Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WHEN YOU WERE MINE by Rebecca Serle

Author: Rebecca Serle
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Number of Pages: 304
Source of Book: ARC from NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Convention
Author's Website:
*There is no cover for this book yet, so no picture is included, but will be added once the cover is revealed.

Goodreads Summary:
Rosie knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. They are best friends, next door neighbors, and the soon-to-be cutest couple in their senior class. Rosie has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her--and when he finally does, it's perfect. But just before their relationship becomes completely official, Rosie's cousin Juliet moves back into town. Juliet, who used to be Rosie'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.

Rosie 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, Rosie 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.

I was really excited to see an advanced reader copy of this book at the convention because I had heard about it/seen the summary, and it sounded really good. It ended up not being exactly what I was expecting from the summary that I had read, but I did like it; although, I was a little bit unsure in the beginning. We all know Shakespeare's version of Romeo & Juliet, but this book says Shakespeare may have gotten it all wrong because it's really a drama, and Rosaline who loved Romeo is kind of an overlooked character once Juliet shows up - in fact, she may be the wronged party in this whole equation. So in this book, we get Rosaline's side of the story. Intriguing, right? But, what I didn't realize, was that this book would be told as a completely contemporary story.

In Act I, I was a little unsure because it was feeling a little bit like a generic high school drama/popularity book, but once we got into the later acts, I started to feel the need to keep reading and not stop until I finished four hours later. I almost put it down after Act I, but still felt there was something about this book that I was really going to like, and needed to keep reading to find it. So, what I'm saying is, if you aren't sure of it in the beginning, keep going because it gets really good.

This very contemporary high school romance book has the obvious (and some more subtle) references to Romeo & Juliet which makes it a great tie-in to hand to students to compare and spot the connections. I can see it being very popular in high schools. It was a fun read, a little angsty, but it's Romeo & Juliet, so that's expected. However, Juliet in this book, is not the same Juliet you remember from the original version! And, this is actually a good story on friendship and family, which at the start I didn't think it would be, but ended up being my favorite part of the story.

Overall, it was feeling a little surface level to me in the characters - maybe because there were so many secondary people (and I found it jarring to my reading each time they used the first and last names of all these people), but as the book continued, we got to delve deeper into the motivations of these characters later in the book. That's when it turned really good to me. When we found out more about Len, and some of the reasons the girls were acting how they were, it started to get way more interesting to me.

Towards the end, there were some really strong themes and messages as Rosaline starts to move beyond her feeling that Rob is "the one" for her. It talks about reacting to what happens in life because we can't control it and having choices and needing to make them and that is what determines how we look at life. By the end, in Acts 4 and 5, I was really into it and felt it evolved beyond the typical and was something deeper that I was really enjoying reading. So, give this one a shot in May, you'll find a fun read with a sweet boy and a girl who has to go through some deep looking at herself to come out on the other side realizing what's really important in life and how to make the most of it.

1 comment:

  1. Okay! I will definitely read past Act one! Wasn't Rosaline who Romeo was already engaged to when he met Juliet? Interesting. I'll defintely add this to my TBR list.