Title: Juliet Immortal
Author: Stacey Jay
Release Date: August 9, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House imprint)
Juliet never took her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, Romeo, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. What he didn't anticipate was Juliet would be granted eternity as well, to become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the innocent. Until she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
Nothing happened that I expected to happen when I read this book. I expected a twist on Shakespeare, a modern-day retelling, something romantic and fraught with difficult decisions, and I might've found that, but not in the way I expected. I didn't expect Juliet and her strength after centuries of battling Romeo, I didn't expect her struggling to figure out what was different this time around, and I didn't expect the ending (no spoilers, but the ending was both surprising and perfect).
What was refreshing was this book wasn't necessarily a retelling of Shakespeare's play but more of a drawing from it as source material and creating a different and unique story. I enjoyed this book so much because it was so different from the original play, to me, at least. In terms of retellings/re-purposings, I want something different that doesn't constantly remind me of the original, and this didn't. I did think back to what I remembered from the play at times, but I found this different enough to keep me interested.
To me, this book was about love and hate, about moving on from someone who wronged you, about forgiveness and acceptance and looking forward instead of looking back. Juliet kept seeing Romeo as the guy who killed her, who ruined her, who ruined everything, who lied to her and practically facilitated her spending the past 700 years saving soul mates from being killed.
A book for romance fans, for readers looking for a tweak on Shakespeare and classical literature. If I was taking a Shakespeare class, I'd use this book as supporting research for a compare and contrast of romantic elements in the 17th century and the 21st century, or for an analysis of reusing Shakespeare in popular literature and culture.
(I borrowed an e-book of this from the library. Also, I've noticed that reading e-books never feels the same as reading physical books, so I don't really like reviewing them but I will if it's my only option. Or if I really enjoyed the book. And I enjoyed this book.)