****This review contains spoilers****
This book had my full attention as soon as I read the description. Finally! Someone who remembers that Romeo was all in love with someone else at the beginning of that horrid play!
What this awesome author does is take The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet and set it in modern times, telling the story from Rosaline’s perspective (the girl Romeo was all in love with until he set eyes on the wonderful Juliet and fulls in
lust love with her). My excitement could not be contained when I saw that PulseIt had this novel up for the month of June. ::dies of happiness:: This novel starts with the romance just beginning between Rob (aka Romeo) & Rosaline. They have been neighbors and best friends for their entire lives and they are in that awkward stage between friendship and romance. Then Rosaline’s cousin moves back into town and it all goes to hell. Rob drops Rosaline like a hot potato to get next to Juliet without any explanation at all beyond “I didn’t expect to fall for her” which obviously upsets Rose.
I had mixed feelings about Rose. One minute, I could completely relate to her and the next, I was so annoyed at her for acting so stupid. The same goes for her friends, one minute I was so irritated at them for being so shallow and the next they are pulling together to help Rose in any way they can. In the beginning this novel reminded me a lot of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, especially the dynamic between the friends. But the difference is that when Rose starts changing, they don’t push her away, they support her like real friends should. It also reminded of that because I knew from the beginning that she would end up with the geeky guy they were making fun of, just like in Before I Fall (except Rose gets to live happily ever after whereas Sam dies at the end of Before I Fall which made me angry to no end, but I digress).
The one thing that truly shocked me about this book was my reaction to it. Going in, I knew this was a retelling of Romeo & Juliet, so I knew that R & J were going to die, right? Wrong!
Even though I should have, I didn’t see their deaths coming, at all. I was completely fucking blindsided by it. And I could completely understand Rose’s guilt over the deaths and how she kind of collapsed into herself after the fact. I was irritated at her for pushing everyone away and at the same time, I could completely see where she was coming from. That is when I really became impressed with her friends because they refused to back down. They stand by her throughout the whole catastrophe and in the end, they make her get out of her bed and continue on with life. I think this novel is as much about friendship as it is about love and loss. It’s a really great read and anyone else who wants to see a completely unique spin on Shakespeare’s
worst most romantic play
should read it.