: bethfantaskey.com

Dual Perspectives Kill the Chemistry (3 stars)

Jill Jekel is descended from THE Dr. Jekyll so it's no surprise she's a chemistry whiz. When her father is murdered and her mother is struggling to cope there's a large burden of responsibility put on her shoulders. Someone has to make sure the bills get paid. But when she discovers her college tuition was stolen by her father before his murder the only way she can possibly pay for school is by winning the grand prize in the Foreman Foundation's scholarship contest. When her teacher suggests she team up with Tristen Hyde and use the whole Jekel-Hyde story to their advantage she's willing to give it a shot but he shoots her down.

Tristen Hyde has been living in the shadow of his mother's mysterious dissappearance and his shrink father's strange behavior. He dreams of violent things and has had his eye on a certain bespectacled Miss Jekel. Protecting Jill from his dark side seems the safest option but when she explains why she needs his help he realizes there might be more to their teaming up than mere chemistry. Maybe they really can reproduce the solution that created the evil Hyde monster and cure Tristen of the big nasty he senses isn't too far off in his future.

I really, really wanted to love this book. I very much enjoyed Fantaskey's previous book and was anticipating another great teen romance. On the romance part she does deliver! There's some good chemistry (pun not intended) between Tristen and Jill. They are both physically attracted to one another and become very emotionally dependant on the other. It isn't flawless but it's entertaining. I'll be honest when I say that this is every geeky girl's fantasy scenario though. That smart, kinda nerdy girl no one notices heroine is noticed by the hot, athletic loner/bad-boy type. For that I would put this into more of the fluffy romance catagory.

What doesn't work for me and really ruined the story were two big issues. The main one is the dual perspective narrative. Maybe it's just me but I (with few exceptions) don't like books where you get the first person perspective of both the hero and heroine in alternating chapters. I find it annoying and sometimes it makes me have to back-up and double-check which one is "speaking". Jill's perspective alone would have been okay in this case but I think it made Tristen seem unreal in a bad way. Not to go far off topic but this style worked in Fantaskey's first book because the hero's perspective was written as letters to a relative which allowed his personality and mannerisms room to be seen and not told (if that makes sense). The other big issue I had was the science part of the story. I've never actually read the book this is inspired from, though I think most are familiar with the jist of that story, but I expected there to be more pseudo-science just for the sake of storytelling. I was looking forward to a little bit more experimentation that failed and that sort of thing.

For me this just wasn't as good as Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side, BUUUUUT I think Fantaskey has a lot more to offer her readers. I'd pass on this one unless the premise really interests you but I'll still be looking for the next title this author puts out with eagerness.

Other Reviews:
Jodi @ Amazon.com
Mark Flowers @ 101.com
Elise @ Reading Rocks

Notes: I received a review copy from the author (per my request).

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