Monday, May 14, 2012

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Release Date: Out now!

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 334pgs

The Story
In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo's original intended - Juliet's cousin Rosaline - tells her side of the tale.

What's in a name, Shakespeare? I'll tell you: Everything.

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 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 . . .

The Review

A big thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for sending me an ARC copy of this book!

Romeo & Juliet isn't my favourite play of all time - no point lying here because it's an okay play for me but it offers nothing to aspire to - but I was still very excited to read this book and I was really looking forward it as I love any sort of retelling of famous stories and plays set in a more modern time, especially of Shakespeare's tales. After all, the book promised me a classic 'twist' to the beloved storyline, a contemporary romance for all to love, and also an interesting take on the famous play that wasn't exactly set on Juliet herself which was rather an interesting take and trust me here folks it delivered something very entertaining indeed.

Rosaline and Rob have been best friends forever and they share the type of relationship where more could happen between them, only it kind of depends on these two people in question to make a move in order for the sparks to fly if you get my meaning. And it happens - it finally does for these pair of best friends! They go out . . . they kiss . . . they fall in love with each other . . . they admit their feelings for one another . . . and it almost happens like in Rosaline's dreams and just abut everything in the universe is finally working in this new couple's favour. However like in all almost-too-perfect and too-good-to-be-true romances, everything is ruined when Rosaline's estranged cousin, the troublesome Juliet (yes, Juliet the girl whom steals all the guy's hearts and Romeo's) comes back to town and makes it known to the world that she wants Rob all to herself, and like how the original story plays out, Juliet ends up winning Rob's heart without question and poor Rosaline is left in the dark with her best friend slipping right through her fingers.

Despite the cliches, the predictability and the somewhat 'I-totally-saw-this-coming!' type of ending, I was actually really impressed by this young adult book and its characters, even though there was one character in particular that I couldn't stand. Anyway now onto the main character. Now I would have totally been Rosaline's friend back in high school which made me like her even more than I already did. She was honest. She was believable. She was awesome! Sure she was someone with a long list of flaws (honestly who doesn't have them?) and she can definitely over analyse things more than she needed to, but I liked how Rosaline handled the most difficult situations she was placed in, and she was my favourite character in the entire book. Even her friends were brilliant and even her new potential love interest that was basically replacing her love for Rob . . . oh wait I won't say anymore about him but wait until you meet him. But for me, no matter how much I loved Rosaline and her crew, the only real disappointment of the book was Rob's character.

Oh Rob, you're a damn idiotic fool. Okay our Rob was our Romeo, and I thought Romeo was supposed to be this heroic type of character and swoon-worthy (okay maybe he's not because in reality he would be considered a really lovesick puppy that needed to be put down as soon as possible but whatever) but this Romeo (Rob) was a pretty pathetic character. Not only was he naive and made decisions without a single trail of thought, but he was supposedly best friends with Rosaline and was supposedly falling in love her after all this time, but apparently his head wasn't screwed on like we thought because just when everything was going right in his and Rosaline's new relationship and just when Juliet drops in, he suddenly ditches Rosaline altogether and hooks up with Juliet for all this insta-love crap which I couldn't believe. I mean, really? While the play can get away with insta-love, but personally I just don't see this really, really happening in the modern times like it did in this book . . . especially with two best friends whom clearly cared a lot about another and each other's feelings. But in all honesty, I hated Rob as soon as I met him and he didn't deserve Rosaline's love whatsoever. Then there's Juliet . . . oh don't get me started on this new Juliet. Just think Mean Girls, only one with two heads. She had all sorts of personalities she flipped through and she scared me on all levels possible. *shivers* Don't want to think about her.

Overall, Rebecca Serle's WHEN YOU WERE MINE was cleverly written and it may not have been exactly original through my eyes, but it definitely stayed true to the classic tale of Romeo & Juliet and I guess that's all we can ask for in the end. If you love books with unexpected romances, shocking twists and some edge to a contemporary retelling of a famous play, then you're going to love this book like starcrossed lovers do when they meet! There's no doubt about it in my mind!

The Rating

4/5 stars


  1. I don't even think the play can get away with insta-love. If I'm honest, I hate Romeo & Juliet, and think it's one Shakespeare's worst plays. Which is why I'm so intrigued by this book! I love retellings and this story sounds like a fab one. I've always thought Romeo was an idiot, so the fact Rob acts that way in this book isn't surprising to me :P. I'm more interested in Rosaline, she sounds like an awesome character! And Juliet sounds horrible - honestly, I think she and Rob deserve each other :P. Great review, glad you enjoyed this one! Excited to read it now.

  2. Ok, so I didn't read this because I am about to read it but I'll be back once I'm done, I did skip to the end to see your rating and I'm glad you gave it a 4, I have high hopes!!

  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this! I just got up to the part where Juliet arrives at school... What a witch!! I feel like pummeling Rob already because we know what he'll do... #Rage Great review!

  4. Awesome review.
    Do remember Romeo leaving Rosaline for Juliet.
    Should be a fun retelling.

    One question- Who do you think is on the cover. Rob and Juliet? Rob and Rosaline?

  5. Omg! so glad you enjoyed this book too, I myself would probably rate this like you did. Such a great review ERin.Totally agree with you there about Juliet, *shivers too* :)

    Great review Erin. x

  6. Oooh I'm happy to see you enjoyed this, Erin! I've had my eye on it for a while. I've been really interested in retellings lately. Great review! :D

  7. Hahahaha - in reality he would be considered a really lovesick puppy that needed to be put down as soon as possible but whatever - You tell 'em, Erin :D Your whole Rob paragraph made me laugh. Your frustration and GRRR-ness over both him and Juliet are something I find highly amusing for some reason hehe. Despite their annoy-the-shit-out-of-you charactertistics, this really does sound like a great novel and I love the idea of exploring Rosaline's story.

    Awesome review!! Love it :D

  8. THIS BOOK. It's one of my all-time faves of this year. Like, for serious. It just wowed me. The depth and connection of the characters. The romance in the best place! And there's so much insight and value and beauty in what Serle has to say, in what she does. LOVED THIS BOOK. So fab to see that you liked it so much in spite the flaws you saw in it :-D

  9. ERRRRRRIIINNN! I really loved this book. I mean, yes, it's flawed, as are the characters, but I think it takes a talented author to make us hate a character THAT much. And oh my goodness did I cry like crazy reading this. So glad you liked it, Erin!

  10. I've seen this book around, but never paid attention to the reviews on it. I don't plan on reading it, but your review made me see it in another light. I'm glad that you enjoyed it so much! Thanks for sharing your opinions!


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