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The Chosen and the Beautiful

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3.58  ·  Rating details ·  12,609 ratings  ·  3,012 reviews
Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the wo
...more
Hardcover, 260 pages
Published June 1st 2021 by Tordotcom
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Shima I didn't read The Great Gatsby before reading this, and while I still enjoyed the book, I personally regret my decision. I feel like reading the origi…moreI didn't read The Great Gatsby before reading this, and while I still enjoyed the book, I personally regret my decision. I feel like reading the original material first would have given me a better understanding of this one, and I would have enjoyed the cleverness of the retelling more( Especially since I believe most of its main characters are direct reincarnations of the original.)
So my suggestion is this, if you're planning on reading The Great Gatsby at any point in the future (or watching the movie), do that first and then read this book. But if you know you don't want to read that book, read this one anyway, and enjoy it on its own. :)

(If you're interested, I go in more details about my experience with reading this without reading the Great Gatsby in my review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) (less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Robbie
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

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Average rating 3.58  · 
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chai ♡
Oh, this book built such beautiful, ruinous, indelible images in my mind. The IMAGERY this book conjures. Still today, when I think back on the experience of reading it, I see freshly pressed silk slipping over skin and fingers sliding through hair and delicate cords of bright pearls shimmering on bare throats like sunrise on water. And a glimmer of something else too, something sharp and treacherous beneath the smooth surface: shards from a mirror that tipped off a shelf and shattered and rivul ...more
Cindy
Aug 02, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark and lyrical writing that pays an homage to Fitzgerald’s original, though the story itself left me wanting more. The book added a few magic elements and bits to the main character’s heritage that weren’t fully explored to my liking. I don’t mind light fantasy, but there seemed to be a disconnect between the main character’s heritage and magic VS a retelling of The Great Gatsby, rather than a more fluid combination. I wish the story truly felt like the main character’s own story (especially a ...more
may ➹
Jordan Baker slips in and out of people’s lives and homes, not for being quiet or unreachable but for being exoticized for her Vietnamese looks and background, despite having enough wealth and status to fit in with high society. When I first heard of The Chosen and the Beautiful and its twist in retelling the story through Jordan’s eyes, I was intrigued. I’d wondered about Jordan’s character in the original The Great Gatsby, and I thought that Nghi Vo’s decision to make her a queer Vietnamese ad ...more
ELLIAS (elliasreads)
A GREAT GATSBY RETELLING WITH AN ASIAN AMERICAN QUEER CHARACTER?????!!!!!!!????

SIGN.
ME.
THE.
HELL.
UP.
!!!!!!!!

emma
I am, as everyone knows, a hater.

I love to have an unpopular opinion. Nothing brings me more joy than the anger and fear of others in my comment section. My sole purpose in this life is to upset the people around me via literary takedowns and nothing else.

However.

I will never, ever, ever, EVER!!! DNF.

And this book is why.

I started out this book residing in Snooze City. I took a train to Sleepville with a one-way ticket, making stops in Boring Town, Dry Island, and Dull Junction. But I kept readi
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Robin
Mar 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
↠ 5 stars

This Great Gatsby retelling with a queer Asian main character has reinvented an American literary classic entirely for the better. Legendary pro golfer Jordan Baker has never been one to shy away from success. Being a queer, adopted, Vietnamese immigrant means having to work twice as hard to be taken seriously in a world that likes to treat her like an exotic centerpiece more often than not. With the 1920’s set in motion, the secluded speakeasies and intoxicating parties are at the cent
...more
Lisa of Troy
Aug 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Chosen and The Beautiful is a retelling of The Great Gatsby told from the perspective of Jordan Baker. Jordan provides some important insights into the early years of Daisy Buchanan (formerly Fay) and Jay Gatsby.

Full disclosure: I am HUGE The Great Gatsby fan. Every time, I read that book it is magic. It makes me feel like a kid all over again, trying to reach out to grab an unattainable dream. Earlier this year, I read a book called Nick which was supposed to be a Great Gatsby prequel. It
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jessica
Jul 28, 2021 rated it liked it
i thought this was going to be a retelling of ‘the great gastby,’ so imagine my surprise when i discovered its is basically the original story, but told from the POV of a new character and with some new scenes thrown in there. and because of that, i dont think this will fully resonate with readers who arent a fan of the original story. as someone who thought ‘the great gastby’ was just okay, i found this just okay, as well.

while NVs writing is actually really lovely, i think the fantasy element
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ELLIAS (elliasreads)
Jun 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, i-own, 2021-books
Slow and moving, this one takes the classic spin of the tale we all know and love- expanding the story to brighter and better heights in Nghi Vo's The Chosen and the Beautiful.

Not gonna lie, I had rather high expectations regarding this book. This retelling is almost point for point from the original storyline with some slight key differences. The parties though, are definitely a spectacular sight to explore and feel through. I just wished there were more elements that were explored and explain
...more
Melanie

ARC provided by Tor - thank you so much!

"...like some kind of sacrament that I had forgotten to take."

a queer asian-american main character great gatsby? i knew i needed this in my life. i will be honest, i have never been the biggest fan of the great gatsby, so i do believe this impacted my enjoyment a little bit, because this book does very much still hold true to the original work! but i still thought this was a beautiful reimaging, with such lush prose and one liners, that left my heart
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s.penkevich
Jun 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, magical
there was a monstrous want there, remorseless and relentless, and it made my stomach turn that it thought itself love.

When I first heard The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo was a queer The Great Gatsby retelling featuring Jordan as a queer Vietnamese refugee “rescued” by wealthy white socialites, I instantly knew this was something I needed. I had quite enjoyed her earlier novella The Empress of Salt and Fortune and knew F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic was in capable hands. This novel surpri
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Nataliya
Jun 27, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-reads
I don’t usually care for retellings, literary or cinematic. Don’t even get me started on those endless Spider-Man remakes unless you want to hear me grumble old-codger-style about those damn hacks who cannot come up with a good original story. The only sorta-retellings I enjoy are those that are more original than derivative, those that take inspiration from the original and use it as a springboard, soar above and beyond it, make it something truly fresh and new and not just a rehash of the old ...more
R.F. Kuang
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one's dazzling. ...more
Alix Harrow
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the kind of book that drowns you and leaves you grateful. sweltering, sexy, subversive, smart (look i have an alliteration problem), atmospheric, haunting, dreamy. paper magic. summer in the city. complex, fraught identities negotiated in secret speakeasies and gin-soaked parlors. it was so GOOD.
Samantha
Sep 29, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This is The Great Gatsby but told from the POV of Jordan, a minor flapper side character in the original, reimagined as an adopted Vietnamese woman living in high society NYC. The setting is also fantastical, with added fabulism so you can never quite tell what is metaphor and what is magic, with a plethora of things like demons, fae, etc. While I did enjoy Jordan’s perspective as it definitely centers on her and her experience, I wish those magical bits had been utilized more. But also
...more
Ron Charles
Jun 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Nghi Vo’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” is completely ridiculous, and I love it with the passion of a thousand burning hearts.

Not only does Vo capture the timbre of Fitzgerald’s lush prose, but she follows the trajectory of the novel’s contrails into another realm. This is a version of “The Great Gatsby” in which partygoers drink demon blood, sorcery twists the beams of reality, and Jay Gatsby is a bisexual vampire.

Finally, the story makes sense.

To read the rest of this review, go to The Wash
...more
Alexis Hall
Source of book: Bought by me (well, technically bought *for* me by a friend)
Relevant disclaimers: None
Please note: This review may not be reproduced or quoted, in whole or in part, without explicit consent from the author.

And remember: I am not here to judge your drag, I mean your book. Books are art and art is subjective. These are just my personal thoughts. They are not meant to be taken as broader commentary on the general quality of the work. Believe me, I have not enjoyed many an excellent
...more
Hayley
I loved this book! more in-depth review to come closer to its release date!
Althea ☾
“Everything changed then nothing changed. And I was still, frustratingly enough, nothing more than myself.”


I have such mixed feelings about the majority of this book but that ending with Nghi Vo’s writing style… gave me a new perspective on everything that it brought this book up from 2 stars to 3 stars.

The dark, magical, and lyrical writing of The Chosen and the Beautiful sold me so quickly at the start but as the story progressed it was a little disappointing that the story focused more on
...more
Charlotte Kersten
“When I looked at famous Jay Gatsby, soul gone and some terrible engine he called love driving him now, I could see that for him, the world was always ending. For him, it was all a wrack and a ruin, and he had no idea why the rest of us weren’t screaming.”

So What’s It About?

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society—she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, a
...more
ale ‧ ₊˚୨୧ ₊˚
The Great Gatsby retelling with a queer Asian MC? Count me in. Holy shit. Where do I sign????
Boston
Jan 09, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not quite sure how to feel about this book. On one hand I truly think Nghi Vo wrote the story better than F Scott Fitzgerald himself. It was lyrical and atmospheric just like everything else Nghi Vo has done. On the other hand, as a reimagining, I was a little underwhelmed. The majority was the same story, but just written better. The addition of magic seemed a little random and was never really explained. That said, I did like the perspective of Jordan being Vietnamese and how it affected h ...more
Ellie
this cover is f**king stunning, whoever at Tor in charge of all these recent covers is actually doing God's work

**

A REIMAGINING OF THE GREAT GATSBY BUT WITH JORDAN BAKER (my queen, my fave) AS A QUEER ASIAN-AMERICAN HEROINE??

Tor is having so many good 2021 releases holy hell
...more
Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤
Jul 07, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtqia, fiction
Meh. The best I can say about this is that I liked it more than The Great Gatsby, on which it's loosely based. I might have liked it more if it wasn't soooo much about straight relationships when I was expecting this to be more queer-oriented. Not a bad read but not all that enjoyable for me either. ...more
Romie
what a time to be queer and asian. look at us win.
Mara
Apr 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-owned, arc
I do really love the source material for this retelling, so I am happy to report this is a great example where you can love the original and the retelling for different reasons because of their different strengths. Vo's writing is so dreamy and atmospheric, and while I'm not sure I connected emotionally with the book overall as strongly as I wanted to, I did really admire the craftsmanship on display. Come for the gorgeous cover, stay for the nuanced exploration of a queer Asian character in 192 ...more
luce (currently recovering from a hiatus)
blogthestorygraphletterboxd tumblrko-fi

3 ½ stars

“He wanted something agreeable, something sweeter around the edges, but I was never very good at sweet.”


This is one of those rare cases where I ended up preferring a retelling to the original. I've only read The Great Gatsby once and at the risk of incurring the wrath & contempt of Fitzgerald aficionados, I did not much care for it. Not only does Nghi Vo’s The Chosen and the Beautiful give new dimensions to Fitzgerald's charac
...more
charlotte,
On my blog.

Rep: Vietnamese bi/pan mc, biracial Chinese bi/pan character, biracial Black Native American (Choctaw?) character

Galley provided by publisher

No one is more disappointed than me about this turn of events. I rated both of Nghi Vo’s novellas five whole stars. I really thought I would love this book equally. Instead — perhaps a little predictably, I’ll admit — my dislike of The Great Gatsby won out.

A little background first as to why I hate Gatsby quite so much, though. And it primari
...more
Philip
2ish stars.

I'm disappointed and it's hard to explain why. I started out liking the creativity of the premise, the engaging lead character, and Nghi's classical prose, but at some point I became disillusioned.

I go back-and-forth between thinking it was unnecessary to expand and complicate what was originally a slim, simple, straightforward book; and thinking it followed too closely to the original and should have really leaned into the fantasy elements to differentiate itself and justify its exis
...more
Hilly
2.5 stars

The vibes are immaculate, the writing is atmospheric and classy, but the actual novel? It offers an infidelity plot, society drama, and not much else, which doesn’t do it for me unfortunately.

What do I know about The Great Gatsby? Basically nothing; I've never read the book and I've only seen the movie once, a long time ago. I don't remember a lot, only that I did like the movie but also thought it was okay + it left me wanting more. Which is exactly the way I feel about this book. And
...more
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Fantastic Strange...: Discussion of The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo 2 28 Mar 07, 2022 06:59AM  
Top Shelf Society: About the Author - Nghi Vo 1 6 Oct 03, 2021 07:13PM  
Top Shelf Society: September’s Live Show 1 5 Oct 03, 2021 07:09PM  

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Nghi Vo is the author of the acclaimed novellas The Empress of Salt and Fortune and When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain. Born in Illinois, she now lives on the shores of Lake Michigan. She believes in the ritual of lipstick, the power of stories, and the right to change your mind. The Chosen and the Beautiful is her debut novel.

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Time is ticking! If you’re currently participating in the 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge, autumn is a good season to check your progress and...
242 likes · 48 comments
“The night before her wedding, Daisy taught me that after the world ended, you still had to get up in the morning, and the things that you ruined would still be there, needing to be fixed. When I looked at famous Jay Gatsby, soul gone and some terrible engine he called love driving him now, I could see that for him, the world was always ending. For him, it was all a wreck and a ruin, and he had no idea why the rest of us weren't screaming.” 19 likes
“There are women who will forgive a great deal for a moment of kindness from a handsome man, but Daisy and the other older girls who had taken me under their wings had taught me not to be one of them.” 11 likes
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