Ronit, who is an Isreali girl, falls in love with a Palestinian boy. Their warring nations keep them from being together, as well as their families, but that doesn’t stop them from wanting to be together.
Why this book?: I’d heard about it before, I guess. I saw it in my library, and it was short, diverse, and seemed interesting. It’s also a Romeo and Juliet retelling!
Really, I was expecting more. More depth, more character, more understanding. What I actually got? Ronit and Jamil felt shallow, but sweet. You never really get to know Ronit or Jamil, but just their feelings for each other. And, this is probably just me, but it felt like it was basically just shoving a love story onto a very real, and very dangerous conflict. Romeo and Juliet at least helped create the conflict.
Ronit and Jamil are basically the definition of love at first sight. It felt cheap, how they laid eyes on each other in one moment, and the next they were willing to risk everything just to see the other. And even though the story was told in verse, in poems, it made it so much harder to understand what was going on.
The reason my rating isn’t lower is because I didn’t hate it. The story was still heartwarming, and cute in some areas, and I do have to admit that Laskin did a good job in trying to mirror the original Romeo and Juliet plot. Maybe my problem was that I hated Romeo and Juliet to begin with. Maybe I was hoping with the diverse characters and the setting, that it would be different, and somehow more real, but it wasn’t.
I read the book in two sittings, because I could. The poems went fast, the pages went faster. But I never felt connected to anything.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
Cute story, bad execution. Maybe if it wasn’t told in verse. Maybe if Laskin had taken more time to develop the romance. Maybe if the characters were more developed. Maybe, maybe, maybe, then I would have liked it better. But I didn’t.
Would I Recommend?
Probably not. It’s a very quick read, very easy, and I would recommend reading into the Palestine conflict before picking this one up. Otherwise, you’re not missing much if you decide to forego this one.
Published: February 21st, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page Count: 192
Genre: Young Adult/Poetry/Romance
Synopsis: via Goodreads
Pamela L. Laskin’s beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julietthat transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict.
Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.
The teenage lovers fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can only be kept secret for so long. Ronit and Jamil must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.
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