Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde

I just got back from the Mountains and Plains Trade Show in Denver and am really inspired to start reading and sharing new young adult book titles. With over eighty new books to read, I can't decide whether to start with sequels to popular series, new titles by authors I love, or new authors whose debut novels caught my interest. I can't believe I haven't blogged for a month, but I was out of town at the Telluride Film Festival and then the CU vs Cal game in Berkeley. Although I was still reading, working on my blog did not make it to the top of my To Do List. However, I'm back and excited about Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey, who wrote last year's terrific Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Darkside.

Jekel Loves Hyde updates Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which explores the duality of human nature. Good girl Jill Jekel is attending the funeral for her murdered father, and is shocked to see bad-boy Tristen Hyde in attendance. When he approaches her with words of comfort, she begins to wonder if there is more to him than meets the eye. Then their chemistry teacher suggests that the two should enter a chemistry contest which awards the winner with an impressive scholarship. Tristen, who believes that he is descended from the original Mr. Hyde, is desperately looking to find a way to destroy his evil side that he thinks is beginning to control him. Suspecting that Jill's father had been investigating the original Dr. Jekyll's infamous formula, Tristen talks Jill into breaking into her father's study, where she finds a mysterious old box filled with Dr. Jekyll's notes. Jill and Tristen team up to recreate experiments based on those in the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to help Tristen fight his violent urges. Then Jill accidentally tastes the new formula, which unleashes her dark side.

The alternating chapters told from both teens' perspectives allow the reader insight into the evolution of their growing romance, as well as the dual natures of their personalities. Paired with the original, this would be a wonderful Classical Connection for students to compare and contrast.