Mimi Wallingford, Great Granddaughter of Adelaide Wallingford, has the life that most girls dream about, playing Juliet opposite teen heartthrob Troy Summer on Broadway in Shakespeare's famous play. Unfortunately, she has no desire to be an actress, a fact her mother can't seem to grasp. But when she and Troy are magically thrust into Shakespeare's Verona, they experience the feud between the Capulets and Montagues first hand. Mimi realizes that she and Juliet have more in common than Shakespeare's script-they are both fighting for futures of their own choosing. Mimi feels compelled to help her and with Troy's unexpected help, hopes to give Shakespeare's most famous tragedy a happily-ever-after-ending.
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.)
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Bloomsbury Publishing USA
March 29, 2009
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