Monday, January 16, 2012

3. The Juliet Spell

Book #2: The Juliet Spell
Author: Douglas Rees
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Pages: 304
3 Gold Stars

(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. Waypast. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

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

I really like Shakespeare. In Grade 9, we read Romeo and Juliet and I fell in love. I couldn't wait to get to English class and read it. I'm still the same. I enjoy any movie based on his plays and I will pick up any book with the mere mention of his name. That's what drew me to The Juliet Spell. It involves my favourite play and even Shakespeare himself. My exceptions were a little high I guess because it wasn't quite what I thought it would be. The concept was there: girl wants to be Juliet, girl casts a spell, girl gets Shakespeare's brother from the 1500s and falls in love with him. The problem was that I was never rooting for Miranda and Edmund. I didn't see the spark that she saw. I didn't think they were connected at all. Maybe the author didn't describe Miranda's feelings well enough or they just weren't believable because I didn't feel any real emotion from either of them. When I think Romeo and Juliet, all I think is passion so feral that they can't live without each other. That is the kind of passion I expected here, seen as Romeo and Juliet played a very important part in the plot.

A lot happens over the course of Miranda getting the role of Juliet and preforming it. There is drama, fights, heartbreak, and sex. There was an awful lot going on around Miranda and it seemed really easy to fake Edmund as someone from this century. The transition for him was funny. Him seeing a cell phone, TV and shower for the first time was pretty entertaining. But after the initial shock, he seems to adapt quite quickly. If I were him, I probably wouldn't want to leave the house. Everything feels a little rushed with no real emotionally connection. I was left wanting to know more about every character in the book and without an emotional bond to any of them. It's a tad disappointing since that is my main focus for reading, especially when the novel is written in first person. I want to feel everything that character is feeling. I want to go into her head and feel her heartbreak, her passion and her excitement when she gets her first kiss. That is what is truly important to me and this novel didn't give me much of that.

The Shakespeare references are a nice touch and it's nice how most of them come from Edmund and William tends to steal them. This makes for a twist on what could have happened four hundred years ago. But alas, I always want more. I'll just keep searching for the book that breaks my heart as much as Romeo and Juliet did.

"I cast a spell to make me Juliet. It worked. But I forgot that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy. I got what I asked for."

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