Monday, May 28, 2012

When You Were Mine, by Rebecca Serle

Release date: May 1st 2012
Published by: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4/5 stars
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy… and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends…

I'm probably the only person in the entire planet that hasn't read Romeo and Juliet yet. I know the basics, but not the whole story. That said, When You Were Mine was, although an adorable book, not as intense as I thought it would be. I read Juliet Immortal a couple of months ago - yet another retelling of Romeo and Juliet -, and to be honest, I was a bit traumatized. That book wasn't bad - it was downright awful. So you can only imagine how hesitant I was to dive into this story. Fortunately, I wasn't disappointed. 

Rose's situation would be ridiculous if Rebecca Serle hadn't written it so well. After losing Rob, her best friend - and practically her boyfriend - to her beautiful cousin, Rose's heart is broken. Her emotions are all over the place, and the fact that Rob seems to be suddenly in love with Juliet doesn't help at all. Rose's family also has some history with Juliet's, and to top it all off, her best friends themselves are struggling with relationship issues. Rebecca Serle, like I mentioned earlier, has an incredible writing style, which, honestly, was the only thing that kept the plot from becoming something too dark.

The most admirable quality of this novel, however, are the characters. A stand-alone novel doesn't usually have a lot of character development, but in When You Were Mine, it blew me away. Rose, especially, changed so much throughout the story, that I barely recognized her in the end. A romantic element is also thrown into the mix, and that only enhanced Rose's beliefs and personality. I grew very fond of her.

When You Were Mine is a refreshing read, and even though I can't give it a 5-star rating - I didn't love it that much - I'd recommend this novel to everyone, even those - like me - who hasn't read Shakespeare's play yet. It was interesting, to say the least, to view things from Rosaline's point of view, to see Juliet and Romeo's romance differently. And now... I want to read the original play that much more.

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