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Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story Hardcover – September 19, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (September 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805075003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805075007
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,974,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–Before Romeo fell in love with Juliet, he was enamored of Rosaline, Juliet's 16-year-old cousin, who vowed never to marry. Then his cousin Benvolio rescues her from being trampled in a Capulet-Montague rumble. Rosaline and Benvolio–both skeptical of love–fall for one another. The Capulets and Montagues continue to have at it, and Romeo, Juliet, and most of their cousins end up dead. For Rosaline and Benvolio, though, it's the beginning. Fielder retells the story in fast-paced prose true to the play, without leaving out a single barb, kiss, or duel. As such, this novel is extremely useful for students struggling with a first reading of Shakespeare's work. The author re-creates period language with some success, though her cutesy, anachronistic winks–Juliet and Rosaline call each other Roz and Jules–are irritating. While her 16th-century phrasings and semantics seem more flowery than poetic, she illuminates the emotional lives of the characters in a way that poetry may not, especially for younger readers. The mood here is lighter and mercifully less romantic than in the tragic play, as Rosaline and Benvolio fall in deeper, more realistic love than Romeo and Juliet ever did. Though a little wordy for reluctant readers, this novel is an entertaining primer to Shakespeare.–Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Well, not exactly his ex. True, Rosaline, an apprentice healer and Juliet's cousin, was the briefly object of Romeo's desire, but Rosaline, having seen up close what can happen to the fair sex when a woman gives all for love, has decided to stay chaste. Then she thinks handsome Mercutio has saved her, and almost changes her mind. But Mercutio isn't who she thinks he is--literally. Another Montague, Benvolio, has really rescued her. By then, Romeo is off to Juliet. Fiedler, who reimagined another Shakespearean story in Dating Hamlet: Ophelia's Story (2002), will find a ready audience for this, especially among high-school students who often read this play. With Romeo and Juliet mostly off stage, this story is firmly Rosaline's. Fiedler uses the outline of Romeo and Juliet and then liberally embellishes the story with new characters and new situations. This briskly told tale features a determined heroine, yet one who is not afraid to give her heart when the time is right. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By R. Stemm on October 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Okay, so at the library last night I picked up two loosely-based-on-Shakespeare YA novels. I have a weakness, both for Shakespeare and for YA fiction, so it was fairly inevitable. I haven't yet begun Ophelia, but Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story I began and finished last night.

My first impressions were moderate- the author's use of quasi-Elizabethan language seems more of a forced affectation than an effective way to tell a story. It's understandably simplified for the sake of modern readers (I don't really believe in reading Shakespeare's plays- watching them and hearing the words spoken aloud leads to a much richer and easier to understand experience.), but it still feels pretentious, particularly when lines from the actual play are interspersed in the book- always, always, in italics.

Until two hundred pages into this 246 page book I was unimpressed, but still sorta enjoying it. Rosaline was far more of a modern woman than would be acceptable in 1595, and her affections seemed just as fickle as Romeo's (seriously, she kissed Mercutio and Benvolio in the same night, each time affirming that she loved the man with all her heart). It was nice to see the notion reflected that Romeo and Juliet are foolish, and not the Most Romantic Couple Evah. (I still remember the arguments I had about that when I was taking my Shakespeare class up in Madison... several middle aged women were absolutely aghast at my irritation with the pair.)

But the story lacked heart.
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Format: Hardcover
(To demonstrate the language, this review will be written in the meld of rudimentary Shakespearean English, romance-novel flowery prose, and modern phrasing of the book. If you make it all the way through without rolling your eyes, who knows, you just might be able to read the book. Not that you'd want to.)

Lady Lisa Fiedler, thou sayeth characters such as Rosaline hath a raw deal, and that thy writing bestoweth upon them guts to challenge their destinies. But, oh, I feel as if it is the already-established characters slighted, in Romeo's Ex: Rosaline's Story.

It is clear thou believes Romeo and Juliet's love fickle, the feud foolish, and the sacrifices made o'er them unnecessary. For mine own part, I agree with thee; popular culture shall never understand the two lovers.

Yon original text, though, is clearly a cautionary tale of foolish youth whose dead bodies accomplished what their infatuation failed.

Pray, what makes thee believe the examples Shakespeare created require elaboration? Be the subtext so far removed that nearly each major character must sneer and sigh at their relationship to prove it shallow?

Rosaline, whose rejection Romeo bemoans at the beginning of the play, is defined by two details, her beauty and chastity, only. Is that why thee chose her for thy heroine, authoress?

Ye make her a fiery maid who flouts the conventions of the age, scampering around walls and alleys, indulging in the company of men who as equal treat her, being horrified by, e'en arguing against, marriage for anything but love.

Thee could have created Rosaline a lady of her time, raised with Renaissance values imposed upon her, who grows within her role.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Anne-Marie G VINE VOICE on April 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book probably about as much as I enjoyed "Dating Hamlet". Once again Fiedler takes us off stage--behind the scenes as it were of one of Shakespeare's best known works. While in Hamlet there were happy endings all around for Fiedler's adaptation in this book she is a little more true to the actual outcome of the play. bodies are accumulating inspite of Rosaline and Benvolio's attempt to stop the carnage.

It seems that Fiedler has a message in this story for her readers (something I didn't pick up on in the last book). She makes it clear that the love that Romeo and Juliet have is very superficial (while it does ultimately bring the houses of Capulet and Montague together). She helps to point this out with the relationship she builds between Rosaline and Benvolio. It is a very trusting relationship and one that ultimately withstands the test of time and distance. She draws a clear line between immature 'love' (lust) and a mature relationship, pointing out the problems of assuming love far too fast (both in the span of a lifetime and in a relationship).

She does her best to emmulate Shakespearean dialogue, though there are a few modern throw backs here and there--however for what the book is it is vastly entertaining and anyone who is familiar with the bard's other works will find a bunch of other references.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Rosaline, Juliet's cousin, was always the prettier and more outgoing Capulet cousin. She was also planning to study medicine, and as a result had taken a vow of chastity. A vow that goes completely down the drain when three young men of the house of Montague-- Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio. Romeo, with his empty professions of love, impresses her not much at all. Mercutio initially makes her flutter, until she learns his true playboy nature. But it is sweet and gentle Benvolio who wins her heart, and her kiss. The two of them plot to end the ages-long feud between their two families, a feud so old no one remembers how it started. They hatch a plan they hope will end the conflict, and in turn pave the way for their romance. But there is another cross-house romance blooming, exploding, really, in one night. Too many secret schemes could overlap -- or they could hinder one another. This re-telling of the most famous romantic tragedy of all time is brilliantly written, much more accessible to the reader than the original, yet told in a formal enough style to believe that Shakespeare would approve. After reading this, you'll never be able to look at Romeo and Juliet the same way again.
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