RONIT & JAMIL by Pamela L. Laskin is a Lyrical novel in verse. It’s a fresh retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where the star-crossed lovers are in modern-day Israel and Palestine stuck in the middle of their countries conflict.
There were a lot of reasons I picked up this book: the cover art is beautiful, the idea of a modern Romeo & Juliet, and I’m a sucker for star-crossed love – end of story. While the poetry is beautiful at times, it does come across very middle grade. I’m not sure who the audience is supposed to be, but it feels young. Truth be told, wasn’t Juliet 12? So maybe that is the intent.
I thought it was interesting that the verses almost seemed to mirror on her side and his throughout the book. They each have individual lives, on either border of Israel and Palestine, but they are so similar. Even the day to day is similar. I could be off base here, but it felt like the author was trying to convey that despite their differences, these countries are more alike than they maybe would like to admit. So for that reason, I thought it was beautiful rendition. I don’t know that the audience as a whole would appreciate the themes in this book, and for that, I’m a little sad.
By Kojo Steven Sakai Performed by Lauren Ezzo / Performed by Lauren Ezzo
I was scanning through Twitter like one does and came across an author friend of mine who said her book was up on Audiobook Boom! only I’d never heard of it till that moment. So of course being the book nerd that I am, I had to see what she was talking about. I was surprised to see Audiobook Boom! was giving away free audio books to anyone who would simply write a review. I thought, why the hell not. I read them like candy anyways, so I might as well do one for an author who’s looking to move forward a bit. So in exchange for a free copy of the audio book, I’m writing this brutally honest review. And so without further ado, I present to you Romeo & Juliet vs. Zombies.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked ROMEO & JULIET VS. ZOMBIES as my book. I’d never heard of the author or the book before but I’m usually willing to give everything a go at least once. This was not what I’d expected at all. It wasn’t like Pride & Prejudice & Zombies which is sort of what I was expecting. Instead, it was a gender bent retelling. I enjoyed most of it for this reason alone. Romeo’s nickname was Princess and Juliet was a warrior. I loved the priest who secretly hated everyone and was trying to bring destruction instead of peace.
That all being said, and keeping in mind I know nothing of this author, it felt like a debut book. There were times when the writing was a bit sloppy and the adverbs made me cringe. On a whole, I feel like the unique story made up for this. I can’t help but feel it would be a stronger book with maybe one more edit from fresh eyes. Someone who can cut out the telling and transform it to showing. On a whole though, it wasn’t half bad and I think I picked a decent title for my first Audiobook Boom! title. In the end, if you’re a fan of Shakespeare or Romeo and Juliet, I’d say give this a try. Zombies only ever spice things up a bit!