Saturday, August 11, 2012

Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website:

In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

Review:

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle was Simon Pulse's "What's Raising Our Pulse?" pick for the Summer 2012 season so when I received a copy in the mail, I was beyond excited to read it. I'm always up to trying Shakespeare retellings, especially when it's one of Romeo and Juliet. Plus, I just loved how it was going to be told from a modern day Rosaline's POV. Unfortunately, it didn't manage to live up to my expectations, as not only could I barley relate to the characters, I found the plot twists irrational and sudden as well as the story not that grabbing.

As I've said before in other reviews, when I can't relate to the main characters in a book, that's usually where it ends for me. Therefore, when I couldn't relate to Rose or Rob or Juliet, I knew it was a bad sign. Rose just got on my nerves to say the least. I couldn't stand how up she was on Rob when it was easy to see he wasn't the right guy for her, or how easy she always was to try to appease Juliet. All I wanted to do was shake some sense into this girl. Rob and Juliet were just the same...I found Juliet to be flighty and malicious and Rob to be naive and senseless, especially given their decisions at the end. The one character I did enjoy, though, was Len. He was so sweet and caring, especially when it came to Rose. He was just a great all around guy, and I loved learning more about him.

The plot in this one was what brought When You Were Mine to my attention in the first place. However, it was another portion I wasn't all that found off. It takes place in 5 Acts, each act focusing on a different part of the story such as Juliet's arrival, the actions prior to Juliet's arrival, and the fall out at the end. I have to admit I really liked how Rebecca split everything up- even going so far as to having Scenes as well. The overall plot, though, was just a bit too much for me. I found the "Oh, Rob please love me!" storyline to be annoying and tiresome after awhile, and while Juliet was supposed to the evil villain in the book, I even grew tired of her and silly actions by the end. She wasn't really a villain, but rather a mean girl, and a rather boring one at that. Also the whole reason behind the feud between Juliet's and Rose's parents was just ridiculous, considering how much time was used to build it up. One part I did enjoy, though, was seeing Len and Rose's friendship grow as the book progressed. It was by far the better part of the book, and I wish more time was dedicated to it.

Rebecca's overall writing was good, and I'll definitely give one of her books a try again sometime, because I'm interested to see how she would do with another plot and character set...hopefully, I would enjoy it a lot more.

In all, When You Were Mine wasn't the book for me as it turns out. However, for fans of Shakespeare retellings or for fans of romantic thrillers, I still suggest you give it a try, because while this book may of not been my cup of tea, it can certainly still be yours. :)

Grade: C

When You Were Mine (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) is now out!

Source: Publisher- thanks Simon Pulse!

12 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear you didn't really liked this one. I do like retellings and this one sounds nice. I hate it when I can't relate to any of the characters. That makes the story harder to read. Great review.

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Nina! I usually like retellings in general even if I didn't particularly like the story, because I think it's interesting to see how an author crafts their own ideas around an existing basic storyline. But yeah, I hate it when I can't relate to any of the characters too.

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  2. I'm sorry to hear this one fell flat for you :( I agree, that premise and synopsis really grabbed at me too but if it's so focused on "Oh, Rob please love me!" (LOOOL, that was so cute on your part XD)..seems like that's pushing it a bit. Thanks for the honest review and for a more optimistic final verdict nevertheless.

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    1. hahaha thanks for commenting, Vivian. Yes, the whole "Oh, Rob please love me!" thing did annoy me. I mean, I'm all for obsessing over boys...I've been there done that all before. ;) However, it was just TOO much after a while, especially when there was way better prospects waiting for her elsewhere.

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  3. I liked this one far better than you, but I agree that the best parts were those not rooted in Shakespeare (ie, Len.)

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    1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it (proves my point that while it may not be for me, it could be for others :).

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  4. I wasn't a fan of this one either. Same reasons--I found the characters really unlikable. The only one who interested me was Juliet (even though she was unlikable too), and there wasn't enough of her to redeem the book for me. Great review!

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    1. Glad to know I'm not alone in the "not liking the characters" boat. I have to admit, I kind of found Juliet to be interesting at first, but as more was reveled about her, I started to lose interest.

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  5. Yeah, this one didn't work for me either. I could not connect with Rose and that really inhibited my ability to love the book as a whole.

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    1. It seems like a lot of people had that problem with Rose so I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

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  6. I wasn't a big fan of this one when lots of people loved it so I was glad to see that I was the only one that didn't connect with it completely!

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    1. It seems like there's a big divide with it- you either loved it or you didn't. There doesn't seem to be an in between state.

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