Author: Beth Fantaskey
Release Date: May 3rd, 2010
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.
What happens when two polar opposites team up for a chemistry experiment that seems destined for them in order to solve a multi-generational mystery and a sudden murder? You get Jekel Loves Hyde, the part murder mystery, part romance, all-around exciting modern take on the classic The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
I've always loved classic stories and fairytales, so I've always been intrigued by modern retellings. The contemporary interpretations and twists authors come up with for stories I've been hearing my whole life never cease to amaze me. Each retelling brings something different to the table, and in the case of Jekel Loves Hyde, it's a gripping premise and a spine-tingling mystery.
While the romance in the novel fell a little flat for me and is definitely not the winning aspect of the story, the mystery more than makes up for it. It's well-paced, and as the story progresses, subtle hints are given out, enough to entice the readers to read on, but not enough to make the story predictable. It was definitely my favorite part of the story- I did not want to put the novel down because I so desperately wanted to unravel the secrets clouding the lives of the two main characters!
The characterization in this novel is another thing that gives it an edge. Fantaskey successfully shows the contrast between the characters of Jill Jekel and Tristen Hyde, making them possess the qualities of the original Jekyll and Hyde, but still convincing modern-day Pennsylvania high school students. Jill is quiet and geeky, while Tristen is this brooding, commanding presence. I'm not entirely convinced by the chemistry between them, but they're both strong, well-developed characters. They go through a lot of transitions throughout the progression of the story, and through them all they remain strong, and always appropriate for the given situation.
Secretive and exciting with splashes of edge-of-your-seat action, Jekel Loves Hyde is an enjoyable read that will appeal to those who love a good, solid mystery. I wouldn't label it as a favorite of mine, and I enjoyed Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side a little more, but I undoubtedly liked it, and I do think it is worth the read. Evidently, Fantaskey is a talented author, and I cannot wait to read more of her work.