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This Must Be Love Hardcover – September 7, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10–Bringing Shakespeare to a modern suburban New Jersey high school, Sutherland tells her story through e-mails, notes passed between classes, diaries, poems, and short plays. The players: Helena and Hermia, best of friends; Dimitri and Alex, love interests of the two girls; and a cast of extras including the football team, overbearing fathers, and teachers. The plot follows A Midsummer Night's Dream, with the two girls becoming involved in a play within a play, happy accidents forcing love interests, and betrayals all around. Very Shakespearean in plot design, the book is all modern in dialogue and setting. The plot: Helena and Hermia are both in love with boys who do not seem to catch on. The girls are involved in a high-school production of Romeo and Juliet, which Hermia longs to star in. The drama teacher decides to make the production an all-male cast, crushing Hermia's chances. Meanwhile, her friend (and love interest) Alex has bought tickets for an interactive theater piece in New York City, one of her dreams come true. Her father forbids her to go, so she sneaks out. Dimitri, Helena's love interest, has become infatuated with Hermia, and to win his attentions, Helena tells him where her friend has gone. Many twists and turns (and a few surprises) lead the girls into their true love's arms, and all's well that ends well. This is a fun novel with interesting characters and a variety of writing styles that will strongly appeal to romance fans and drama enthusiasts.–Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR
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“Many twists and turns. ... This is a fun novel with interesting characters and a variety of writing styles that will strongly appeal to romance fans and drama enthusiasts.” (School Library Journal)

“Clever touches and an encouraging message about taking control of one’s destiny make this entertaining.” (Publishers Weekly)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; First Edition edition (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006056475X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060564759
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,309,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Seventeen-year-old Hermia Jackson just knows that she would be absolutely perfect for the role of Juliet in Athenwood High's production of Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET, as she is too good to continue getting stuck playing the roles of trees. Hermia's best friend, Helena Naples is Hermia's best friend, as well as a poet, and a believer of true love. She knows that somewhere out in the world is her soul mate, her one true love. However, given the amount of losers at Athenwood High, she doesn't plan on finding her Romeo anytime soon. That is until Dmitri comes into the picture. Dmitri is the new guy. He's mysterious, poetic, and a fan of Shakespeare. Helena just knows that it's absolute fate that he should land at Athenwood High at this crucial moment, and believes that it's the Gods that have brought them together. Hermia, on the other hand, thinks something strange is going on. However, only Alex knows the truth. Alex, Hermia's best-guy-friend, who has become her one true love, and secret crush. Alex grew-up with Dmitri and knows the real him. However, is he truly clueless enough not to know that Hermia is utterly in love with him? Then there's Nick Weaver, Athenwood High's star quarterback who acts totally wonky whenever he's around Helena, and, surprisingly enough, has decided to try out for the role of Romeo in the school play.

In Tui T. Sutherland's debut novel THIS MUST BE LOVE, she takes the premise of Shakespeare's sometimes ignored play, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, and embellishes on it, producing a wonderful cast of characters that will have both male and female teenagers reading all through the night. Drawing from ideas from teens living in the 21st century, THIS MUST BE LOVE is written in hilarious diary entries, instant messages, e-mail, notes, and more between the alternating voices of Hermia and Helena, that are sure to please even the pieckiest teen readers.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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Format: Hardcover
Most of this story, based on Shakespeare's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, is told though correspondence: emails, instant messages, notes, diary entries, and so on. Hermia and her best friend, Helena, are totally into theater. Helena, blond and brainy, gets the star roles while curvy, bubbly Hermia is stuck with commandeering the spotlight or playing a tree. Both girls are smitten with guys. Hermia secretly pines for her friend Alex, while Helena is gaga over the new guy, Dmitri. Hermia has dated a lot while Helena is waiting for that special soulmate, and she believes fervently that Dmitri is The One.

The plot quickens when Dmitri tries out for "Romeo and Juliet." Surely Helena will play Juliet, while Dmitri will be Romeo. Yet, Helena sometimes finds herself thinking about an ex-friend, Nick, who now hates her (or does he?). Helena would never even consider dating a popular football jock like Nick, even when her friends point out how nice and cute he is.

Hermia has problems of her own. Her drama teacher doesn't recognize that Hermia will someday be a famous actress, and should be treated accordingly. Her single-parent dad is way too controlling (one might consider the fact that her mother has left the family for another woman to be a big problem also, but the situation doesn't faze Hermia in the slightest). The drool-worthy Alex doesn't seem to consider her girlfriend material, but he does hatch a mysterious "secret plot" with Helena's help. And Helena becomes furious with her when Dmitri starts being a bit too attentive to Hermia.

Hermia and Helena each have a unique and distinct voice. Hermia's rapid-fire stand-up comic delivery contrasts nicely with Helena's languid romantic poet manner.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm constantly on a search for great new books that combine a serious love of theatre with a sense of humor and real literary merit. Tui T. Sutherland's debut novel, This Must Be Love, is a treasure in those respects. Sutherland doesn't talk down to her readers, but she completely understands the voices, situations and inner psyches of her characters. Plus, the novel is saturated with theatrical and Shakespearean in-jokes that manage to work no matter what your level of knowledge. Midsummer Night's Dream devotees will love the way Sutherland has transposed every relationship and character in some way, making it come alive in a contemporary New Jersey high school, while for those unfamiliar with Shakespeare, This Must Be Love serves as an amazing, fun, smart introduction to his plots and characters. It might even make a Shakespeare reader out of a kid who thinks there's no way Elizabethan theatre could possibly pertain to his or her life.

Hermia and Helena have such distinct, fun voices, and Sutherland traces their friendship beautifully through its guy-inspired twists and turns. She even adds a few twists on the original twisted tale, for extra surprise! I spent the entire afternoon curled up with this book, always excited about what was coming, and pausing only to read some of the more hilarious sections aloud to my sister, who immediately read it next.

Sutherland's first novel is structurally innovative, an amazing read.... I would suggest it immediately to anyone who loves theatre, or who's ever marvelled at what fools these boyfriends be. It's such an impressive first book. I hope Tui T. Sutherland writes many more novels, because I will read anything she writes!
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