Review Blog

Jul 12 2010

Jekel loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

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Penguin, 2010. ISBN 9780143204046.
(Age 14+) Jill Jekel is devastated. Her father has been murdered and the only person who seems to understand her grief is the mysterious Tristen Hyde, who turns up to comfort her at his funeral. Then she discovers that her college fund has spent by her father, her mother is severely depressed, and that all her plans for the future are in chaos. There is one light in the tunnel for her - her science teacher encourages her to make up a chemistry experiment and apply for a scholarship which will fund her future studies. The perfect solution seems to be to join up with Tristen and use the names of Jekel and Hyde to gain the attention of the judges by trading on the Robert Louis Stevenson's story, The strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Told in alternating chapters by Jill and Tristen, I was fascinated to see how the author conveyed ideas from the classic story into a modern horror setting. Jill finally decides to break into her father's forbidden box in his study and steal the notes about experiments that are in there. When recreating the formula, they hope to save Tristen from the murderous rages that he fears since his grandfather has told him that he is descended from Mr Hyde. But for Jill, a taste of the potion brings out her dark, wild side.
In the meantime Tristen's father has taken over the care of Jill's mother, but when Tristen reads his father's journal, he fears that all is not right. As the two continue their search for the formula, their romance waxes and wanes, the mystery deepens and danger threatens.
With a brooding, gorgeous boy and a girl who is just realising her strengths, a Gothic mystery and some surprising plot turns, there is enough action to keep readers engrossed to the end. Some may even be inspired to turn to Stevenson's classic novel to see why the original story has lasted so long.
Pat Pledger

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