Quick Review: YOLO Juliet

Although Romeo and Juliet is probably the play that most teens would recognize and know the plot of over any other Shakespeare, it's probably his least compelling play.  You can really only do so much with a story that's already pretty well-known (at least back then), and star-crossed lovers generally have one outcome.  Shakespeare excelled in fleshing out the rest of the story--Juliet's nurse is hilarious, and even Friar Laurence is pretty interesting.

It's no surprise, then, that these characters have the strongest "voices" in YOLO Juliet.  The texting format is especially good for showing the stupidity (there, I said it!) of Romeo and Juliet's choices.  This version really shows that Romeo is a guy who's in love with love--he moves from OMG ROSALINE to OMG JULIET 4VR MARRY MEEEEEE in the space of a few emojis.  Romeo is--pardon me--a tool.  Girls reading this book: watch out for the Romeos of high school.  They are legion.

As in the original play, Juliet is kind of a non-entity here.  She says some stuff, pesters Nurse a lot, and whines.  I mean, I totally get that she is not at all psyched to have to marry Paris, who is generally an okay dude except for wanting to marry a fourteen-year-old girl.

Mom and Dad Capulet and Dad Montague are also pretty funny to read, because their messages and status updates reflect how a lot of older people text.  Lady Capulet always ends hers with either "LC" or "Love, Mom" because we totally don't know from whom it's coming!  (Parents: don't do this.  It's irritating and it takes up space.  A text is not a Hallmark card you have to sign).

The one thing I didn't like about this adaptation is that Juliet's Nurse sounds like the caricature of the Sassy Black Friend, which is a concept that really needs to just disappear.

Overall, srsly Hamlet was better, but both are entertaining reads, especially for those who've read and studied the corresponding plays.  I cannot wait for a Macbeth!


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