by Melinda Taub

Reviewer Rating:


Romance, adventure, and political intrigue abound in this delightful riff on Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet.  The novel picks up where the play ends: street brawls and suicide among Verona's youth have left the city with uneasy peace.  When Juliet's statue is defaced, tensions between the feuding Montagues and Capulets re-ignite, much to the consternation of Verona’s prince (recast here as a long-suffering and swoony hero). 

Meanwhile, Rosaline (who's crushing on the prince) and Benvolio (who thinks Rosaline is the worst) are forced into a political engagement by their respective houses.  The two form a wary alliance to prevent the marriage, only to discover something rotten brewing in Verona.

Taub skillfully weaves accessible, heartfelt teen characters with swift plotting, using pseudo-Shakespearean language through much of the dialog.  A former writer for the Onion News Network, Taub’s writing is funny and smart, and she sprinkles in a few crossovers bard fans will enjoy.  The book has obvious appeal for drama geeks, but fans of a good romance, adventure, and smart, well-rounded heroines will come away smiling.

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