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by Laura McCarthy Benson

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21 June 2012

Book Review: When You Were Mine, Rebecca Serle


Reading Level:Young Adult
Hardcover:EBook  (purchased)
Publisher:Simon Pulse 5/1/12
Parasols:2
 


Everyone knows the story of the famous Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. The greatest love story ever told. Blah blah blah. But did you know that Romeo before Juliet was Romeo was betrothed to the lovely Rosaline? If you read closely, Juliet used her feminine wiles to woo Romeo away. So this is where Rebecca Serle takes R&J and updates, deconstructs it and spins her own story.

Rob Monteg has been gone for the whole summer, working as a camp counselor. Rosaline Caplet is Rob's best friend, but there might be more going on between them once he gets home. See Rob left Rosaline with a mixed message when left.

This story was marketed as an intensely romantic, modern retelling. For me it fell a bit flat. Rosaline is a great character and she has a bit of a backbone, but once Juliet enters the picture, Rosaline becomes a wallflower. Juliet was deigned to be a terrible character, one who had serious mental issues and control issues where it concerned Rob. Right before Juliet enters the picture, Rob and Rosaline share a memorable kiss and it's decided that they are perfect for each other even if they are best friends. But this is probably the shortest lived relationship I've ever seen. It took about half a page. Because Juliet (Rosaline's cousin) is back in town when it is discovered that her father (a senator) had an affair. So for damage control they go back to the town where they once lived.  A plot device that didn't work for me. It made no sense. But in order to get Juliet and Rob together, it was necessary.

Rob and Juliet are only together for a short time and we all know how the original story ends. It's just with this story, getting to the ending knowing what was going to happen wasn't fun. It was bleak and depressing. I was still waiting for the intensely romantic story I was promised. It could also be that I am not a fan of Wm. Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet that I just couldn't allow myself to enjoy this one. I went in wanting to.

Rebecca is a debut author and I do think she has a good writing style and could really write a great subsequent book. This one just didn't work for me.

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