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The Summer We Read Gatsby: A Novel Hardcover – May 27, 2010

3.8 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two half-sisters search for the thing of utmost value in an inherited ramshackle Southampton cottage in Ganek's witty new novel (after Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him). The story is narrated by introverted, newly divorced, would-be writer Cassie, but the flamboyant center of the story is her older half-sister, Peck, a theatrical socialite determined to bring out her sister while thwarting Cassie's sensible plan to sell Fool's House, the cottage they've jointly inherited from their eccentric aunt Lydia. As they wonder whether the house's treasure is a Jackson Pollock painting, a first edition of The Great Gatsby, or a family secret, the sisters' contrasting personalities clash in hilarious ways. During a summer marked by parties that recall both the artsy milieu of Pollock and the posh extravagance of Gatsby, the two sisters run into long-lost loves, strange neighbors, aggressive real estate agents, and charming artist hangers-on as they ponder the legacy of their beloved Aunt Lydia and their relationship to each other. Even though many of the novel's revelations can be seen a mile away, getting there is a fun, witty, and surprisingly moving trip. (June)
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From Booklist

“The beach can cure anything,” or so Peck (short for Pecksland) tells half-sister Stella. They have never been close, but for the summer they'll share the Hamptons beach home their beloved Aunt Lydia left to them in her will. Fool's House, a gathering spot for artists during Lydia's tenure, comes with an annual “resident fool” artist as a free lodger above the garage. Peck, a Manhattanite actress, and Stella, a journalist living in Switzerland, can't afford the house, but love it too much to sell it. In between the chic parties and events of the summer season, they search for the item of great value that Lydia says she has left them. Is it the unsigned painting above the fireplace? The possibly first edition of Gatsby? And, most important, is the treasure valuable enough to let them keep the house? Friendships and romances rekindle, sisters grow close, objects disappear, mysteries are solved, and what is truly of value eventually becomes apparent in this charming, entertaining, and brightly written summer read. --Danise Hoover
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (May 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670021784
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670021789
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #594,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When it comes to books labeled as adult reads and me, it's usually a hit or a miss, because of the fact that I am still in the age group designated as teen and sometimes have a hard time relating to adult protagonists. So when it came time to read The Summer We Read Gatsby, I have to admit that even though the cover was pretty and the premise seemed to be intriguing, I was hesitant to begin.

Luckily, The Summer We Read Gatsby was a great read to start the summer season off with, since it's filled with the fabulous back-drop of the Hamptons, funny moments, sweet romance, and two sisters that you can't help but love.

Peck and Cassie are sisters whom are basically the definition of polar opposites. Peck is eccentric; someone with impeccable taste; an actress with her head in the stars, still thinking of that summer long ago when she first feel in love with the love of her life that got away. Cassie, on the other hand, is timid, shy, realistic; a girl still reeling over her divorce with That-Awful-Jean Paul and dealing with new feelings for the hot stuff that is Finn. Both were characters that fell under that category of protagonists that the reader would love to have in their own life, because Peck and Cassie are funny and wise beyond their years. And surprisingly enough, both were characters I found easy to relate to, since who hasn't had their head in the clouds wondering how life would've been if that one thing didn't happen, feel in love, dealt with loss of loved ones, or faced tough decisions like Peck and Cassie do in The Summer We Read Gatsby? Plus, I loved the relationship they shared as half-sisters, because it often hit a true part of reality and brought on laugh-out-loud moments for me as the reader.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel was a disappointment. The author continually TOLD us about the characters, rather than SHOWING us through their actions. Also, the errors and discontinuities were rife. One character asks near the end of the book when he will get to tour Miles' house, but he toured it near the beginning. (I was paying attention, even if the author wasn't.) Another disturbing thing was that they found "an arm" in their refrigerator, but that was never explained or mentioned again. Was it a mannequin's arm? An actual severed bloody human arm? Ick! F. Scott Fitzgerald would be embarrassed to be associated with this book, and I was also. Librarians: don't waste your money on this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Half sisters Peck and Cassie have taken up residence in the Hamptons after the passing of their beloved Aunt Lydia. Lydia left her house, Fools House, to her nieces, with the instructions that they needed to find the thing of "utmost importance." Throughout the summer, the girls trot along, finding love, finding mystery, and ultimately finding the importance of being sisters. The girls couldn't be more different- Peck an extrovert, a wannabee actress who thinks the world is her stage- and Cassie, the sensible, responsible sister, who is wanting to quickly get Fools House sold and get on with her life. But with long-lost loves, an unwelcome house guest, over aggressive real estate agents, and posh Hampton parties, the sisters find enough adventure and revelation over the summer to last the rest of their lives.
The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek wasn't my favorite novel of the summer. It took me almost half the book to really start to feel for the characters, and I felt at times the story was just too simply farfetched. Ganek is a great writer, and her knowledge and love of art shined through at times, but I didn't feel it was enough to carry the characters along through their summer at Fools House. I usually look to see how the supporting cast ties in with the main characters, and I thought they fell a bit flat as well. There were also some scenarios that were mentioned once then faded away, never being played out. Overall I was disappointed, once I closed the book the characters and plot were gone from my mind.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a cute story about half sisters who spend a summer together in a house they inherit after their aunt dies. The house is in the Hamptons and comes with a full cast of crazy characters. The book plays out like an episode of one of those Disney tween shows that are CONSTANTLY playing on the Disney channel, (anyone with a tween daughter will understand!). The book flows easily from chapter to chapter and you really feel like the sisters are people you could know. My problem with the book is it should be marketed towards young adults, and I feel it is misleading to market it as an adult book. I am a big fan of The Great Gatsby and enjoyed the references throughtout the book. If you are looking for a juicy summer read, this is certainly not it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book because it was our September book club choice. I had to force myself to finish it and flipped through several pages trying to find the plot. The characters were not interesting and the plot (what there was of one) was so very predictable. I love The Great Gatsby, I hated The Summer We Read Gatsby.
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Format: Hardcover
The nicest thing I can say about this book is that I read it quickly and it wasn't horrible. It was incredibly bland and boring. Nothing about it was memorable. Normally, I'm very good at remembering characters and details of books. I couldn't remember who anyone was. Occasionally, they would refer to an event that seemingly already happened in the book and I had no recollection of it. This happened several times, starting with Chapter 2. None of the plot lines were well-developed or well-written, particularly the "mystery" plot. The romance plot was pathetically thin - they went on 2 dates, the main character barely mentioned or thought about him when he wasn't in the room, then they independently decided they were in love with each other. The characters were also extremely one-dimensional. The sister was incredibly shallow, childish, and haughty. The main character was ok, I just felt like the idea that she was so nice, almost to the point of being plain, was constantly pushed on me. If there were supposed to be any parallels to The Great Gatsby, I couldn't see them. I reserve 1-star reviews for books that are completely horrid and/or offensive. This book doesn't get to that level. It's merely forgettable.
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