Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTeen

I’m Juliet. At least, I wanted to be.  So I did something stupid to make it happen.  Well, stupid and wonderful.  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....  Will Romeo steal her heart before time steals him away?  -

I love contemporaries.  I love contemporaries about school plays.  So I really expected to love this story.  Unfortunately, everything fell a little flat for me.  I had no problem with the motivations, the spell casting, the strangeness of how the spell backfired so much or how Edmund came to be in Miri's house.  What got me was the unrealistic way in which the characters moved through the story.

I try to think back to when I was 16.  If I suddenly told my mom one day that William Shakespeare's brother had shown up due to a spell I cast and that he was now going to live in our home, my mom would have either a) believed that I believed it and thus had me committed; or b) would have thought I was trying to get away with having a boy live with us by making up a ridiculous story and would have kicked Edmund out immediately.  Either way, she wouldn't have just accepted it.

Edmund is only in the 21st century for a couple hours before he decides that it is both acceptable and perfectly natural to just decide to be a part of the local acting group and try out for Romeo and Juliet.  Why is he not concerned about going back home?  Back to his own time?

I think the basic premise of the story was very good, but I think that due to the unrealistic quality of the characters' actions and reactions, it wasn't as well done as it certainly could have been. 

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