Review: Chemistry by Jodi Lamm

Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Jodi Lamm
Edition: Ebook , 151 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5

You don’t want to read this book. I’m warning you. This isn’t a heartwarming, boy-meets-girl, high school romance. I wish it were—God, do I ever. No, if you read this, you’re going to be angry… with me, mostly. You’ll probably yell at me, if you’re the type of person who yells at books. You’ll tell me not to be so stupid, but I won’t listen. I’ll be exactly as stupid as I need to be to destroy everything I love because that’s who I am: a walking, talking tragedy. That’s who I’ve always been. But if you’re determined to read on despite my warning, I may as well introduce myself. My name is Claude Frollo, I’m nineteen going on ninety, and this is my story. It isn’t pretty, but it’s honest. And it’s the only story I have left to tell.

Chemistry is a modern day, young adult retelling of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with an interesting twist. It’s being told from the point of view of Claude Frollo, who by story standards would definitely be considered an antagonist in the original. Chemistry lends a different sort of view on his love for Esmerelda and his relationship with Valentine (who fits the role of Quasimodo).

I’m a huge fan of retellings and I simply love seeing the heftier classics take on a new life in something new. I will admit I’ve never actually read Hunchback of Notre Dame in its entirety, but I do know the full story so it was great to see the parallels being played out. As the blurb says it’s not a heartwarming story, it’s dark and gritty…and at times a bit chilling.

Claude Frollo is one of those characters that can be stamped as ‘crazy’ and not many people would dispute the title. I’m not sure the character would disagree either. Since the book is being ‘written’ by Claude we get a personal view and feel for all that goes through his mind, and we get a front row seat to his mental decline. I can honestly say it’s a bit scary to witness it. He starts off as someone who is a loner, who is quiet and sullen with only one friend and not much need for more…to someone who becomes obsessed with the idea of Esmerelda and willing throw everything aside for her. Valentine is probably my favorite character, he’s a silent character but his presence is very strong.  He’s a sort of silent guardian and I loved how much detail that Lamm put into this character. Esmerelda was probably the character I liked the least, her passion for things is something that Claude admired in her but at the same time she’s too willing to place it in people who shouldn’t have it. She sees what she wants to see and I found that to be a double edged sword in terms of her likability.

The ending left me breathless and I had to take a moment to let it all sink in before I could even close my Kindle. Jodi Lamm is probably one of my favorite authors now, thanks not only this novel but also Titan Magic.

4 stars

This entry was posted in Book Reviews (2013) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Review: Chemistry by Jodi Lamm

  1. Oh! I have Titan Magic, but haven’t read it. I haven’t heard of a book taking on the retelling of THoND. I love dark and gritty, though!

  2. I havne’t read many retellings, but they intrigue me. Glad to hear the ending was good and left you breathless.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  3. trishhannon111 says:

    I love the sound of this. I have never read The Hunchback of ND but I’ve seen lots of movie versions. Modern retellings are so much in trend right now and so far I’m loving the ones that I have read. Thanks for reviewing this one as it’s a new one for me and I’m def interested.

  4. I love a good re-relling so I’m going to be picking this one up soon. Thanks for the heads up about it 🙂
    Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  5. jen ryland says:

    I read this too and also interviewed Jodi on my blog — It’s a really intense book, right? Glad you enjoyed it.

  6. This sounds interesting and I love the twist in perspectives for the retelling.,.,plus dark and gritty is always good.

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