cover image Saving Juliet

Saving Juliet

Suzanne Selfors, . . Walker, $16.95 (242pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-9740-7

Selfors (To Catch a Mermaid ) injects an angst-ridden 17-year-old Manhattan actress into Shakespeare's star-crossed romance, yielding hilarious and often very clever results. Mimi loathes her role as Juliet, but she feels pressured to continue acting in order to save her family's theater. When she is magically transported into Shakespeare's play, she instantly connects with Juliet, who is being pressured to marry Paris to save her family's name, and she becomes determined to give Juliet a “happy ending.” There are plenty of twists as Mimi meddles with Shakespeare's characters (she begins a romance with smooth-talking Benvolio, for example). The author even plays off traditional plot points, providing original versions of the infamous balcony scene and the potion that mimics death. Readers will have fun with the characters, from a womanizing teen heartthrob who inadvertently travels back with Mimi (and reworks a pop song with Mercutio) to a spirited Juliet, who starts a rumor about a boil on her bottom to try to discourage Paris. Mimi herself is an honest, savvy narrator; she relates much of Shakespeare's plot to readers, and occasionally addresses them directly (e.g., “Turn the page for the grand finale”). The book ends a bit quickly, but after so much drama, readers will welcome the neat, happy conclusion. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)