Book Review–When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

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This is the 17th book from my 115 in 2015 Reading Challenge.

 

12022765When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Published May 1st, 2012 by Simon Pulse

 

An intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told—narrated by the girl Romeo was supposed to love.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends.

 

 

————-

**The following review may contain some spoilers***

Plot:

The plot is basically a modern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, only from Rosaline’s POV. If you don’t remember, she was the woman Romeo claimed to love before he met Juliet. The plot itself is realistic, and made me feel like I was back in high school even though my experience with it was much different than Rosie’s. Still. For the most part, I enjoyed the plot, though it seemed to drag near the end.

Setting:

The setting is in mostly sunny California, and was super easy to picture. I liked that the characters had regular spots they liked to hang out, which brought even more realism to the story.

Characters:

Rosaline was a very easy character to like and sympathize with. I felt terrible for her throughout most of the book. I felt happy and excited when she did. I wanted to see her happy, even though I knew tragedy was looming up ahead.

I liked her girl friends, Charlie and Olivia. Especially Charlie, who’s tough and kind of demanding, but definitely has a big heart. Olivia had some great comic relief but seemed genuinely sweet.

I liked Rob well enough until he put Rosaline’s heart through the ringer. He could have made his new relationship so much easier on the girl he supposedly used to love, but he didn’t. It was hard to feel sorry for him later on, at least until the “secret” gets spilled.

As for Len, I adored him pretty much from the moment we met him. He had much more personality than Rob and I was hoping him and Rosaline would get closer.

I liked Rosaline’s parents, who seemed real and down-to-earth. It would have been nice to see more scenes with them.

Juliet was awful. Even when I learned about the “secret” and her reasons for hating Rosaline, I still didn’t like her. There was no excuse for some of the things she did to Rosaline. The barbie scene especially comes to mind.

Overall, all of the characters felt realistic and were fun reading about.

Relationships:

Rosaline and Rob were kinda cute, but never felt “destined” to be for me. Still, I felt awful for the girl when it didn’t work out. Her emotions were realistic. Especially once the tragedy occurred. I would have probably blamed myself as well.

I liked Rosaline and Len’s relationship better. They were adorable and every scene between them was full of chemistry. Much more interesting than “Romeo” any day.

Rosaline’s relationship with her friends was fun and felt real, especially when one of them was going through something difficult. Charlie breaking down in the car was the one that gripped me the most, as well as when Charlie later returns the favor for Rosaline after the tragedy.

I also liked Rosaline’s relationship with her parents. It’s always nice to see YA where the kids and the parents actually get along and are realistic about it. My only gripe is that I wish they had been a little more prevalent in the book.

The relationship between Juilet and Rosaline seemed a little extreme at times, though the kitchen scene helped. Juliet is painted as the evil cousin who steals Rosaline’s boyfriend away. While she did seem to go after Rob even though she knew he was more than friends with Rosaline, I wish he would have been blamed just as much for the relationship happening to begin with.

Writing/Voice:

The writing and voice was very easy to get into. This book was a little hard to put down at times.

Ending:

The ending is sweet, but somehow felt a bit out of place after the tragedy. I like that it ended with a new direction of life for Rosaline, but the entire ending just seemed a little off. Maybe it’s because it pretty much skips from the tragedy to the ending.

Overall:

This was a really good story, with great characters and intriguing relationships. The only thing that keeps me from rating it 5 stars is a few instances of slut-shaming (by the friends in conversation), as well as Rob not getting nearly as much heat for his part on the relationship (Juliet didn’t just force him to be with her against her will, you know). I’m getting tired of seeing the slut-shaming thrown around in books, even if it seems realistic.

 

4stars

 

 

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