William Shakespeare is a fantastic writer, honestly. He's created a lot of words we use today, his writing is really beautiful and descriptive and there's a reason we quote him so much. However, I hate Romeo and Juliet. I hate most of the plays I've read, really, but especially Romeo and Juliet. I always thought it was stupid that Romeo would be so in love with Rosaline and then within minutes it's all about Juliet. I couldn't stand how whiny they were without each other because you're like 14 and there should be more to life than each other, no matter what time period it is. Like, don't you have something you like to do besides that? Anybody you remotely like? And you've known each other for three days, decide to run away together, then kill yourselves because of stupid misunderstandings? Just...no. I could not stand these characters. However, I usually do pretty well with Shakespeare related YA, so I decided to give this a chance. Maybe Romeo and Juliet will redeem themselves! Maybe something will be different!
I really liked Rosaline. I wasn't crazy about her friends (well meaning, fairly typical teenagers, a bit too shallow for my taste), but Rose had a bit more to her and she was nice. She was a genuinely good person and I hated seeing how upset she got about all this and how much it hurt her. She didn't deserve that, but you know, that's how the story goes.
I wanted to hate Rob from the beginning, I really did. But Rose really loved him and he seemed like this great guy, so when he went to Juliet it, it was pretty devastating to read. He was so sweet and so unsure but he wanted their relationship to work and then, again, in minutes he's in love with Juliet. I hated it in the original play and I hated it here.
The story itself was really well done. We actually understand why the families hate each other (was there a reason given? I don't think there was...) and it made some sense. Juliet is not the perfect, innocent little flower Shakespeare made her seem like, but she's also not the devil we originally believe. There were just a few little twists to make it fit with the new setting. There were also a couple twists at the end that I have mixed feelings on, but I can't really explain without spoiling things. Rebecca Serle knows how to write and I'll be happy to check out her other books in the future.
Overall...I really enjoyed most of this book. Then one little twist happened and I got upset but figured it'd work out, but it started going downhill. By the end, I do think it redeemed itself pretty well, but I can't love this book because of the little twist that I can't discuss. I was hoping for something different out of the ending and I didn't get that.
So, make of that what you will. I genuinely enjoyed the story, I was emotionally involved (maybe TOO involved) and it was well written. Just a couple factors towards the end kept me from really, really enjoying this book, but that's a personal preference. You might feel differently.