One trick to keeping the pace going is that the POV switches from character to character. I'm not a fan of it in this book, mostly because sometimes it's clunky. It's like we, the audience, have to be present for every scene from the play, but there are certain characters who will never have the POV (Juliet), so we have to overhear them through another character - even if that character is already dead. Which is awkward. And some characters get only one shot at POV, then never return to the helm - which is also awkward.
HOWEVER, I love this novel. I love the way it moves, and I love the way Rosaline thinks. Sure, sometimes I wanted to shout "TROPE!" when she did things like study healing herbs or deny love then fall directly into it with the wrong man, but her mistakes in that department don't last long, satisfyingly. Because, really, what's an exploration of Romeo and Juliet without a real romance to parallel the impetuousness of the two leads? PLUS there are a few characters from other plays who show up occasionally on the streets of Verona, and not arbitrarily. I don't want to give that all away, but one of them is a dog.
Above all, I love that this novel is about consequences. Romeo and Juliet are the type of characters who do not think things all the way through, and their behavior is reckless and dangerous as a result. A lot of times they're looked to as romantic or heroic, but really they're cowardly. They marry in secret, rashly underestimating their parents' wrath and the dangers it creates for everyone else, then they commit the most selfish act of all: suicide.
And for all the romanticizing suicide gets in this play, Rosaline's reaction to Juliet's contemplation of it is great:
"'The only victory is summoning the audacity to stay. If you truly wish to exert power in the face of your father's cruelty, there is only one thing for you to do.'This is after delivering a ringing slap to the tweenage Juliet who has already received the Friar's potion. Is it comforting, though, to think that Juliet had someone who cared about her this much, who offered her better advice than anyone else, and that she still followed through on her impulses? Or more tragic?
'And what is that?' she asks.
This novel definitely doesn't shy from the dark stuff, but it's very mature and gentle in its presentation of young love, age-old hate, and untimely death.
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (September 19, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805075003
- ISBN-13: 978-0805075007