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Falling for Hamlet Hardcover – July 5, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy; 1 edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316101621
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316101622
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,592,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Inventive and brazen... Everything here is engaging... There is much for modern girls to love in Falling for Hamlet... it's the original girl story, about boys and love."—The New York Times Book Review

"[Falling for Hamlet] might even win Shakespeare a few new fans. Recommended."—Library Media Conection

"To read or not to read will never be the question for Falling for Hamlet. Michelle Ray's clever debut gives readers an Ophelia who is in turns humorous, clever, and full of girl power. I'm simply mad for this book!"—Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Prom & Prejudice and The Lonely Hearts Club

"Sexy and searing, Falling for Hamlet is much more than a riveting retelling of a Shakespearean classic. Michelle Ray has crafted an artful story of a girl who comes unapologetically and forcefully into her own."—Justina Chen, author of North of Beautiful

About the Author

Michelle Ray is a graduate of Tufts University where she majored in drama with a focus on theater history and literature. For the last twelve years she has taught English to elementary and middle-schoolers, and is currently an English and Reading teacher in a middle school magnet program for the humanities. This is her first novel.

More About the Author

Michelle Ray loves Shakespeare. Reading it. Teaching it. Watching it on stage and film. She is a true theater person (who refuses to accept such terms as "theater nerd" and "theater geek" because being in shows is awesome!), who sometimes still has to use SparkNotes to understand what's being said. She does have other interests, too. She loves to read YA books, hang out with her kids and husband, see plays, and go to the movies. She grew up in LA, moved to Boston then New York, and now lives near Washington, DC. She visits NYC whenever she can.

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Customer Reviews

The story is told from Ophelia's point of view.
Supernatural Rocks
Much like the Shakesphere's Hamlet, Michelle Ray's modern day retelling of this classic tale is full of deceit, betrayal, murder and love, if you could call it that.
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids Book Reviews
I have always been a fan Shakespeare, and I love it when author take a classic and make it modern.
Savannah (Books With Bite)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Ancrile on June 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will make even the most non Shakespeare lover want to re-read/watch Hamlet. However, it is a wonderful book all on its own for all readers. The poignant story of the young girl dating the celebrity hits home on so many levels. The truth all of our mothers wanted us to learn - "Don't lose yourself for any man." I highly recommend for all young adult readers and for all Shakespeare lovers and everyone in between. A great book for mothers and daughters to read together. THIS BOOK NEEDS TO BE A MOVIE! Congratulations Michelle Ray on your debut book. Can hardly wait to read the next one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By onepagereviews on September 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If I had to choose one word to describe this book it would be "intense." Of course, with Shakespeare's "Hamlet" being the basis for this story, how could it be anything else?

I've got to be honest - I've never actually read this particular Shakespeare play. I know the general plot twists (king killed, Hamlet sees ghost, everyone dies, etc.), but I was still surprised by a few of them when I read this version. I'm not sure if I would have compared Michelle Ray's version to the original more if I had actually read the original, but I thought she did a good job with this adaptation, staying true to the story with the one main exception: Ophelia doesn't die mid-book like in the play.

There was a lot of playing with form in this book - the story is told through Ophelia's POV, as well as snippets from her police interrogation and a talk show she appears on after everything in the book takes place. That really added tension, I think. I loved the three different timelines!

The actual character of Ophelia was a little troubling at times. I just couldn't understand why she would stick with Hamlet after all the things he does. I mean, he's straight crazy. I get that she loves him, but I just had to shake my head a lot when she would go running back to him. The plot wouldn't have held up without their interaction, though, so I guess Ophelia's idiocy was necessary to keep things moving.

Pacing, however, was a general problem throughout the novel, I thought. The first 200 pages or so are really slow. There are a few scenes that were poignant or moving, but overall, they're pretty dry. I was never really invested in the story or the characters until tragedy hits Ophelia close to home (around page 250).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maggie Knapp on June 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A modern day retelling of Hamlet, from Ophelia's point of view. Seems to me this would work best for readers who are already familiar with the story. For readers unfamiliar with the traditional Hamlet, I think much of the depth and subtlety of this story would be overlooked. The author is faithful to the elements of Shakespeare's tale, but some of the updates seems forced. Denmark Department of Investigations? Phee wailing "You killed my dad?" Denmark State as a safety school? Claudius referred to as "The Claw"? But the idea of Ophelia, Hamlet and Laertes texting one another amid the swirling matters of court and under the eye of watchful paparazzi is definitely a concept worth exploring. A solid four stars and it will be interesting to see what Michelle Ray comes out with next. For fans of Hamlet, check out another interesting modern retelling: John Marsden's HAMLET.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gertrude is eternally bristling with indignation or staring down her nose in a cartoony fashion. That's the kind of characterization that supposedly fuels mortal conflict. Ophelia gets all het up over an image of Hamlet hoisting a girl in a nightclub so she sleeps with another guy for revenge -- but then it turns out the girl had hurt her ankle or something and Hamlet was kindly assisting her to the first aid station, nothing more. That's the sort of misunderstanding that separates lovers.

This was a clever idea but it really needs better execution. Not once did I ever feel this Ophelia and Hamlet actually loved each other. They date, they talk, they misunderstand each other and say horrible things, they text, they communicate through Horatio, they leave town, go to classes, blah blah. Where is the passion, where is the fundamental enigma of Hamlet?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachael Stein VINE VOICE on January 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ophelia never meant for things to get so out of hand, but maybe that's just what happens when you're a girl in her position: Prince Hamlet of Denmark's girlfriend. As the daughter of an important member of the royal staff, Ophelia grew up in the castle alongside Hamlet, though it wasn't until more recent years that their close friendship turned into something more. Ophelia would be the first to admit that dating royalty is tough. Not only are they followed around by the paparazzi everywhere they go, but Ophelia has to deal with all of Hamlet's family drama in addition to her own as well as all the other types of unwanted attention garnered by Hamlet's fame. Ophelia thinks she is willing to put up with all of this for the sake of her relationship, but she doesn't take into account how things could go so quickly from bad to worse. When Hamlet's father dies under mysterious circumstances and his mother quickly remarries his uncle, of all people, Hamlet descends into a sort of madness, taking an unsuspecting Ophelia with him. Hamlet's had the chance to tell his story, but now it's Ophelia's turn--and she'll reveal what really happened.

I love all manner of retellings, whether they are only loosely based on the original story or follow it quite closely. Ray's debut novel Falling for Hamlet is of the latter example and sticks quite close to the original plot of Shakespeare's Hamlet, though in a more modern setting and with a few embellishments and twists. I was primarily interested in this story because I wanted to see the story from Ophelia's perspective; she is a rather perplexing character in the original play, and I know I'm certainly not the only reader who has wondered if there's more to her story.
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