Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre retold against the backdrop of San Francisco's most fabulous—and dangerous—elites.
After losing her parents in a tragic accident, surfer girl Janie Mason trades the sunny beaches of Hawaii for the cold fog of San Francisco and new guardians—the Rochesters—that she’s never even met. Janie feels hopelessly out of place in their world of Napa weekends, fancy cotillions, and chauffeurs. The only person she can relate to is Daniel, a fellow surfer. Meeting him makes Janie feel like things might be looking up.
Still, something isn’t right in the Rochester mansion. There are noises—screams—coming from the attic that everyone else claims they can’t hear. Then John, the black sheep of the family, returns after getting kicked out of yet another boarding school. Soon Janie finds herself torn between devil-may-care John and fiercely loyal Daniel. Just when she thinks her life can’t get any more complicated, she learns the truth about why the Rochesters took her in. They want something from Janie, and she’s about to see just how far they’ll go to get it.
Jane Eyre was no Hawaiian surfer girl, but her story provides the framework for Gagnon's clever update of the Bront classic. Janie Mason, forced to leave Kona after her parents are killed in a helicopter crash, finds herself in the gloomy San Francisco mansion of the Rochester family, her new guardians. She's coolly welcomed by matriarch Marion, who seems to detest her on sight, and imposing patriarch Richard. The only friendly Rochester is six-year-old Nicholas, but Janie errs by mentioning Eliza, learning too late that she's Nicholas's recently deceased twin (with whom he still regularly converses). School isn't any better, though Janie eventually meets a boy, Daniel, who has baggage and bad blood with the Rochesters. Gagnon (Don't Let Go) plays up the gaslighting element of the story well: when things start going bump in the night, Janie isn't sure if she's losing her mind or if someone is trying to make her believe she is, perhaps even the newly arrived Rochester bad boy, John. Fully rounded characters and abundant suspense help Gagnon's novel hold its own amid other contemporary Eyre reimaginings. Ages 14 up.