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Tag Archives: Romeo and Juliet

Juliet by Anne Fortier

I was so excited to read Juliet when I saw that it was connected to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – I had just finished teaching it to my 9th graders, and I have to say, teaching vs. reading a work is such a different experience.  I read Romeo and Juliet in high school and thought “eh, it’s ok, but it’s no love story!”.  I read it again to teach it and thought, love story or not, I’m having a love affair with this writing!  While hating nearly everything about 9th grade, I’m very tempted to request to teach it again JUST so I can teach Romeo and Juliet… it’s that fun.  So, I grabbed this book.  While utterly and completely cheesy, I could not put it down.  It was so much fun!  To put it simply, Juliet is a hybrid of the Nicholas Cage movie, National Treasure, and Shakespeare’s most famous work.  I mean, seriously.  What’s not to love?!

The twists and turns in this book are frequent and artfully connected to each other.  As a reader, expect to predict one or two of them, but most, if not all, will completely surprise you!  The main character, Julie, is working at a Shakespeare summer camp when her aunt’s long-time butler comes to tell her that unfortunately, her aunt has died.  Raised from childhood with her twin sister by this aunt, Julie is taken by surprise.  Even more surprising is when the lawyer arrives to read the will.  Julie’s twin gets all the money, while Julie is left with a key to a safe deposit box in Italy, a very old cross necklace, and some documents of her mother’s.  With no money, job, or relationship with her twin, Julie has only one choice.  She books a flight to Italy, the place of her birth that she hardly remembers, but that her aunt will never speak of, and decides to get to the bottom of this family mystery.  Get to the bottom of it she does, but not before a true treasure hunt, involving the mafia, the TRUE story of Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare allegedly got a few parts wrong), getting caught up with a cult, some mistaken identities, and long-lost family members – some of whom will return from the grave!  While it may not be sophisticated literature, it is nothing but fun.  I give it 4.5 stars and highly recommend it! ★★★★1/2

– Becca

Becca’s Summer Reading List

IT IS SUMMER AT LAST!  Having completed my first year as a high school teacher, I am so unbelievably excited to spend time reading what I want, when I want, where I want.  On the beach?  I can do that!  In bed, despite it being in the middle of the day?  Already did it, and I’m not sorry!  Coffee shops, my patio, terrace cafes – I’m so excited to do some lounge reading as opposed to frantically-becoming-an-expert-on-before-teaching reading.  Oh, and everyone who thinks kids look forward to summer more than their teachers – you have obviously never taught!  I am ecstatic!  This summer, on my somewhat ambitious reading list are the following:

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster: I’ve been meaning to read this book to aid me in my teaching for years, but never had the time to sit down and actually finish it.  Anyone who is an avid reader and wants to know what’s going on in their books at a higher level should check this out – it’s like taking a college English class but on your own time and in your pjs, if necessary.

Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Gailbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling): I love Harry Potter an unhealthy amount and really enjoyed J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy as well – so I’ll read anything by this author.  I’m excited since this is a private detective story following the suspicious death/suicide of a young supermodel.  Looks fun!

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: I will admit, I know almost nothing about what this book is about.  On my way to Boston, I met another high school English teacher in an airport bar and was chatted books for an hour – it was lovely!  She mentioned that Neil Gaiman is one of her favorite authors, so when I saw this at the library, I thought I’d give it a go!

Juliet by Ann Fortier: I just finished teaching Romeo and Juliet, and am still a little obsessed.  This book is a combo of modern/historical characters – which I love – and follows Julie, who upon receiving a key to a safe deposit box in Sienna realizes that her ancestor was Juliet (yes, THAT Juliet) and Mercutio’s dying words, “A plague on both your houses…” is quite possibly a real curse still at work today.  The curse’s obvious next victim?  Julie!

The Happiness Project: or why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun by Gretchen Craft Rubin: I wrote my masters thesis on positive psychology in the classroom and now dedicating most of my waking hours to a high-stress job that can make me elated and absolutely miserable, often in the same week.  I want to be happy.  So I want to read this book!

Mean Genes: from sex to money to food, taming our primal instincts by Terry Burnham: There’s not much to say other than I studied evolutionary psychology in college and love reading this stuff.  Are we slaves to nature?  How much self-determination do humans really have?  I’ll let you know when I read it.  (Oh, and maybe the next time a furious student throws a phone at me, I’ll know it’s not her fault… it is just those mean genes!)

The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak: How have I not read this book yet??  I’ve been meaning to for years, and now, in a teacher book club that meets only in the summer months, I am!  Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, a young foster girl collects books that don’t belong to her – and shows how literature can be a powerful, life-changing force.  I’d love to use this for supplemental literature in my 10th grade English class in the future!

Water, Stone, Heart by Will North: Not too long ago on Facebook, an ad popped up that said something along the lines of “Did you love The Forgotten Garden?  Then you’ll love the newest book by Will North, Water, Stone, Heart!”  Well, I DO love The Forgotten Garden.  So I ordered this book without so much as reading a description of it.  Now that I have it, it looks like classic chick-lit.  It is set in England, and tells the story of a woman escaping an ugly divorce and a (I’m assuming HOT) professor of architecture whose wife has just left him.  Who cares what else it’s about – I’m gobbling this one up for sure!

I’m also spending a little time this summer working on a few writing pieces (if I ever stray from my reading list long enough to accomplish anything).  It’s slow going, and I’m not happy with much that I have on paper yet… but I’m starting!  And let me tell you, I have IMMENSE respect for all of the authors we’ve reviewed on the blog.  Writing is not an easy task at all, but oh, how thankful I am for the fruits of writers’ labors.  Enjoy your summer – and don’t forget that a good book and some SPF should be on you 24/7!

– Becca