The Duke of Bannerman Prep: A Mysterious and Entertaining Retelling


The Duke of Bannerman Prep

Words are weapons. Facts can be manipulated. And nothing is absolute—especially right and wrong.

Tanner McKay is at Bannerman Prep for only one reason: the elite school recruited him after he brought his public school’s debate team to victory last year. Bannerman wants a championship win. Debate is Tanner’s life—his ticket out of his poor-as-dirt life and family drama, straight to a scholarship to Stanford and the start of a new, better future.

But when he’s paired with the Duke, his plans for an easy ride seem as if they’ve hit the rails. The Duke is the quintessential playboy, beloved by everyone for his laissez-faire attitude, crazy parties, and seemingly effortless favors.

And a total no-show when it comes to putting in the work to win.

But as Tanner gets sucked into the Duke’s flashy world, the thrill of the high life and the adrenaline of existing on the edge becomes 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 down.

A contemporary retelling of The Great Gatsby, Katie Nelson’s taut debut is perfect for fans of John Green’s Looking for Alaska, Kate Brian’s Private series, and anyone who’s encountered the cut-throat world of competitive high school.


YA / Contemporary / Retellings
352 Pages
Sky Pony Press
Expected Publication Date:  May 9th, 2017
Preorder a copy here!

Quick Reasons: The Great Gatsby retelling?! FOR THE WIN!; intriguing, complex characters; realistic and believable plot; the air of mystery almost choked me throughout; I’m super curious about the Duke, and only a TINY bit sad we don’t actually know anything about him; love the boarding school aspect

Huge thanks to Katie A. Nelson, Sky Pony Press, and Edelweiss for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

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If you’ve been stalking my blog for a while, penguins, you’ll know I go absolutely GAGA over any and every retelling I can get my hands on. Recently, I stumbled across this title on Edelweiss–up for instant download, at that!–and while I wasn’t a big fan of the original novel, decided to take a chance on this one, because hello, boarding school?! Need I say more?!

I’m so pleased to say that this book? delivered on pretty much every level. The air of drama and intrigue surrounding the Duke was delicious, satisfying, and frustrating all at once. Frustrating only because a very, very TINY part of me is upset we don’t really ever learn anything about him. Of course, I understand this is totally the point–and I’m not lying when I say that part of me is MINUSCULE. It doesn’t matter at all, because honestly, this read was super entertaining, and I can get behind a book that keeps me wondering even after the final page.

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These characters are realistic, and the plot is super believable. I adored how many different moral implications were made throughout–including the whole, “one white lie leads to a thousand more.” It’s obvious, from the get-go, that Tanner is in way over his head…and that he will, undoubtedly, make some very bad choices in the course of his journey. But the fact that he’s flawed, and that he follows through so vehemently, and remains loyal… All of these things only helped to solidify him in my mind. Even when the world was falling apart around him, he dug himself in deeper, kept looking for that “out.” It was so human, I felt as if I was watching the train wreck from the sidelines–and was reminded of moments in my past that I found myself in a similar situation. Let’s be honest, we ALL do this at least once; it’s how we learn, sometimes.

Overall, I’m SUPER glad I downloaded this retelling, and need more of YOU penguins to go out there and read it too, because I need someone to fangirl with about it. The characters are believable, the boarding school setting was entertaining, and the air of mystery/intrigue just about knocked me to the floor. There are some super heavy subjects explored throughout, but the moral implications are gold. Katie A. Nelson hit the nail on the head with this one, in my opinion. I definitely recommend this to lovers of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, boarding-school intrigue, and flawed but endearing characters. Welcome to Bannerman Prep, penguins; make sure to hold on to your hats, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!


One thought on “The Duke of Bannerman Prep: A Mysterious and Entertaining Retelling

  1. BETH, I MUST ASK. IS THERE A ROMANCE BETWEEN TANNER AND THE DUKE? I mean, I’m totally picking up this book even if it doesn’t, but if it does, I’ll read it ASAP hahaha! Loved your review as always and I’m quite scared for my sanity as the songs you chose felt so strong and emotional =O This book will break me, won’t it? >.<


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