Thursday, 29 September 2011

Review ~ The Juliet Spell ~ Douglas Rees

Title: The Juliet Spell

Author: Douglas Rees

Published: 27th September 2011

By: Harlequin Teens

Source: netgalley

First line: “Miranda Hoberman”

Last line: Our hands stayed locked together.

Fave Line: “A girl? Nay, wench.”

When I requested a copy of this from netgalley I was expecting it to be a modern remake of Romeo and Juliet as many books have been recently. Not the case. The Juliet Spell is a story whose basis lies in the creator of the original tale rather than the tale itself.

The Juliet Spell tells the story of Miranda Hoberman who more than anything wants to play the part of Juliet in an upcoming production at her high school, a role that her mother, who was once an actress always dreamt of attaining but never did. In order to further improve her chances of getting the role Juliet decides to use a little bit of magic and creates a spell which will ensure she gets to play Juliet. The spell goes slightly awry however and Miranda finds herself face to face with Edmund Shakeshaft, Shakespeares brother and it appears he’s here to stay...

Whilst helping him to adjust to her world Miranda finds herself falling for Edmund, even more so after he takes on the role of Romeo in the play, acting alongside her as Juliet. The course of true love never runs smooth of course and Juliet soon finds her Romeo in the arms of another. In the midst of this there are jealousy issues between many of the many characters in the book and after the director falls ill it looks like the play is going to be cancelled. It is during this time that one of Miranda’s best friends Drew solves the time travel mystery and brings Mr Shakespeare himself into the equation for the grand finale.

This had quite a nice twist to it and Rees writes well for the teen market. I could see a little High School – we will put this play on – Musical element to it as I reached the final pages which I think teens will love. I also had a couple of issues however. I was surprised at how easily Miranda’s mother accepts her daughter’s claim that the strange man sat in her house is a time traveller and coincidentally, William Shakespeare’s brother. Not even a small interrogation? Really? I was also surprised at how readily her father was accepted back into the home seeing as he had gone wandering years before, it lacked a little credibility. I also found the inclusion of the complex descriptions of the reasons for the time travel to be a little out of place. It just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story.

It sounds as though I’m slating the story which I’m truly not. I think there are many great elements to this book including the Shakespearean quote which may even encourage teens picking up one of the classics. Many of the characters are quite sweet including Edmund who is cute mainly because of perpetual state of confusion and Drew who’s just sweet.

I think this book suits the YA market completely and if you like a little bit of magic and drama then this may be the one for you!

Rating: 3 out of 5.


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