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Jekel May Love Hyde, But I Hate Jekel

The not-so-strange case of how Erin hates Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey.

Jekel May Love Hyde, But I Hate Jekel

BOOK REPORT for Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Cover Story: Seriously, What Is This?
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Stevenson Meets Taylor Swift
Bonus Factors: Jekyll and Hyde
Anti-Bonus Factors: Gross Madonna/Whore Bullshit Multiplied By Sensitive/Abuser Bullshit, CSI Science
Relationship Status: The Jude Law of Books

Cover Story: Seriously, What Is This?

They're just fucking with me now, right? Publishers are just fucking with me. They're sitting in their cramped little offices in New York, thinking, How can I make Erin's blood pressure rise today? Appendum guides to Twilight? Turn a single book into a six-release series? No! I know! Another shitty book cover!

Because, seriously you guys, WHAT IS THIS? WHY DOES THIS EXIST ON MY PLANET? Forget global warming, THIS is the type of atrocity that Al Gore should go on a press junket about! I almost punched a puppy when I saw this; it's that gross and ugly and disgusting. A PUPPY COULD HAVE BEEN PUNCHED.

But honestly, I've seen Harlequin covers featuring Fabio with more subtlety and depth.

That said, I actually bought this book to review because I thought to myself, "Self, what I need is something that's going to make me want to rip my hair out. This book looks like it'll suffice." So I guess actually it all worked out perfectly well.

The Deal:

Right. So. Jill Jekel is a good girl who aces all her classes, buttons all her blouses and never lets a stray lusty thought enter her head. She always obeys her parents, even though technically her dad just died of mysterious circumstances and her mom is on the verge of a mental breakdown, so I guess it's not that hard to obey them, but whatever.

Tristan Hyde (yes. Really.) is a bad boy who shows up late to class, talks back to teachers and could possibly even have chest hair. I mean, it's possible. He's just that bad.

Tristan is convinced that he is a direct descendent of the real Mr Hyde, because apparently Tristan has to be taught, much like we teach four year olds, the difference between real and fiction.Like Dexter, Tristan has a Dark Passenger inside him, but unlike Dexter, Tristan sucks in pretty much every possible way.

Tristan decides that Jill is the descendent of Dr Jekyll and they team up to recreate the original experiment in order to win a science scholarship. Jill drinks some of the potion, turns "bad," which basically means she wants to have sex with people,and I vomit up my spleen from all the gross implications in this book. The end!

Oh, also some people do some murders and stuff.

BFF Charm: Nay!

Oh, I think not, Jill Jekel. I think not. You are an unbearable drip while you're being "good" - letting your friend cheat off you in class, wearing dumb clothes and letting classmates walk all over you. And I hate too much about what you represent when you're "bad" to give you my BFF charm. Plus, um, I was good at chemistry, so it's not like I need you to help me out any.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

I think this might be the lowest swoonworthy rating I've given a book in which technically third-base-style sexytimes happen. But was it good sexytimes? Swoony sexytimes? No. You know how maybe one day you're bored, so you go to a bar, and you meet someone who you would not ordinarily think is that attractive, but you've had three drinks and have nothing to do, so you decide to have it off with them because it beats going home early? And how, even if it's a pleasurable experience overall, there's still some tiny part of your brain that's busy thinking about work or how you need to go grocery shopping tomorrow and you can't forget to buy stuff to make meatballs because you've been really wanting spaghetti lately, so you should be sure to write that down later?

Just . . . sex out of boredom, is what I'm saying. Sure, it's sexytimes, and it's sexytimes that are happening to you, andthat's awesome, but is it really the best sexytimes you could be having? If you gave it just a tiny bit more effort and you snagged some hot piece of ass you'd been lusting after for months and had a weekend-long shagathon in between eating delivery pizza and watching late night comedy central shows, wouldn't you feel a little bit better about yourself? A little more excited and accomplished about your sexytimes abilities?

That's what this book reminded me of. Sex out of boredom. Like, there's nothing better to do, sooo, let's just get naked and stick things in each other.

I mean, not that I would know. The above was just an analogy; I'm just assuming that's what it would be like. Hi, Mom.

Talky Talk: Stevenson Meets Taylor Swift

A lot of people hate Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I am not one of those people. I love it in book form, I love it in play form and if someone were to start an MS Paint web comic about the Super Fun Adventures of Mr Hyde, I'd love it in that form too. If there were a Jekyll and Hyde Tumblr, I'd actually figure out how the fuck Tumblr works just so I could follow it or tweet it or whatever it is you are supposed to do with Tumblr. (Why is that website so confusing?! It doesn't seem to DO anything.)

I really like the story, is what I'm saying. And you may think that my dislike of this book has to do with how much I love the original, but that is not true. (For evidence, I point you to Clueless and Bridget Jones' Diary.) What bugged me about this book was that it was truly like reading Stevensons' work of duality and hidden lust through the pen of Taylor Swift. There's a good girl! And she drinks a magic potion and then she wants to have sex all the time! But the cheerleader is mean to her! And the bad boy has a heart of gold! But he needs to be bad so that the good girl can save him! Blech.

Don't get me wrong; I think Fantaskey gets to the same point as Stevenson eventually, but damned if I didn't feel I was trapped in some sort of nightmarish Trapper Keeper full of cheesy song lyrics whilst on the journey.

Bonus Factor: Jekyll and Hyde

There are certainly enough references to Stevenson's classic to make a fan smile, right down to when Tristan and Jill realized that some of their salts were tainted. And people do murders! More murders in books, I say!

Anti-Bonus Factor: Gross Madonna/Whore Bullshit Multiplied By Sensitive-Abuser Bullshit

Why, why, WHY is it that Jill Jekel only becomes interested in things like sex after she drinks the potion and becomes "bad?" Why does sex have to be the hallmark of the bad girl? Aren't we past that BS by now? Attention: world! People fuck each other and a lot of them like it. Some don't care for it at all, and that's also cool! But it's a little silly to expect people to buy that girls who enjoy sex are merely giving in to their animal instinct. Maybe it's just a fun thing to do, I dunno!

And, ugh, of course Tristan goes all aggro when he drinks the potion, much like the Jekyll of yore, but he's really a sensitive artist who wouldn't hurt anyone except for when someone/something makes him lose control! It's not REALLY his fault, you see!

Anti-Bonus Factor: CSI Science

In my house, we refer to CSI as Crappy Science Initiative. And by we, I mean I refer to it that way, out loud, typically only in the presence of my cat. He seems non-plussed by my hatred of that show, frankly. But it's SO AWFUL OH MY GOD. One time I saw an episode where someone stuck their finger into a pool of red viscuous liquid and licked it to see if it was blood. I MEAN MY GOD.

Anyway, there's plenty of crappy science in here, particularly the idea that two high schoolers could actually transcribe Victorian notes and then recreate the formula from those notes, when all of the many scholars who had apparently come before them had failed so completely. Salts! Mice! You don't need anything else!

Casting Call:

Posh's post on MTV's Awkward got me thinking. . .

Ashley Rickards as Jill

And, because I have to actually want to see this movie,

Ethan Peck as Tristan

Relationship Status: The Jude Law of Books

Everyone's got one. A movie, a book, a band or an actor that they just.don't.get. Someone or something who/which is wildly popular, but all the love confuses you. Mine is Jude Law. I don't find him attractive. I don't particularly find him that great of an actor (he's okay! I just don't feel like composing odes to his glory). I just don't get it.

I didn't think this book was going to be like that - I thought it'd be universally panned. So you can imagine my surprise when it got a four-star rating on Goodreads! So, hey! Maybe it's just me! If you like womanizing, balding guys who attempt to get by with the charm they had years ago, you might love this book too.

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.