by Suzanne Harper
Ah I loved it! So fun, so fresh, so interesting! When Kate wins a scholastic trip to study Shakespeare in Verona, the site of Romeo & Juliet, she sees it as a way to earn college credit, not the romantic adventure her friends Sarah and Annie are sure it will be. When she arrives in gorgeous Italy she meets good-hearted, bubbly Lucy, out-of-place Tom, and the locals, Benno, Giacomo, and Silvia. The seminar takes place in an ideal Italian villa, but it is not all dry verse and precise meter. No, this summer the students learn about love from the expert himself.
I loved how the whole book resembles a Shakespeare concoction (organized into Acts and Scenes to boot!). And also resembling the bard, Harper disregards conventions. She does not bow to the lowly habits of following to the letter what characters would do. She throws that to the wind and writes what she wants the author to do! It is so much more satisfying when a character does what makes a good story, what the onlooker is screaming at them to do (i.e. Don’t go through that door! or Tell him the truth you dimwit!!) Like in Much Ado About Nothing, you don’t have to tell the audience why Don John is evil, we just accept that he is! We don’t care how unrealistic it seems that anyone would believe that Hero died of shame, it makes a better story! Authors do not need to bow to an audience nor reason.
So, as with any good book, my only complaint is that it is not longer.
p.p.s And thanks Book Shelves of Doom for the picture!
“It reminded me less of Romeo & Juliet and more of The Taming of the Shrew and some of the other comedies (lots of secret plans, spying, rivalry, extreme drama (especially from Kate’s father, who I got a huge kick out of) and even some swordplay, though there was sadly no cross-dressing). Knowledge of Shakespeare isn’t at all necessary. The characters don’t have much depth, and they sometimes seem to experience jarringly rapid changes in emotion/personality/objects of affection, but overall, The Juliet Club is quite fun.”
~ Book Shelves of Doom
* New movie coming out, Letters To Juliet (2010), might interest you if you like this book. It has a similar subject, the letters written to the tragic amorous heroine, but I don’t believe it is based off of the book. Still, looks like a fun movie!