Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Juliet Spell

Rees, Douglas. The Juliet Spell.
Release date 27 September 2011. E-ARC received from Netgalley.com

Miranda is convinced that if she can get the lead role in her community's production of Romeo and Juliet that her life will be better-- her father will return, her mother won't have to work so hard, and she'll find the romance that is lacking in her life. She uses a spell book to make her fondest desire known... and instead of getting the role, brings one Edmund Shakesshaft (aka Shakespeare) into our time. He has some trouble understanding all of the changes in society, but soon is passing himself off as an English cousin of Miranda's and acting as Romeo in the play. Miranda soon has a crush on him, but he is intrigued by the loose morals of some of the other women around. When the director has a heart attack and the play is in jeopardy, Miranda, Edmund and the other actors band together to keep the production going forward. Miranda's friend Drew (who has a crush on her) manages to figure out how Edmund traveled through time, but before sending him back, manages to bring his brother, William, into the present as well. Will the show go on? Will the Shakespeares go back to their own time or rewrite history in order to stay?
Strengths: I adore Rees' writing. It's got a fast-paced, slightly snarky tone that is a pleasure to read. Edmund's dialect and old-fashioned attitudes ring true, even while he is assimilating into the present. Rees also has stand out moments when he has parents guard the alcohol at a party, mentions that Latin in the schools is dead (has no one else realized this?), and has Drew driving my favorite car, a Citroen CV2. This is perfect for high school freshman when they are reading the play, Romeo and Juliet. Very, very fun.
Weaknesses: This definitely falls into the high school category. The emphasis on Shakespeare, which middle schoolers haven't gotten to yet, would be enough to put it there, but there is also mention of several characters having relations as well as a completely random (in the ARC) f-bomb at the beginning. Still, for high school readers who love paranormal romances, this is perfect.

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