Speak Easy, Speak Love
by McKelle George
Read: November 15 - 19, 2017
Published: September 19, 2017 by Greenwillow Books
Category: YA, Retelling, Shakespeare, 1920s, Prohibition,
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
Book Description: Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.
Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.
Speak Easy, Speak Love is a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing set in New York during the 1920s. In sum, everything about this book was fantastic. This story follows six characters during the summer of 1927 - Beatrice, Benedick, Maggie, John, Hero and Prince - as their lives converge at Hey Nonny Nonny, a Speak Easy on Long Island.
Drama, romance and hilarity ensue as these characters navigate running a nightclub during the prohibition era. The language in this book is seriously so good, most especially the snappy dialogue between Beatrice and Benedick, neither of whom I couldn’t get enough of.
I could roll around all day in their conversations.
I say this all the time, but my favorite retellings are those that take a story and make it their own and George does exactly that. I felt present in this 1920s setting and invested in these characters lives. I didn’t want it to end! There’s so much more I could say about this book, I feel inadequate to describe how amazing it is. Also goodness gracious, isn’t that cover gorgeous? I can just picture Beatrice and Benedick facing off.
This is a book that nearly fell under my radar and I'm so so happy that it did not. Definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017. Put it on your holiday book list if you haven't read it already.
Love Triangle Factor: None for 2 of the couples (my favorites). One of them does, yes. But totally worth it.
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone. I cannot wait to find out what else this author writes!