Jek/Hyde. Amy Ross. Mystery/Young adult/Retellings. 2017. 304 pages. 2 stars.
Are you really going to walk away? Or are you going to settle down and tell me what you want?
I received a review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.
Lulu and Jek are science nerds, and have been best friends since they were young…or at least they used to be. Lately Jek has been pulling away from Lulu, just as she’s coming to terms with how she really feels about him. Just as she was ready to see if there could be something more between them.
But Lulu’s thoughts are derailed by a mysterious new guy who’s showing up at local parties. Hyde is the definition of a bad boy, and everybody knows it…but no one can seem to resist his charms. Girls can’t stay away from him, and guys all want to be him. And even though Lulu’s heart belongs to Jek, she can’t deny Hyde’s attraction either.
She also knows that there’s something not quite right about Hyde. That the rumors of his backwoods parties make them sound a little more dangerous than what any of her friends are accustomed to. And she doesn’t like the fact that Hyde seems to be cozying up to Jek, and that they seem to be intertwined in ways that have Lulu worrying for Jek’s safety.
If Hyde has a dark secret, Lulu is determined to find out what it is, and to help Jek…before it’s too late for both of them.
This was one of my highly anticipated reads of this year because I absolutely love Jekyll and Hyde. I started reading the book expecting to be blown away but unfortunately, this book left me confused and disappointed.
Let me start with the characters. For one, the main character was very annoying! I hated reading from her perspective and having to read her thoughts because she was one of the most self-absorbed and nosy characters I’ve come to know. Not to mention, she was a hypocrite as seen in the narrative. Lulu had a very strong personality that may be a turn-off to many readers as was such the case for me.
The characters of Jek and Hyde were very confusing as well. While we understand Jek’s struggle as part of a biracial minority, it didn’t really fit well with how he interacted with Lulu, who often called out his race many times in the book. I understand that they’re friends, but I can’t deny that it felt a bit uncomfortable at times because it may border inappropriate especially for POC.
I also hated how Hyde was stereotyped as the kinky, sketchy, sex-craving, BDSM-lover type of a character. It was said in extra content that Hyde functions as a foil of Jek, as someone who has no worries or problems since Hyde literally has no past and/or background to follow him. I didn’t see this in the book. I only saw Hyde as an objectified piece of meat that functioned as Lulu’s forbidden fantasy.
Let’s talk about the plot. I honestly had no idea what was going on half the time. Because of this, I got bored and skimmed most parts. It felt like it had no direction until the latter half and even then, it still felt watered-down and dull. While I could see Amy Ross trying to replicate the original plot of Jekyll and Hyde in a modern contemporary setting, it didn’t work. It was just one big miss for me. However, Ross did make it a point to insert racial tensions into the plot, which was used as a catalyst at times. Jek’s nationality (half black, half Indian) was often the reason why the characters engaged with him and may have been the reason behind Hyde’s creation. Ross herself called Jek/Hyde a social critique, and I agree with her.
I’m very sad and disappointed to say that this book was such a big let down. I wanted a contemporary masterpiece but got something short of it. It’s unfortunate to see the story of Jekyll and Hyde be butchered this way.