Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix

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Modern Age

Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix
Author: McLemore, Anna-Marie
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1922
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: Jazz Age, Retelling, LGBTQ+
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age:Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2022

American History > Modern Age

In the Remixed Classics series, authors from marginalized backgrounds reinterpret classic works through their own cultural lens to subvert the overwhelming cishet, white, and male canon. This YA reimagining of The Great Gatsby centers trans love in a cast removed from its cishet white default, finally exploring those longing glances and wistful sighs between Nick and Jay.

New York City, 1922. Nicolás Caraveo, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Wisconsin, has no interest in the city’s glamor. Going to New York is all about establishing himself as a young professional, which could set up his future―and his life as a man―and benefit his family.

Nick rents a small house in West Egg from his 18-year-old cousin, Daisy Fabrega, who lives in fashionable East Egg near her wealthy fiancé, Tom―and Nick is shocked to find that his cousin now goes by Daisy Fay, has erased all signs of her Latine heritage, and now passes seamlessly as white.

Nick’s neighbor in West Egg is a mysterious young man named Jay Gatsby, whose castle-like mansion is the stage for parties so extravagant that they both dazzle and terrify Nick. At one of these parties, Nick learns that the spectacle is all meant to impress a girl from Jay’s past―Daisy. And he learns something else: Jay is also transgender.

As Nick is pulled deeper into the glittery culture of decadence, he spends more time with Jay, aiming to help his new friend reconnect with his lost love. But Nick's feelings grow more complicated when he finds himself falling hard for Jay's openness, idealism, and unfounded faith in the American Dream.

Emily's Review

The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books and I am loving all of the retellings we are getting now. This one brings something new to the table, making it into a completely new story.

I remember reading once that Nick Carraway was probably gay and in love with Jay Gatsby. That has always stuck with me and it feels authentic to the story. I have no idea if it was intentional, but I can see it in the text. So I love that this story took that idea and ran with it. In this version of the story, rather than focusing on the superficiality and emptiness of everything, the focus is on identity, and becoming your authentic self. Many of the elements of the original remain - Jay Gatsby's lavish parties and an enormous house all built to entice Daisy, Daisy and Tom Buchanan's shallow love affair, and Nick's naivety...but now the story is flipped on its head into something completely new.

In this telling, Nicolas Caraveo is a 17-year-old trans boy from Wisconsin who has followed his cousin and best friend Daisy to New York. But now that he's there, he discovers that she now goes by Daisy Fay and is passing for white. He then meets his neighbor, Jay Gatsby, who is also a trans man, who throws lavish parties all meant to impress Daisy. But what is his real motive?

This is a much softer story than the original, much more of a love story. Almost all of the core characters are queer. The writing is beautiful, it's full of longing and hopefulness and explores ideas of queerness, white-passing, and the American Dream.

I think this book is best for ages 16+

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