Jake Reinvented

by Gordon Korman
ISBN: 0439969336

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A Review of: Jake, Reinvented
by M. Wayne Cunningham

With its dedication, "For Jay and Daisy", Jake Reinvented signals its allegiance to The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920's classic. But this time, the omniscient narrator is a high school senior, the Broncos back-up quarterback and field-goal kicker, named Rick, not Nick. And the action is spread between the clashes at F. Scott Fitzgerald High and the freewheeling Friday night beer bashes hosted by the dapper Jake Garrett, not the inscrutable Jay Gatsby.
But like Gatsby, Jake is an enigma, big-time- where does he get his money for the endless beer and pizzas? Where is his family? Where did he go to school before transferring to Fitzgerald as its best long-snapper ever? How come he knows the local College crowd? And most importantly, how come he already knows Didi (Gatsby's Daisy) the two-timing cheerleading girlfriend of first string quarterback, Todd Buckley (Gatsby's Tom Buchanan), the school's most popular and influential student, especially with the jocks?
Jake's parties, like mini-me's of Gatsbys, overflow with booze, babes, freeloaders and fractious fun. There his come-ons with the flirtatious Didi lead to an inevitable confrontation, a mix of home invasion, false accusations, a fire and a homicide which for all the wrong reasons gets Jake whisked out of town and out of Rick's life. Sadder but wiser, Rick goes his own way "as the only Bronco with a clear conscience."
Korman has done a great job of re-creating a modern classic as relevant and meaningful today as it was then, and with unique characters as memorable for their integrity as for their lack of it.

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