by Suzanne Harper
Quiet, plain Kate Sanderson thinks she knows everything there is to know about love and Shakespeare. Until her boyfriend dumps her and her essay on Romeo and Juliet wins her a trip to Venice to take part in a series of Shakespeare Seminars. Professoressa Marchese has a very different view of Shakespeare than Mr. Sanderson, but Kate finds it over the top. And she doesn’t get how answering letters to “Juliet” will help her and the other students understand the play. Despite her friend Annie’s prediction and despite the handsome but irksome Giacomo, Kate refuses to be transformed by her summer in Italy. But her transformation might not be something she has control over....
Like The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney, The Juliet Club surprised me. In the beginning the characters acted tiresomely like high school freshmen rather than juniors as they were supposed to be, but fortunately once Kate arrives in Italy she acts a bit more mature. While the characters stay rather flat throughout the whole novel, they do grow in some ways and that kept them interesting enough.
Unfortunately, sometimes it was very hard to keep track of which character was which, especially when several were introduced at once. Ms. Harper has a way of skipping from one “narrative” (although its in third person) to another with little or no warning, making it very confusing at times.
The plot is probably the best part about the book, because although some parts were predictable, there were clever references to Shakespeare’s plays woven into the plots. I could see some elements of Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing (very obviously), and others. The way the Bard’s characters still pertain to people today came up in the Juliet Club’s discussions, and the subtle plot bits that were similar seemed to strengthen that point.
The Juliet Club is a fun, slightly shallow read that, even though I don’t usually go for those types of books, kept me giggling and anticipating what would happen next.
Jocelyn of Teen Book Review has a thoughtful and well-written (as always) review of The Juliet Club here.
Friday, November 7, 2008
by Suzanne Harper