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Romiette and Julio Hardcover – September 1, 1999
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6-10-A contemporary retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story with a happy, upbeat ending. Sixteen-year-old Julio Montague's parents have moved their family to Cincinnati, OH, in order to get their son out of his gang-ridden high school in Corpus Christi, TX. Romiette Cappelle, also 16, is the daughter of successful African-American parents and the granddaughter of college professors. When these two young people, both from proud heritages, begin a romance, they must deal not only with their parents' prejudices but also with the threats of a local gang called The Family. At times, Romiette and Julio effectively parallels and contemporizes the original story. The young couple meet, not at the Capulets' feast, but in an Internet chat room. Julio's friend, Ben Olsen (read Benvolio), who looks like a punk rocker, has an optimistic and irreverent attitude that balances Julio's passion and volatility. At other times, the allusions to the play are obvious and heavy-handed. Nonetheless, this novel is more than simply a carefully plotted teenage romance. Draper gives a realistic portrayal of the interactions among high school students as well as their relationships with their parents. The book also examines how gangs can gain power and take control. All of the characters have unique voices and the writing style shifts according to the action. Romiette and Julio would be a wonderful curriculum tie-in book, but it also stands alone as a first-rate novel about contemporary teens.
Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When Romiette Capelle, aka Afroqueen, and Julio Montague, aka Spanishlover, meet in an Internet chat room, neither of them has any idea they both go to the same Cincinnati high school. Afroqueen is from a prominent African American family; Spanishlover is Hispanic and the new kid in town. When Romiette and Julio meet in person, they know they are fated to be together. In keeping with their Shakespearean counterparts, they are thwarted in love: a local gang, the Devildogs, is set on keeping Romiette away from the "foreigner." The dialogue (and there's lots of it) is jarring and stilted, and Romiette's father and some peripheral adult characters are overdone. But Draper has created Julio's parents and Romiette's mother with sensitivity and has given readers a pair of intriguing, unusual protagonists with the sort of real thoughts and feelings that will make this interracial story satisfying despite its stylistic problems. Holly Koelling
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Sorry if you disagree but it does. A plot thats basically Romio and Juliet with a happy ending, and an author who tries way to hard (and fails) to make it seem modern. I wonder what her thought process was..."hmmm....I KNOW! I'LL MAKE A CHARACTER BLACK AND A CHARACTER HISPANIC! THAT'S MODERN! AND WHILE I'M AT IT, I'LL JUST TAKE THE NAMES OF THE CHARACTERS IN THE ORIGINAL BOOK AND CHANGE THEM SLIGHTLY!!!". Just pure laziness. And as if someone could really be stupid enough to NOT see that this was a ripoff, the characters in the book even say so for you. A few times. Like the time one of them says "have you noticed are names are like Romio and Juliet? I wonder if we'll end up the same". I wish you did. Also, someone really needs to tell the author that "gangbangers" are not gang members. And that I've never heard the phrase "Don't take a dump in my cornflakes" before. Although I use it every chance I get now, just because it's so stupid. Oh, and everyone I know and me hate chat rooms. And seeing how I'm someone the age this book's characters are, and I'm living in the same time period, I think that just goes to show you how inaccurate it is.
P.S.- I actually had someone tell me that the name switching thing was clever and intelligent.
P.S.S.- He was serious.
Sharon Draper's novel Romiette and Julio is about teenage romance. This book is based on the theme that love will conquer all and is an adaptation of Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. In the book, a boy named Julio moved to another city and on his first day of school he gets in a fight with Ben. Ben represents Benviolio, and Ben and Julio end up being friends. Romiette and Julio meet in an internet chat room, and they talk for days without knowing who they are talking to or the fact that they are from the same high school until Romiette asks Julio where he is from. When they find out they were closer then they thought, they stared hanging out in school. Throughout the novel, they have problems with the gang in the school because Romiette was hanging out with Julio. Romiette starts feeling something for Julio but she does not want to tell anyone what she is felling.
The author wrote on this subject rather than on something else, because she wanted to write something in modern days. Some of the things are the same but some of the things are a little different from the real story of Romeo and Juliet but in modern days. The point of view the work is written in first point of view. The intended audience are teenagers and some adults because it has to do with love and with gangs, so I think that it is more for teenagers, but if some adults can read it but the book would fit with both teenagers and with adults. The author's style is is to focus on teens so they can see that everyone can love whoever they want. I think it did suit the intended audience because if I liked it maybe other teens will like it too.The book affected me in some way because people do go through gangs and violence and love and some teens love the wrong person but love is love and no one can stop that. Some of my previous ideas I had on the subject changed, because I thought the book was going to be the same as Romeo and Juliet but some of the things did change because they were not in the old times and I thought that they were going to Montages and Capulets but they were not they were Hispanic and African American but the book was good in the day of today and it was good in the olden times but it was better in the day we are in now but if I had to grade it, I would give it a 8 because it was a good book but some thing they could of changed it.
Julio has just moved to Cincinnati from Texas, and he hates it, especially the cold weather, which he never had back home in Texas. His parents wanted to leave to get away from the gangs that were running rampant in Julio's school. Unfortunately, the gangs in Cincinnati are just as bad, especially the Devildogs, a black gang at Romiette and Julio's school.
When Romi and Julio talk online enough to realize they are going to the same school, they decide to meet for lunch one day. The two of them really hit it off; there is a definite spark between them that makes them want to spend all of their free time together. The Devildog gang doesn't like it, though. They don't want one of the pretty black girls at their school associating with a Hispanic boy. They threaten Romi and Julio and try to make them stop seeing each other. Romi and Julio don't know what they can do, but then they come up with a plan to secretly videotape the threats and bring that tape to the news, to expose this gang. When they put the plot into action, though, things go terribly wrong and Romi and Julio's lives are in danger.
I liked seeing the two families who started off not liking each other come together in order to help their children. I also liked the characters of Ben and Destiny. Both were incredibly vivid and really good friends.
This book, however, was incredibly simplistic, almost to the point of being insulting. The characters kept mentioning "Romeo and Juliette," which was distracting. If the author was going to play on the Shakespeare story, she ought to have been a bit more subtle than she was. It also seemed to me that exposing a dangerous gang on television wouldn't be the best way to ensure safety.