Monday, August 18, 2008

Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfours

(see previous post for cover). Publisher: Walker & Company, New York.

Mimi Wallingford’s life has always been shadowed by her family’s reputation as the Manhattan Wallingfords, famous Broadway actors. The only place she considers home is the Wallingford Theatre – but the thought of performing on it makes her sick.
To help with rising debt and to make her mother’s wishes of stardom for her daughter happen, Mimi plays Juliet in Shakespeare’s famous play. Her lover? None other than Troy Summer, California teen pop star and current heartthrob. Mimi doesn’t think her life could get any worse.
On the day of the last performance, Mimi wears a necklace her Aunt Mary gave her, supposedly containing the ashes of the quill Shakespeare wrote with. When she refuses to take it off, a fight erupts and the necklace gets broken, sending Troy and Mimi back to 16th century Verona and in the households of Montague and Capulet.
From henceforth, the book becomes a mash-up of 21st century teen thinking and 16th century society, with Juliet in the midst of it. Mimi can’t let Juliet die, but things don’t go as planned at the party. Paris the pervert, will marry Juliet; Mimi falls in love with Benvolio, whose pick-up line for every girl is “your beauty makes the torches burn brighter.”; and everyone is beginning to hum Troy Summer’s next hit “Girl, oh oh oh oh oh girl.” Tybalt is a bully, and Mercutio is….well Mercutio. Example – two of Mercutio’s songs he’s written include “Girl, Come Hither and We Shall Dither “as well as “ Girl. Come and Handle my Candle.”
Shakespeare gets re-written in his hilarious outtake of what happens in Verona. Mimi is still trying to find true love herself, and Troy is making that difficult, not only with his playboy ways, but with his hot looks as well. Readers will laugh out loud when reading this book as well as recognize scenes and lines from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The ending of Mimi’s play is far different from Shakespeare’s, but the similarities between Juliet and Mimi is unmistakable, as well as both Mother Capulet and Wallingford mirroring each other. Minor characters also become newer and different, including Nurse and Father Montague. Selfours has done an excellent job of writing her version of the classic by adding quirkiness, hilarity and romance into one very nice 16th meets 21st century package. I see a definite book pairing with this novel.

1 comment:

Faith said...

That is one fantastic book trailer!
As a first year media specialist (former English teacher) you have hooked me. If you don't mind, I have a few questions. Well one really big one - what did you use to create the trailer? I'm thinking this would be a great after-school activity for middle school students(with way less professional results) and then I could use the trailer for book talks. Do you know of any other trailers I could look at? I took a quick look but couldn't find much.
Thank you, and again, wonderful job!

Faith