On My Bookshelf: Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman

June 25, 2018

Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman is a modern take on The Great Gatsby set in high school. For anyone who has read Gatsby, the similarities are immediately clear, but for anyone who hasn't the story is just as enjoyable. The novel is narrated by Rick, but the focus is on the mysterious Jake who has just moved to town, takes up the position of snapper on the football team, and holds the wildest parties every Friday night. Read on for more of my review and classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: There is a mysterious new student at Fitzgerald High, Jake Garret. He seems to have it all figured out. He looks like he just stepped off the cover of the J. Crew catalog, he is the best kicker the football team has ever had, and best of all, he hosts the party to go to every Friday night. All the guys want to be like him and all the girls want to date him, but Jake only has eyes for Didi, the girlfriend of alpha male and quarterback, Todd Buckley. As Jake's friend Rick gets to know him, he at first admires him, then starts to like him, but soon grows to fear for him as he learns Jake's dangerous secret. From beloved young adult author Gordon Korman, comes a new look at age-old themes about popularity, acceptance, and human nature.

Why I liked it: Jake, Reinvented is a modern take on The Great Gatsby set in high school. For anyone who has read Gatsby, the similarities are immediately clear, but for anyone who hasn't the story is just as enjoyable. The novel is narrated by Rick (Nick), but the focus is on the mysterious Jake (Gatsby) who has just moved to town, takes up the position of snapper on the football team, and holds the wildest parties every Friday night. As the kicker, Rick and Jake have an interdependent relationship on the football team and quickly become friends. This is extremely convenient for Jake because Rick is friends with Jennifer who is best friends with Didi (Daisy) who Jake is in love with.
Jake, Reinvented by Gordon Korman is a modern take on The Great Gatsby set in high school. For anyone who has read Gatsby, the similarities are immediately clear, but for anyone who hasn't the story is just as enjoyable. The novel is narrated by Rick, but the focus is on the mysterious Jake who has just moved to town, takes up the position of snapper on the football team, and holds the wildest parties every Friday night. Read on for more of my review and classroom application.

My favorite characters were Jennifer, Rick's longtime friend and crush, and Dipsy, the butt of the football team's jokes. Jennifer, seemingly old for her age, is above much of the high school antics by the end of the novel, shows her loyalty to and true feelings for Rick. Dipsy speaks to Rick in metaphor, but like Jennifer, in the end is one of the few loyal characters.

Classroom application: For students who love realistic fiction and high school drama, this would be a great one to recommend. While there's nothing overly graphic, there is some sexual content and frequent references to alcohol, so I'd recommend this one to high schoolers, not middle school.

The novel would make an excellent pairing with The Great Gatsby. If you are worried that the classic might seem dated and your students might be disengaged, read this first or alongside the novel for comparison. With a more familiar setting, students may have an easier time buying into the plot line.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Jake, Reinvented for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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