by Suzanne Selfors
Mimi Wallingford, the great-granddaughter of the famous
actress Adelaide Wallingford, has a life some can only dream about. She is an
actress playing Juliet in her family’s production of Romeo and Juliet.
Mimi is playing opposite to teen heartthrob Troy Summer, who is playing Romeo.
The catch for Mimi is that she has no interest in acting, something her mother
cannot understand. But when Mimi, along with Troy, are magically transported
into Shakespeare’s Verona, they both experience the Montagues and Capulets feud
first hand. When Mimi meets Juliet, she realizes that they are not that
different, and Mimi does not want to see the tragic end of Romeo and Juliet
play out. But what will happen if they change the ending to this famous
This book was a unique adaptation of the original play of Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare. It takes place in the modern world (2006, when this book was published). This book was laid out as Mimi Wallingford’s recounted story of what happened when she was magically transported to Shakespeare’s Verona. I found that to be a very entertaining way to tell Mimi’s story. The characters, especially Mimi, were interesting to follow. The pacing was very good, and the parallels between Mimi and Juliet were written well. The only issues that I had with this novel was Benvolio’s character change (as he was changed to be a man who was an awful character, when he was an honest character in the original play), and the relationship between Mimi and Troy seemed rushed. This book is a different take on Romeo and Juliet, but I enjoyed reading it nonetheless. In conclusion, I would recommend that you read this book, especially if you like Shakespeare retellings!
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These Violent Delights
by Chloe Gong
It is 1926 in Shanghai, and Juliette Cai is the heir to the Scarlet Gang. After returning from America, Chloe must assert herself back into a leadership position and earn the respect of the gangsters she will one day lead.
On the other side of town is the White Flowers, the Scarlet Gang’s only opposition. At their helm is Roma Montagov, Juliette’s once lover, now turned enemy.
While both heirs try to navigate the hierarchy within their gangs, a madness takes the city. Civilians, and gangsters on both sides are starting to claw their own throats out and the city is afraid. Together, Roma and Juliette must figure out the cause of this disease and end it.
In this Romeo and Juliet retelling, Chloe Gong weaves a beautiful and inventive tale full of intrigue and action. It is compelling and witty and is sure to leave your heart pounding.
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The Silence of Bones
by June Hur
It is 1800 in Joseon, Korea and Seol is indentured to the Police. She spends her days doing menial tasks and fending off homesickness and memories of her long lost brother.
Suddenly, Seol finds herself helping a young inspector solve a high profile killing of a noblewoman. As they work together, Seol and the inspector form a bond of friendship that is truly tested when he becomes the prime suspect.
Seol now feels the burden of solving the case and figuring out who killed the noblewoman.
June Hur has written an elegant and atmospheric story, a true wonder in YA historical fiction and mystery.
Blood Water Paint
A debut novel based on the true story of the iconic painter, Artemisia Gentileschi.
Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.
She chose paint.
By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.
He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.
I will show you
what a woman can do.
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In trouble again after a suspension from school and a runaway attempt, Winston is sent to spend time with his father—a journalist who hasn’t been around much since his family split up a year ago.Travelling to Nova Scotia with his father, who is covering what he thinks is just a human interest story about a man trying to run across the country, Winston spends a day with Terry Fox and his best friend, Doug. Their determination to achieve what seems like an impossible goal makes a big impression on Winston, and he takes courage and inspiration from Terry’s run. He is overjoyed when his father’s article about the Marathon of Hope ignites public interest across the country.
But when Winston discovers that his father’s next article about the Marathon of Hope will characterize Terry and Doug in an unflattering way, he is furious with his father and fearful of betraying his friends. Unsure of what to do or where to turn, Winston decides it is time to make a run for it himself…
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The Kite Runner
If you’re interested in cultural novels, then this novel will definitely intrigue you. In Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, the reader will read about the experiences of a young boy named Amir, who lives in Kabul, Afghanistan during the 1970s. Amir narrates the experiences of his life as he witnesses tragic and life-altering events.
The novel highlights major aspects of guilt, redemption, and the dangers of a caste system. This cultural book by Hosseini is exceptionally written, as he portrays a character who is mostly flawed and shows the raw aspect of individuals living in a Middle Eastern country. Hosseini’s work will never disappoint, and this novel will open one’s mind to different experiences of people all around this world.
Amir often faces great challenges, his integrity and loyalty put to the test. His character development is ultimately an opinionated question as readers often view this central character in both a negative and positive light. As a reader, connecting to a novel often takes time, but the plot of this novel will intrigue the individual. This novel may contain some mature scenes and languages, so viewer discretion is advised. – Iffat A.
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Girl in the Blue Coat
It is the year 1943, and the German army has invaded Amsterdam. Hanneke, an 18-year-old young woman, keeps herself and her family afloat by finding and selling goods on the black market. She does all this under her protective parents’ radars. Day in and day out, Hanneke seeks to find items her clients ask for until one request is much different and stranger than what she has gotten before.
As she is making a routine delivery, regular customer Mrs. Janssen asks for Hanneke’s help. Expecting Mrs. Janssen to inquire about the findings of more meat or other goods, she is shocked when she hears that Mrs. Janssen wants her to find a person! To be exact, her name is Mirjam Roodveldt and she is a 15-year-old Jewish girl. Not only alarmed at the odd request, Hanneke is aghast that Mrs. Janssen was hiding someone in her house. A Jew. The punishment would be immediate deportation with her life on the line.
Although Hanneke has promised herself not to get involved, she can’t help but be pulled into this mystery. How could a frightened girl leave when there seems to be no way she could have left the house? And why? As she dives deeper down into this dangerous puzzle, Hanneke entangles herself in a story no one has yet to uncover.
Reading this historical fiction book was exciting yet educational. Girl in the Blue Coat was entertaining as well as emotional and mysterious. It left readers guessing how, and why, at every turn of the page. This book dove right into the plot with the right level of backstory. I highly enjoyed the plot as well as the characters, storyline, and genre. – Juliana M.
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Melanie J. Fishbane
For the first time ever, a young novel about the teen years of L.M. Montgomery, the author who brought us ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery — Maud to her friends — has a dream: to go to college and become a writer, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy — her dreams of being a writer are much more important. But life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future — and her happiness forever.
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