Like many teenage girls, I loved Romeo and Juliet when I was in high school. It was required reading in my ninth grade English class, but I never complained about this reading assignment. (The same cannot be said when we were required to read Great Expectations. Shudder.) I guess I related to all of that teen angst, but I did wonder why dear old Will Shakespeare had to go and kill off these two youngsters. Why couldn’t they have a happy ending and still stick it to their families? Well, that very subject arose in my latest read, Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors.
Mimi Wallingford has been groomed for a career in theater her entire life. Her family owns a Manhattan theater famous for their productions of Shakespeare’s works. Mimi is currently playing the role of Juliet in, you guessed it, Romeo and Juliet. The only problem is that she hates acting. She has horrible stage fright, and she feels like her mother is forcing her own dreams down Mimi’s throat. It also doesn’t help that she’s got a huge crush on Troy (who is playing Romeo), a pop star who seems to enjoy tormenting her. Mimi wishes she were anywhere but in her current circumstances. Well, her wish is about to come true…
Through a bit of magic, Mimi and Troy are transported to Shakespeare’s Verona where they are immediately caught up in the story of Romeo and Juliet. When Mimi actually meets Juliet, she knows she can change this girl’s story and make it a happy one. She identifies with Juliet. Mimi too knows what it’s like to be trapped by the expectations of her parents.
Although Mimi’s intentions are noble, she does get into a bit of trouble. She is exiled by Lady Capulet (who makes the Wicked Witch of the West seem like Dorothy), she sort of likes Benvolio (who is actually kind of a jerk), and she has to take care of Troy who was stabbed by Tybalt. On top of all this, she has to figure out how to get back home and change the ending of her own story. Can she do it? Will Romeo and Juliet finally have a happy ending? Will Mimi and Troy ever make it home? I’ll let you discover the answers for yourselves when you read Suzanne Selfors’ Saving Juliet.