Book Review: The Juliet Spell

The Juliet Spell 
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Page Count: 304
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult

The Juliet Spell was an unexpected surprise for me. I typically expect books published by Harlequin Teen to be full of romance, but The Juliet Spell isn't driven by the romantic elements at all. The title pretty much sums this one up - It's about a girl who casts a spell in order to land the role of Juliet in a local production of Shakespeare's famous tale of star crossed lovers. Miranda turns to magic to land the iconic role of her dreams and in the process brings forth Edmund, the younger brother of the famous playwright, William Shakespeare.

Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite works by Shakespeare so I was excited to see that this book was really going to focus on the play. However, it did take some time for me to really get into this read since I was never an actor myself. Rees does a nice job of bringing the art of community theater to literature and helps transport the reader into the experience. Furthermore, he doesn't stop there. Rees also includes elements of Shakespeare's life, magic, and time travel to create an enjoyable reading experience. However, I was slightly frustrated that the magic that seems to cause all the havoc in the beginning is never really explained nor does it really have a lot to do with the plot after the initial conflict of Edmund's arrival.

A word of caution to readers - this one starts out pretty slow, but stick with it. Things do begin to pick up and once I hit the middle I couldn't put this one down. One of my favorite elements was watching Miranda and Edmund as they progressed into their Beatrice and Benedict phase. Much Ado About Nothing is another of my favorite Shakespeare works so seeing them become mirrors of those two famous characters was a lot of fun and produced quite a few laughs. This is a quick, fun read that is sure to introduce Shakespeare in an inventive way to a younger generation.

One Last Gripe: I was hoping for a different ending even though I knew I wasn't going to get my way.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The humor

First Sentence: "Miranda Hoberman."

Favorite Character: Edmund

Least Favorite Character: Vivian

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...