Friday, 20 April 2012

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

When You Were Mine
Rebecca Serle
Simon Pulse
[May 1, 2012]

In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale. What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.    
Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.    
Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….
Guys, let's have a little chat.

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.

--Julie

3 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm also always made that Romeo and Juliet kill themselves over a few misunderstandings. Whenever I watch the movie I always think to myself, "Romeo, just wait a few more minutes and then you'll know she's not dead!!!!" They're like the original insta-love that all us bloggers hate to read about, lol! Anyway, this sounds like an interesting book. Thanks for sharing :)

    Crystal @ Elegantly Bound Books

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  2. I love Shakespeare! One of my Undergrads degree focused on the Renaissance, in particular the Tudor Monarchy and Shakespeare, so I know his works well. Romeo and Juliet was never a favorite of mine either. You can look at Romeo and Juliet in a new way - at 14 love feels like life and death and in a way this play really portrays that well.

    This sounds soo good. I would imagine myself wanting to hate Rob from the beginning as well, knowing that he leaves Rose for Juliet who the blurb portrays as everything but nice and good. I'm all about getting the background and history information - I would love to know more about the 2 families!!

    I can't wait to read this book! Great review hun!

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  3. The story looks very interesting. Thanks for the review.

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