Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey, published by Harcourt Children's Books in 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 the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.
To improve 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.
This is the first book that I've read by Beth Fantaskey and what attracted me to it originally was the interesting plot. It's based on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The action is transposed to an American high school where Jill Jekel and Tristan Hyde are drawn together after the murder of Jill's father. I enjoyed the way in which the story mirrored the original literary classic. I thought that it was a really clever writing technique and luckily I could remember enough of Stevenson's classic (I read it a few years ago) to pick up on some of the subtle similarities and themes that were touched upon throughout the book.
I loved the fast-paced and exciting storyline and the way in which the narratives were woven together. Most of the book was told from Jill's perspective but some chapters gave more of an insight into Tristan himself and the potential danger that Jill was getting herself into by becoming involved with him. When they team up to try and win a prestigious science scholarship they find themselves recreating Dr. Jekyl's experiments with potentially devastating consequences. This leads to a good few twists and turns and an exciting ending that I didn't predict at all. I love it when a book completely takes you by surprise and this had a number of revelations that were totally unexpected.
I liked the character of Jill, who is shy and self-conscious, but falls prey to the lure of the formula that can make her forget all of her inhibitions. I can see how tempted she would have been to escape who she was and become someone self-confident, brave and daring. Her relationship with Tristan was one of the highlights of the book for me, from the first moment that he comforted her at her father's funeral to some of the later scenes in the book. It felt real and like they had a genuine connection from the start. Without giving anything away to those that haven't read it yet, I'm pleased with the way that the story was concluded and I think Beth Fantaskey took it in exactly the right direction.
Overall, I thought that this was a superb addition to the paranormal genre, with great characters, an exciting storyline and fast-paced writing. I really want to read Beth Fantaskey's first novel now which is called 'Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side'. I've heard that it's even better than this one, which is reason enough to get my hands on a copy!