A Novel by Barbara Dee

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Mattie is thrilled when she learns the eighth grade play will be Romeo and Juliet. In particular, she can’t wait to share the stage with Gemma Braithwaite, who has been cast as Juliet. Gemma is brilliant, pretty—and British!—and Mattie starts to see her as more than just a friend. But Mattie has also had an on/off crush on her classmate Elijah since, well, forever. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things offstage are beginning to resemble their own Shakespearean drama: the cast is fighting, and the boy playing Romeo may not be up to the challenge of the role. And due to a last-minute emergency, Mattie is asked to step up and take over the leading role—opposite Gemma’s Juliet—just as Mattie’s secret crush starts to become not-so-secret in her group of friends. In this funny, sweet, and clever look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to become a lead player in her own life.

Okay! First recommendation from my oldest child and honestly… I absolutely adored this book. First of all, the characters in this book are just so dang sweet and wholesome. Like honestly even the ‘mean kids’ have their precious moments in this story.. the scenes were so vibrant and vividly written, but yet it was written in a very simplistic and easy to read style for younger readers to comprehend.

I wasn’t a huge fan of all the Romeo and Juliet stuff, but that’s just because I’ve never really read, watched or have been into Shakespeare.. so although I do think the school play was a fabulous setting for this story to take place around, I feel like they just put a lot of emphasis on the meanings and reasons behind Romeo and Juliet into the story, which I didn’t care much for. Honestly, I don’t care why that one background character in Romeo and Juliet said that one specific joke, move on with the story that I am currently reading… it almost felt like those parts were just in there for some filler.

But aside from that taking up a lot of the book, I loved the way that the story played out, you could really feel the confusion and realizations and emotional changes that happened in the main character while she was figuring out her sexual identity and coming to terms with what being bisexual actually means, in a very understandable and matter of fact way.

I really enjoyed this book, and honestly I’m really happy that I bought this book for my kiddo for Christmas. Highly recommended.

I rate this book




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