Published by Sky Pony Press, Spring 2017
Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absolute—especially right and wrong.
Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for one reason: to win. The elite school recruited him after he argued his public school’s debate team to victory last year, and now Bannerman wants that championship trophy. Debate is Tanner’s life—his ticket out of scrimping and saving and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and a new, better future. When he’s paired with the prep school playboy everyone calls the Duke, Tanner’s straightforward plans seem as if they’re going off the rails. The Duke is Bannerman royalty, beloved for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and the strings he so easily pulls. And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.
As Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of the edge become addictive. A small favor here and there seems like nothing in exchange for getting everything he ever dreamed of.
But the Duke’s castle is built on shady, shaky secrets, and the walls are about to topple.
A contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, Katie A. Nelson’s taut debut is perfect for anyone who’s struggled to survive the cut-throat world of competitive high school.
“This debut is more homage to The Great Gatsby than retelling, and the story is better for it. The glitzy prep-school backdrop is offset by the cutthroat world of scholarship competitions, and Tanner’s moral struggles ring heartbreakingly true.” ―Booklist
“Nelson offers a contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby that goes beyond many of the themes of the original novel to make for a spirited look at what happens when a good kid makes some bad choices in a place where consequences don’t always follow. . . . A satisfying examination of morality and the decisions that change our lives.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“In an effective contemporary update of The Great Gatsby, debut novelist Nelson accurately reflects the stresses high school students face in both academics and extracurricular activities. Through Tanner’s realistic voice and the situations he faces, readers comes to believe that a place like Bannerman and a boy like the Duke could actually exist, though Nelson is careful not to romanticize the Duke’s criminal behavior or Tanner’s role in it.” ―Publishers Weekly
“The high-pressure world of Bannerman Prep, the intrigue of Tanner and the Duke’s strange friendship and the lavish social scene all harken back to Fitzgerald’s classic but stand on their own in this compelling new novel.” ―BookPage