Review: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

The Juliet SpellI 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. Waypast. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed....

This book, to me, reads like a fluffy, light on substance contemporary that I enjoyed reading but in the end was ultimately forgettable. That's not to say that I didn't like it, this book has got the funny and the angst, all the romance and misinterpretations, a school play as a center plot and a handsome historical hero.

The main issue with this book for me, was that Rees is writing from a teenage girl's perspective and whilst most of the time this runs pretty smoothly, at the really romantic points or parts where Miranda is complaining about emotional issues it doesn't read that realistically for me. I liked the way that Edmund was written and I think the book should have been from his perspective because I think that Rees captured that Edwardian teenager in his dialogue.

I also found some parts very unbelievable - the plot develops pretty well for the first half but right near the end random things start happening that don't really affect the plot and I didn't see the point of them even being in the book. As well as this Miranda's mother's reaction to being told that Edmund is really Shakespeare's brother from the past? "Ok, he can live here then." Did not ring true to me.

I loved the romance, whilst at points it was written a little awkwardly there is all the romantic angst that I could ask for, I liked the way it developed and the way it ended really worked as well, despite the fact that it was a bit sad. I also loved Edmund as a character - he was so adorable and I loved his reactions to twenty first century technology, he was also chivalrous but all around pretty clueless. I didn't like Miranda as much, but she wasn't a bad character.

Overall, the Juliet Spell is a predictable book lacking substance and with a couple of plot holes, but with some cute romance and a fantastic concept. A fun read but don't expect too much.

Overall Rating: C+

Release: September 27 2011 / Harlequin Teen
Received as an eGalley for review through NetGalley

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