Liana’s Literary Commentary – Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors

Liana Teixeira

We’ve all heard the story of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: two star-crossed lovers destined for each other, yet forbidden from happiness due to family rivalries. The Montagues and the Capulets would never allow their children’s relationship to blossom; this, unfortunately, leads to the suicides of Romeo and Juliet at the finale of the play.  The curtain closes, the audience sobs, and two fictional families finally settle their differences, but at the expense of their children’s lives. 

But what if the story ended differently? What if Romeo and Juliet isn’t the tragedy everyone expects it to be? At a modern-day center stage enters 17-year old Mimi Wallingford, the lead actress at her mother’s Manhattan Theater.  They are putting on the production of the Shakespearian classic, Romeo and Juliet, but Mimi is anything but excited. Mimi loathes her role as Juliet and is beginning to dislike performing. She feels pressured into acting by her mother in order to save the family theater, not to mention, her Romeo counterpart is being played by Troy Summers, an obnoxious, self-centered, heartthrob for whom Mimi secretly harbors a crush. 

However, as Mimi rushes out of the theater after her last performance as Juliet, she and Troy find themselves transported into an unusual adaptation of 1594 Verona. It is not long before Mimi meets Juliet and all the other memorable characters in Shakespeare’s masterpiece. 

Juliet is free-spirited and dreams of falling in love, and although Mimi knows the true fate of her and Romeo, she is determined to give Juliet the “happy ending” she deserves.  But interference with Shakespeare’s plot only creates more trouble for Mimi and Troy, endangering both of their lives in the process. 

Saving Juliet is a unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless tale of everlasting love.  The characters are examined in a new light, exploring their thoughts and dreams, while also creating a personal connection with the reader. One will enjoy learning more about the original characters and their animated (and sometimes shocking) personalities. The author generously includes actual historical background and mixes it with contemporary ideas and vocabulary, offering a serious tone while also incorporating a wide array of comic relief. 

Readers will enjoy the solid conclusion of the novel with few loose-ends to piece together. The book is a guaranteed delight for all readers, particularly those who appreciate the works of William Shakespeare.