When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Source: I borrowed a copy of this book.)
So if you haven’t heard, this book is a retelling of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ from Rosaline’s perspective.
Rosaline and Rob (Romeo) have been friends forever, but this year something is different. Rob’s been away at camp all summer, and now he’s back, and he’s asking her out on a date. Rosaline thinks that all her dreams have come true, and imagines herself and Rob together senior year, and then going away to Stanford together to college the next fall.
The arrival of Juliet – Rosaline’s cousin back into town causes problems though, especially as the first thing she does is ask Rob to the fall dance. After dancing with Rob, Rosaline thinks that everything is okay between them, then comes back from the bathroom to find him entwined in Juliet’s arms.
Rose is devastated, and tells Rob that they are no longer friends. But just seeing him with Juliet at school every day breaks her heart. How can she live with watching the two of them every day, and can she find a way to get over Rob?
I have been desperately wanting to read this book, and at the same time worrying that the ending would just kill me. I mean, this is Romeo and Juliet, we all know there’s no happy ending coming don’t we?
Fortunately this book is well written, and the storyline just sucks you up. You almost forget that this is ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at times, because Rosaline is the main character, and it’s through her eyes that we see the story. In fact the story of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is actually a sort of secondary story in this book, which leaves Rosaline’s story open to development.
Rosaline is a sweet girl, who’s just trying to make her grades, and find a little love along the way. Her two best friends have boyfriends, and are starting to talk about sex, and she thought that this year she would be talking about it right along with them, and that her best friend Rob would be the one that she would do it with. With Juliet’s arrival things just begin to go wrong though.
I felt really sorry for Rose, because she did nothing wrong, and to be honest, I was actually pretty mad at Rob to be honest. It’s not fair to be almost going steady with someone, and then to suddenly start dating her cousin; and this annoyed me. I totally think that Rosaline had a right to feel betrayed, not only by Juliet, but also by Rob. If he had really loved her would never have left her for Juliet.
Luckily Rose had her best friends Charlie and Olivia to support her, and I think this really helped her. Charlie was obviously the leader of the pack, whilst Rose and Olivia were the quieter ones, but the three worked well together.
The feud between the families was also a background story, and the feud was more between Rosaline’s and Juliet’s families – their fathers (who were brothers) had had a falling out previously, which was also a slight variation on the storyline.
Overall, this was a well written book that kept me hooked right from the beginning. Rebecca Serle has taken ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and told us a new part of the tale in a modern setting, and it really works. And even with the unhappy event that we know is coming, the ending of this book is uplifting rather than depressing.
9 out of 10.
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