Monday, March 8, 2010

Falling for Romeo by Jennifer Laurens

Falling for Romeo by Jennifer Laurens
Release Date: October 1, 2007
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 208
Overall: 4

We all know the basic story of Romeo and Juliet. Boy meets Girl, Boy and Girl fall in love, Boy and Girl’s families are mortal enemies, so the star-crossed lovers take their lives to be together. It’s one of the most tragically romantic stories in literary history.

John Michaels is the hottest guy in school, he’s treated like a god, and in the eyes of his peers he can do nothing wrong (think John Tucker in John Tucker Must Die), so it’s no surprise when he lands the coveted role of Romeo in the school play. He seems to do for this school production of Shakespeare’s classic, what Leonardo DiCaprio did for the 1996 movie version.

Jennifer Vienvu is focused, beautiful, and within her school, she is an established actress and a shoe in for Juliet. Jenn is your All-American girl, she’s lovable and kind, she gets good grades, and she’s involved. There’s only one flaw in Jenn’s professional performance is that her Juliet has to kiss John’s Romeo. What everyone doesn’t know is that the kiss they share on stage will be Jenn’s first kiss. John is the guy every girl in school wants to kiss, the guy that lives next door to her, and the guy that used to be her best friend.

Living next to each other since they were kids, John and Jenn grew up being the best of friends; they even did one of those blood ritual things to signify their friendship. As they got older and John turned into the popular guy he is now, they lost each other, they grew apart. Now they are thrown back together and there’s an undeniable chemistry between them that causes them to wonder which kisses are part of the act and which kisses are real.

When our story plants us right in the middle of rehearsal, and right in the middle of the love-hate relationship our characters have with one another. Being thrown into the middle of the story kind of jarred me at first because most of the time you read through all this back story and it takes multiple chapters before you get into the plot. After the initial shock of just being thrown in, I really enjoyed being able to get right into the plot. Sometimes you get bogged down in all the details and back story that you forget what the main plot of the story even is, and that didn’t happen here.

I absolutely loved the characters. They’re fun and vivid, you get to know more than just the main characters. The director Chip is totally amusing, even when he’s being hard on them, he’s still funny. There are also a few side characters (Fletcher, Jessica, and Freddy in particular) that only appear every so often, but they offer a few gems of their own and leave an impression. Of course all characters can’t be lovable and endearing, I honestly detested Lacey and Alex, and they annoyed me to no end.

Falling for Romeo also has another aspect that I was surprised about at first, but very much loved, it switched between Jenn and John’s point of view. A lot of times I’m wary of stories that switch POV, but I absolutely love it in this case. Jennifer Laurens does a fabulous job at bringing you into the lives of both Jenn and John through both perspectives. I loved the insight into not only how they view one another, but also how they view themselves. The tension between Jenn and John in social settings and in the moments they have alone is enough to draw you to them.

I really enjoyed Falling for Romeo, it had a unique style and that’s totally refreshing. The characters were great and well developed, and there’s enough Romeo and Juliet quotes to make anyone who’s ever read the play (or seen the movie) to make them smile. Unless they’re me, and then you quote right along with the book…only you do it out loud and get funny looks from those around you.

Plot: 4
Writing: 4
Characters: 4
Ending: 4
Cover: 3
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I received this book as part of Around the World Tours.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the sounds of this one. I love romance teen novels and alternating points of view. Another book to add to my already monstrous book list.

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