Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absolute—especially right and wrong.
Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for only one reason: the elite school recruited him after he brought his public school’s debate team to victory last year. Bannerman wants a championship win. Debate is Tanner’s life—his ticket out of his poor-as-dirt life and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and the start of a new, better future.
But when he’s paired with the Duke, his plans for an easy ride seem as if they’ve hit the rails. The Duke is the quintessential playboy, beloved by everyone for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and seemingly effortless favors.
And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.
But as Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of existing on the edge becomes addictive. A small favor here and there seems like nothing in exchange for getting everything he ever dreamed of.
But the Duke’s castle is built on shady, shaky secrets, and the walls are about to topple down.
A contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, Katie Nelson’s taut debut is perfect for fans of John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Kate Brian’s Private series, and anyone who’s encountered the cut-throat world of competitive high school
My Rating:4/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve never read The Great Gatsby, but this book has made me a little curious. Supposedly this is supposed to be a Gatsby retelling but I have no idea if that’s an accurate description. Retellings aside, this was a highly enjoyable book that I couldn’t put down. Any book involving rich kids and how fucked up they are is bound to have me intrigued. Plus it’s set at a boarding school so it was a sure win and I wasn’t disappointed. This book managed to be entirely clichéd while also having it own little quirks.
I loved how they incorporated debate in the whole story and it’s something I’ve never really seen in a book or movie before. I can’t say that I learnt a lot because I’m still really confused and I never realized how complicated debating was but a little light was shed on the subject which was cool.
I absolutely loved reading about the mystery surrounding Duke and it was really interesting to see our main character’s,Tanner,downward spiral as he became emanoured by the duke’s life of glamour. Also the ending…. I wanted to know so much more than what we got but I understand why that was the way the author decided to go.Honestly this would be a great movie-like a indie teen film or something like that-
For the most part I wasn’t the hugest fan of any of the characters. At first I liked Tanner but then he did some pretty unforgivable things and I understand why he did them, I just felt a little uncomfortable about reading them. He was also a huge ass when it came to his brother’s autism and said things like “sometimes I wished he was normal.” and while he didn’t really mean it it was still kind of dickish.
Speaking of his brother’s autism. I’m not sure how to feel about the rep and since I don’t know much about autism I can’t really vouch for the accuracy but there were parts that made me feel a little uncomfortable.Other than that I loved the brother and there was this scene that absolutely broke my heart and had me close to tears.
I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of Tanner’s love interest and while she was very nice and I liked their romance, there was just something that rubbed me the wrong way. It might have been because the”you’re not like other girls.” trope was used which just needs to die.
Honestly despite the fact that the Duke was a major asshole, he intrigued me so much and I would love to know more about him. He’s such a complex character and honestly if I had to pick a fave character, I’d choose him.
Also just on a sidenote;I really hated how there were like two PoC in the whole novel and both of them had like no dialogue and were “weird.”