“What if the greatest love story ever told was the wrong one?”
― Rebecca Serle, When You Were Mine
So, I love the concept of this novel. A modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, but from the perspective of Rosaline. I remember studying Romeo and Juliet in high school and when our teacher was talking about Rosaline I remember thinking, wait what ? There was a girl Romeo liked before Juliet ? Roalisne is an unseen character in the play so Serle had a lot to play with in developing her.
- Release Date: May 1st 2012
- Genre: Contemporary
- Pages: 334
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
Synopsis: 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.
The character of Rosaline Caplet in this book was a blurry character to me, she didn't seem to have any shape. She just existed, there was nothing special about her and I couldn't get a feel for her personality. She does gain some definition through the book with her relationship with the character Len, but I just could not connect with her.
There seems to be two schools of reviewers who have read this; those who loved Rose's friends and others who don't. I found Charlie and Olivia to be annoying girls obsessed with boys and popularity. They are also kind of the mean girls I didn't understand why they were friends with Rose, who seems nothing like them. It seems like in real life they would have drifted apart.
Serle does some interesting things throughout the novel to pay homage to the fact that this is a Shakespeare play. For instance, Rose is in stage crew while Rob and Juliet get to play the main parts. So she is never on stage but often watches Rob and Juliet from the lighting booth, when they are acting and when they aren't. I thought this was excellent imagery.
I think this is a very good way to do a retelling; it's more than Romeo and Juliet with a SoCal twist. It has it's own unique flair and I think that is important. It takes just the skeleton from the play it is based on.
Overall, I wish the story had been set up to create more tension between Rosaline and Rob. She talks about how Rob is this great guy and we see how he likes Rose but I don't understand the why. I didn't see enough.
When You Were Mine is a great re-telling about the choices we make and how they can transform our lives forever.
When you were mine is also being optioned for a film. Check out updates at Serle's blog.
* Thanks to Susan from Wastepaper Prose for the ARC