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.
Beth Fantaskey has a great writing style that makes it easy to picture all the characters, scenes, and descriptions. I loved the alternating chapters- it was great to be able to get inside both Tristen and Jill’s heads and understand their point of view on things. With some novels I dislike alternating POVs, but it worked for Jekel Loves Hyde and the chapters flowed from one to the next smoothly and understandably.
Jill was a shy and studious main character; one who in certain novels would have only been a secondary character or not even mentioned at all. I loved that she got center stage and it was interesting to see how she changed over the course of the novel. Jill had been through a lot. Her father had been brutally murdered and was apparently involved in some dubious activities that led to his death. Her mother was reacting badly to his death and slowly drawing away from the world and Jill, in particular.
Tristen was almost the complete opposite of Jill, the saying “opposites attract” was very true in their case. Tristen was outgoing and rebellious, but also had a tender and caring side, mainly reserved for Jill. His mother had disappeared years before and he was living alone with his stiff and commanding father. I overall really liked Tristen, and it helped to be able to read from his perspective and understand his opinions and ideas, and true feelings for Jill.
I have yet to read the old classic this was inspired by, but Fantaskey explained and gave enough background to the original tale that readers will feel as though they have read it many times before. The connection of Jill and Tristen to the original characters was an original twist, and the idea of the potion was great, too. The madness that most of Tristen’s relatives apparently succumbed to was scary, yet a huge part of the novel. Almost every aspect of this novel tied back to the original tale and most things that occurred tied together in the end.
There were some intense and creepy scenes in Jekel Loves Hyde and a lot of action and mystery that had me on the edge of my seat. You never know who to trust and the madness angle was really frightening. On the other hand, the romance was realistic and believable. Readers get to watch Tristen and Jill’s love for each other grow and develop and they were really perfect for each other.
The ending was a little abrupt and there were a few loose ends, but this was an overall amazing book. It was intense, fast paced, and contained two of my favorite YA characters ever. Romantic and exciting, I definitely recommend checking out Jekel Loves Hyde! I can’t wait to read Beth Fantaskey’s debut, and any future novels she writes.
Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars