January 27, 2015

Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Publication date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Purchased
Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
I should probably preface this review by saying that I do not like Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. I’ve never found it particularly romantic and the ending infuriates me. I still remember watching the Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes version and hoping they would change it. (Of course they didn’t, which resulted in me yelling at my TV.) It’s this very reason that both intrigued me and prevented me from reading When You Were Mine sooner. It’s always interesting to me when authors either retell a story or pick a small character to breathe new life into. Rebecca Serle does both here but it’s particularly the voice she gives Rosaline that made me enjoy this book so much. In this modern-day interpretation, Rose and Rob (“Romeo”) are lifelong best friends who are finally taking it to the next level. It’s everything Rose hoped it would be but before they can make things official between them, her beautiful, estranged cousin Juliet shows up with only one intention in mind - to make Rob hers. And she does. Rose is heartbroken over losing Rob but that is literally just the beginning of this story.

I was surprised by how immediately I took to Rose. She’s just so nice! I know that’s a bland word to use but she was so genuinely kind and excited by the start of a romance with Rob. I think we can relate to that initial excitement. Which is why within the first few pages and against my better judgement, I was all yay Rose & Rob! But obviously, that was not how things were going to go. As soon as Juliet showed up, I started to read slower. Why? Because I knew I was going to get mad. And boy, did I. But again, this is a testament to the author’s writing because I was all invested in Rose getting a happily ever after. However, even though Rob and Juliet are in this book, it’s not about them. Their relationship affects Rose through the entire book but it’s ultimately her story. Her story of moving forward. Her awesomely supportive best friends who rally around her (and reminded me of “The Mean Girls”, except not mean). And a new guy who appreciates and sees Rose for exactly who she is (the swoons!).

(Minor) Reservations
Rob and Juliet’s didn’t come across as two people in love. Maybe in lust? In obsession? I mean, I do think they cared for each other to a certain extent. But Rob suddenly turning to Juliet felt false and their relationship alienated them from everyone (then again, this is how it went down in Romeo & Juliet). Not to mention, Juliet was not a nice person and I had no sympathy for her whatsoever.

Do I recommend?
Yes! I really, really enjoyed this retelling and I highly recommend checking it out.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. I love Romeo and Juliet, but I understand why others do not. I've had my eye out on this book for awhile. Awesome review!

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  2. Hmm, I bought this on a whim but it feels like I'll never get to it because reviews were apparently not so good (I should have checked). But maybe I'll give it a try soon. Thanks for the review, Rachel!

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  3. It makes me so happy that you enjoyed When You Were Mine, R! As you know, I really liked it when I read it. I thought it was a fun alternative + modern take on Romeo and Juliet, even though I wanted to murder Juliet many times during this tale ;)

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