- Page Count: 288
- Release Date: April 11, 2017
- Publisher: Soho Teen
- My Rating: 2.5 stars
After losing her parents in a tragic accident, surfer girl Janie Mason is forced to trade the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the cold fog of San Francisco. She’s never even met her new guardians, the Rochesters—an old money family who relish being pillars of high society. Janie feels hopelessly out of place in their world of Napa weekends, fancy prep schools, and cotillions. Nicholas is the only Rochester who treats her with anything resembling kindness—but he’s only six. When she strikes up a friendship with Daniel, a fellow surfer, it feels like things might finally be improving.
But something isn’t right in the Rochester mansion. There are noises—screams—coming from the attic nearly every night. Noises everyone else claims they can’t hear. Then John, the black sheep of the family, returns after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school. Soon Janie finds herself torn between this new “brother” and Daniel, who has secrets of his own. Just when she thinks her life can’t get any worse, she learns the truth about the Rochesters: what they’re hiding, what they want from Janie, and how far they’ll go to get it.
I’d give the first half of this book 4 stars and the last half 1 star, so maybe 2.5 stars overall? The fact that it took me almost 6 months to read this book also says something.
This is a modern retelling of Jane Eyre where Jane (her middle name is Eyre) is a Filipina surfer girl from Hawaii. She goes to live with the wealthy Rochester family in San Francisco after her parents die and all sorts of creepy things start happening. The best part of the story was definitely the youngest boy saying his dead twin sister was tormenting him and the way the fire and the ghost-type stuff got worked in.
Otherwise, there was very little romance and a lot of characters fell flat or became cliches. I guess I’m just tired of reading of the rich, skinny, beautiful mean girl stereotype… like that’s kind of all there was to Georgina. And then Jane’s best friend can be summed up as the nerdy sidekick. Both John and Daniel were flat & dull as well. John didn’t even come off as a person… more like a prop.
I really liked Jane’s character, though, and loved how the first half of the book jumped back and forth between the present and her past in Hawaii! It was a really effective way to establish a strong past and character for her… like you end up having a WAY better idea of her dead parents and old friend than anyone in the current story.
The last half of the book is just a hot mess of people trying to kill her and lock her up and kill her again and I don’t even know where the plot went. The story felt like it was trying to be too many things at once and just barely managed to squeeze in horror, romance, contemporary YA, drama, mystery, etc. There were a lot of things I wanted the story to go back to, buuuut it was becoming SO incredibly unpleasant to sit through that I also just wanted it to be over.
I think a Jane Eyre retelling seems really challenging, though, and this is better than the previous one I read! And I did like the first half and thought the creepy aesthetic of the Rochester’s mansion was well done. So I think this is still worth checking out if you love Jane Eyre! But it might not make a very solid story otherwise.
I wish this book had dumped the Jane Eyre retelling and just focused on the Filipina surfer girl from Hawaii figuring out a new life — her character was the best part and got lost in all of the drama.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!