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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that -- like the classic play -- this version of Romeo and Juliet includes fighting (and killing) between Montagues and Capulets, as well as a tragic fate for Romeo and Juliet. There's some drinking and drunkenness among the teen characters. But Rosaline, the true protagonist in this retelling, is a smart, strong character who ultimately imparts an important lesson about the true meaning of love.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
This book retells the classic Romeo and Juliet from the perspective of Rosaline, Juliet's strong-willed cousin for whom Romeo first carried a torch. Other familiar characters take turns narrating, including Tybalt and even Romeo himself.
\ \ The author sticks to the basic story but does take some liberties -- one of the star-crossed lovers doesn't die, for example -- and makes the protagonists seem more selfish than tragic.
Is it any good?
Rosaline's impassioned speech about the true meaning of love -- and her own loving actions -- will warm readers' hearts.
Although the author tells this story from many perspectives, it's Rosaline's story. And it's the feisty, smart Rosaline -- Juliet's cousin, who's training to be a healer -- whom readers will instantly relate to and root for. ROMEO'S EX sticks to Shakespeare's story fairly well, even using lines from the original play. But the author fleshes out many characters and gives it a modern spin.
Some of the book's clever touches may be lost on younger readers, such as the references to other Shakespeare plays and some of the smart updates: When Benvolio goes to the Capulet party, for example, he and his father have a modern conversation about curfew.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Shakespeare's plays -- particularly Romeo and Juliet -- have remained so popular. What is it about star-crossed lovers that we find so fascinating? Can you think of other stories and movies that include the same theme? Parents may want to introduce the original text to their tweens and teens and compare and contrast the two. Do your kids prefer the Bard's version or this update?