17 October 2011

YA Book Review: The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees

Release Date: 27 September 2011
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Goodreads description:
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....
My Thoughts...

While I have to admit that this book didn't quite live up to my expectations, it was a light-hearted, quick-paced read. The premise is cute and the story is fun, but I guess I was expecting a little more pizazz. 

Miranda is a fairly typical teenager with high aspirations for her acting career. In a moment of desperation, she casts a spell, which she's not really sure will actually DO anything, and the next thing you know there is a man standing on the table in front of her, clearly from another century. He's amazed by everything in her world, from the paved streets and fast-moving cars to the tv and cell phones. Miranda (and pretty much everyone else in her life) takes Edwards appearance in stride and adapts to make him a part of their world.  Miranda even finds herself falling for him (which is unfortunate after she tells everyone he is her cousin).

While I didn't outright dislike Miranda, I had a bit of trouble connecting with her character.  She seemed a bit self-centered in my opinion.  When she casts the spell in the first place, she is really just trying to ensure through magical means that she gets the part she wants in the community play. Throughout the novel, there are few instances when she really seems to think about how her actions affect those around her. I felt like she missed a lot of what was right in front of her.

Drew was my absolute favorite character.  He was always there for Miranda, especially after she opens up to him about the Edward situation.  He takes everything in stride, but for his character, this made sense as he seems to know/study some weird stuff (yay, nerdy friends!). You could tell he had some strong feelings for Miranda almost from the beginning but the silly girl is just too blind to notice him.  Throughout the story, he is always there for her, even when he realizes that she's got it bad for Edward.  He is constantly looking for a way to help Edward return to his own time period and he's really a key player when it does come to sending Edward back home.

I truly wanted to enjoy this story and trust me, I tried.  However, there were a few things that threw me and really made it difficult to immerse myself in the world in the way that I usually can.  First, the characters were far too trusting/forgiving.  No one bats an eye when they find out that Miranda actually brought Edward from the past to the present with some crazy spell. Miranda and her mom welcome her absent father back in to their lives with open arms, despite his crazy abandonment to "find himself" without offering up any financial support or constant/continued communication. Second, the language often caught me off guard.  I expected Edward to use outdated language/phrases, but when those same words/phrases started popping up in the normal conversations of Miranda and her friends, I felt like it didn't flow quite right.  It sounded too forced. if anything, I felt like Edward was adapting his language better and often sounded more normal than anyone else.

While I might recommend checking this out from the library before buying it, I wouldn't go so far as to discourage an interested reader from checking it out. It is a fun, light-hearted read with a decent amount of humor emanating from Edward's character and his reactions to the modern world.  There's also nothing in this story that would deter me from offering it up to younger readers. Pick this one up if you're looking for something quick and fun to read.


Carina said...

I have an eGalley of this waiting for me, too, but after reading many mixed reviews about it, I always put off reading it. But I'll give it a shot soon, hoping that the positive aspects you've mentioned will predominate. :)

Thanks for sharing your opinion,
Carina @ Fictional Distraction

Alanna @ The Flashlgiht Reader said...

This one drove me crazy as well. I kept reading it because I felt invested and wanted to see what would happen, but it was so irritating. I'm very glad I didn't pay money for it.

Bookish Brunette said...

I wasn't too thrilled about this one anyway... LOL

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