From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Andronik captures the English Romantic poets in all of their scandalous glory. Their notoriously reckless lives, from opium addictions and affairs to quirky obsessions and incest, have long been the stuff of literary legend, but seldom have they been rendered so accessible to teens. In the opening pages, for instance, the poets are set against the backdrop of a push in Europe for equality for the lower classes. This social movement is, in turn, likened to teenage rebellion: "What teenager doesn't want to be free and equal to authority?" The author accomplishes a difficult feat; she pulls readers into the soap opera-esque lives of the writers while skillfully weaving in discussion of the literary tradition and the historical context in which they operated. Each extensively researched chapter begins with narrative focusing on one individual and concludes with several poems, an arrangement that lends itself to contextual analysis. By the book's end, the crisscrossed lives and influences of these figures have been tied tightly together to provide an introduction to their world. Wildly Romantic is a "must have" for high school collections in need of high-interest titles on this period in English literature.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
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This is not your usual YA literary biography. Weaving together the lives of the groundbreaking Romantic poets--Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats--Andronik talks about the revolution they brought to literature. She also describes their often flamboyantly radical lifestyles. Several were drug addicts, promiscuous, out of control. Byron had sex with boys and mistresses, even his half sister. Wordsworth, a passionate revolutionary in his youth, became ultraconservative and believed women should stay home. The open writing style makes reading easy; in fact, sometimes the text gets too chirpy, with contemporary colloquialisms about the upscale, carousing bunch and comparisons to "Hollywood's Star Trail." Best is the casual way Andronik weaves in the many classic poems at the end of each chapter. The rebels' controlled, exquisite lines will speak to teens about the lyrical use of everyday language. Hazel Rochman
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