September 25, 2011

This did not cast a spell on me...

Title and author: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Date: Sept. , 2011
ISBN: 9780373210398
Source: NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):
I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn't get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren't any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I'd cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William's younger brother.

Good thing he's sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he's from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed.... 

My Thoughts:  
Rees has an interesting plot idea for the novel - what if the brother of Shakespeare came to modern time? For me as a reader, the novel was a miss.

This novel would have been more effective had it been written from Edmund's point of view. It is difficult for the reader to truly capture the essence of this novel through Miranda's eyes.   

What I liked: 

The overall idea for the novel was clever.
Interesting characters - Miranda and Drew were the best developed. 

What I did not like:   

Edmund's Elizabethan English was hard to muster in the novel. It was distracting more than enhancing, disrupting the flow of reading. Had Miranda been transported back to the Renaissance, the plot and the flow of the novel would have worked.

The relationship between Miranda and Edmund was not a high point. It should have been the focus; instead, it was not a well-developed plot point. I did not buy for a second that Miranda had feelings for Edmund.

I take issue with Miranda's mother being so accepting of a man who was brought from the past to the future being in her home. It is reminiscent of Bella's relationship with Charlie in the Twilight series. Again, a plot point that was not well-developed. 

Final Thoughts 
The idea for the novel is a clever one, and as a reader I was intrigued immediately to see where the author would take me. I have taught Shakespeare for twelve years, so I am always looking for interesting reads to share with my students to help make him more topical to their world. I had high hopes for this novel, but it fell flat. With that said, there is an audience for this book, but I do not believe that audience includes avid Shakespeare fans. 

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