The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

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As I have mentioned previously on my blog before, “The Great Gatsby” has official entered public domain as of this year, meaning re-tellings are now up for the taking. I was so thrilled to be able to take an early look at this one before it’s public release today. It’s especially a great book to start with celebrating Pride Month with!

Thank you Tordotcom for my gifted ebook in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Immigrant. Socialite. Magician. Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her. But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how. Nghi Vo’s debut novel The Chosen and the Beautiful reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite some time. I’ve had such a hard time writing it! I have many feelings about this book. First off, it’s absolutely beautifully written. The prose is breathtaking. On the other hand, I thought this was extremely close to the original story. While yes, it’s a retelling, it had elements that made it unique in it’s own way that I wanted WAY more of. The fantasy/magical touches to this book were minimal and I think a touch more would’ve put this book on a whole other level for me. If you aren’t a Great Gatsby fan, this may be a hard pass for you. If you want to read a story written like a dream, you’ll want to pick this up right away.

3/5 Stars

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