Monday, March 26, 2012

... in books

The Juliet Club
by Suzanne Harper

The author:
Suzanne Harper has published two young adult novels, The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney and The Juliet Club. She is currently working on a third young adult novel and a middle-grade series.
She has also written three original novels based on the Hannah Montana TV series (Rock the Waves, In the Loop, and Swept Up) and a number of novels (under the pen name N. B. Grace) based on High School Musical.
Her nonfiction books include: Boitano’s Edge: Inside the Real World of Figure Skating (with Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano), The Real Spy's Guide to Becoming a Spy (with Peter Earnest, executive director of the International Spy Museum), Terrorists, Tornados,and Tsunamis: How to Prepare for Life’s Danger Zones (with Lt. Col. John C. Orndorff), and Hands On! 33 More Things Every Girl Should Know: Skills for Living Your Life from 33 Extraordinary Women.
She earned bachelor's degrees in journalism and English from the University of Texas-Austin and a master's degree in creative writing from the University of Southern California. She now lives in New York City.
source: HarperTeen

First sentence:
“Which one of Johnny Burwell’s eyebrows do you think is cuter?” Sarah asked.

Italy . . . Shakespeare . . . but no romance?
Kate Sanderson inherited her good sense from her mother, a disciplined law professor, and her admiration for the Bard from her father, a passionate Shakespeare scholar. When she gets dumped, out of the blue, for the Practically Perfect Ashley Lawson, she vows never to fall in love again. From now on she will control her own destiny, and every decision she makes will be highly reasoned and rational. She thinks Shakespeare would have approved.
So when she is accepted to a summer Shakespeare symposium in Verona, Italy, Kate sees it as the ideal way to get over her heartbreak once and for all. She'll lose herself in her studies, explore ancient architecture, and eat plenty of pasta and gelato. (Plus, she'll be getting college credit for it – another goal accomplished ) But can even completely logical Kate resist the romance of living in a beautiful villa in the city where those star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet met and died for each other? Especially when the other Shakespeare Scholars – in particular Giacomo, with his tousled brown hair, expressive dark eyes, and charming ways – try hard to break her protective shell?
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
"In fair Verona, where we lay our scene . . . "
That is the beginning of William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” and fair Verona is also the city where Suzanne Harper’s novel “The Juliet Club” is set.

The story takes us to Verona with Kate, a smart high school student who was heartbroken for the first time by her boyfriend and who now renounces love, and her father, a Shakespeare scholar and professor. Kate got accepted to a seminar during her summer holidays for studying Shakespeare and his famous play “Romeo and Juliet”. Her father accompanies her because he is one of the professors teaching a course there.

Kate soon meets the handsome Giacomo, son of Francesca Marchese, organizer of the seminar, also a Shakespeare scholar and an enemy of Kate’s dad due to the fact that she seems to be more present in the media and she also wrote a novel about Shakespeare which he thinks is not acceptable.

The story is told in five acts and entr’actes and reveals what happens during the Shakespeare seminar and in the love lives of the seminar participants (thank god we get to know three boys and three girls better). I like the idea of the story being told in acts just like Shakespearean plays. It is a nice bonus.  

At the seminar participants are grouped and one specific professor will lecture them during the whole symposium.
Although the participants of Kate’s seminar group need to answer letters that were sent to Juliet, this part of the story – the title giving one – isn’t a major storyline. I haven’t really grasped why they had to answer those letters when it was announced that participants will study “Romeo and Juliet” at this seminar.

I am a sucker for all books dealing with Shakespeare, his life and his plays so I basically had to read this book. It tells a wonderful love story and is an entertaining read but some of it is rather predictable. Nonetheless “The Juliet Club” is a nice book to read on a sunny day.

The Juliet Club is available at Amazon for $8,99/ EUR 6,99/ £5,25 and for your Kindle too. You can also buy it at Book Depo for $8,44/ EUR 6,37/ £5,31.

For more information and extras on “The Juliet Club” visit Suzanne Harper's homepage.

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