Book review: Romeo and / or Juliet by Ryan North

13 Nov

romeoWhat if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around the castle all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits?

In this New York Times bestselling version of Romeo and Juliet, you get to choose where the story goes. Packed with exciting choices, fun puzzles, secret surprises, terrible puns and more than a billion possible storylines, Romeo and/or Juliet offers a new experience every time you read it. And, as an added bonus, all the different endings feature beautiful and quirky illustrations by some of the best artists working today, including New York Times bestsellers Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson, Randall Munroe, and Jon Klassen.

Whatever your adventure, you’re guaranteed to find lots of romance, epic fight scenes and plenty of questionable decision-making by highly emotional teens.

This book is so much fun! I used to love ‘choose your own adventure’ books when I was younger but I haven’t read anything like that for years. Romeo and/or Juliet is an all singing, all dancing interactive novel that puts a whole new spin on the original Shakespere play. It cleverly lets the reader explore the original play and to have a whole lot of fun with the plot.

There’s so much going on in this book, it’s hard to know where to start. I started by being Juliet but my Juliet was a little bit more kick-ass than the one I remember from the original play. I’m delighted to say I found my happy ending as Juliet and winning thousands of points (yay me!) For the second reading, I took Juliet down a different path to an altogether darker end but it was just as much fun! There are some headspinning possibilities and brilliant twists in this book. At one point I was given the option to be Juliet being Romeo and to chat myself up! At another point I was Romeo and cunningly disguised myself as a wall.

What I loved about this book is that as well as making me laugh a lot, it taught me so much about the original play – it basically translated the Shakespearean language into easily understandable sentences and explained the meaning and background if it wasn’t immediately clear.

There’s also a thread of the book just for Mr Shakespeare where you can find out all sorts of interesting stuff about The Bard and his life. There are books within the book, puzzles, games, quests and more; plenty to keep even the most reluctant reader hooked. And supporting all of this are excellent illustrations from bestsellers including Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson, Randall Munroe and Jon Klassen.

With over 100 different endings, I’m going to be reading this book and playing with the different scenarios for a long time – it’s brilliant value! This is the book to give to the person who says Shakespeare is boring this Christmas – it will blow their minds!

5/5

Romeo and /or Juliet is released today in paperback and ebook formats from Orbit books.

Find out more about Ryan and his books at: http://www.ryannorth.ca/

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book.

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