Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story by Lisa Fielder
Apparently, reading Shakespeare is good for you*.
So, reading novels based on Shakespeare must be good for you too, right?
A couple weeks ago, when I reviewed Ophelia, Colleen (from Bookslut)* commented and suggested that I might like Romeo's Ex, which I actually had checked out and sitting in a basket in my room, just waiting for the Cybils madness to die down.
Honestly, I was a little concerned about this one before I started -- the title seemed to modern for me, since I seriously doubt that the term "ex-girlfriend" was in use in Shakespeare's time, but Rosaline, Fielder's heroine, won me over immediately.
Rosaline doesn't care about boys or parties like her silly younger cousin Juliet -- she has just one ambition in life -- to be a healer. Romeo happens upon her at the healer's cottage and decides on the spot that he is in love with her. (Though, as we all know, this infatuation doesn't last long -- as Romeo soon falls head-over-heals in "love" with Juliet). Of course, when Rosaline is rescued by Benvolio (though she thinks it's Mercutio who rescued her) she quickly changes her mind about boys!
With wonderful Shakespearean twists, like cases of mistaken identity (Rosaline thinks she's in love with Mercutio, even though she's really in love with Benvolio), Fielder stays true to the spirit of the play -- while making it more accessible to teen readers. At the same time, those teen readers who have read and loved Romeo and Juliet will enjoy this "behind-the-scenes" look at one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays.
*Thanks to Michele (of Scholar's Blog) for the link
*Go read her article, "Revisiting the Classics"