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THE SUMMER WE READ GATSBY by Danielle Ganek

THE SUMMER WE READ GATSBY

By Danielle Ganek

Pub Date: May 31st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-670-02178-9
Publisher: Viking

Half-sisters reconnect with each other, and with Mr. Rights from their pasts, during the summer of 2008.

Their Aunt Lydia, sister to the father who left Peck’s mother for Cassie’s, has bequeathed her rickety shack in Southampton to the two young women. “The situation,” Peck declares with her usual drama, “is that you and I can’t agree on anything.” Cassie wants to sell Fool’s House and head back to Switzerland, where she works desultorily as a journalist. Peck, a would-be actress living in New York, wants to hang onto the house as an accoutrement to the ultra-fabulous lifestyle she aspires to. She also wants to accept an invitation from Miles Noble, who broke her heart seven years ago, the summer she obsessively read and reread The Great Gatsby and pressed it on 21-year-old Cassie, who’d never read it. Surely it means something that the now fabulously wealthy Miles is throwing “a GATSBY party” and has invited them? Cassie, more sober than her flamboyant semi-sibling, doubts it but agrees to go in hopes of finding architect Finn Killian, who might know the combination to Aunt Lydia’s locked safe. The guy she remembers as a distant older man turns out to be a sexy charmer, though Cassie is convinced against all evidence that he’s “just being polite” as he pursues her throughout the summer. Peck, meanwhile, is dismayed by the vulgarity of Miles’ ostentatious mansion, but comes to appreciate his sterling qualities as the season winds down with hints of the economic meltdown to come. There’s absolutely no suspense about narrator Cassie ending up with perfect Finn, though she’s amazingly obtuse about his interest, and Peck is made up of attitudes and tics rather than actual personality traits. Still, Ganek (Lula Meets God and Doubts Him, 2007) provides enough zippy one-liners, moderately vivid party scenes and adequately attractive descriptions of clothes to sustain a paper-thin plot involving a missing painting and an unwanted houseguest.

Agreeable, predictable and forgettable.