Romeo, Juliet & Jim

SCHWARZ, Larry & . 288p. Holt. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627792509.
Gr 9 Up—It's the most famous love story in history—with a few updates. Romeo and Juliet are the scions of rival fashion houses in Paris, facing corporate takeovers. They write draft emails to each other in a secret account, make sure they are Instagrammed with decoy dates, and have secret meet-ups in tourist destinations. The narrative alternates chapters between Romeo and Juliet. The title of this selection, however, hints that there is an additional tweak—the doomed lovers are in a love triangle with an American named Jim. While a star-crossed adaptation in the world of contemporary fashion is an appealing concept, Schwartz and Palmer's novel unsuccessfully balances old and new elements. The book vacillates wildly between staying too close to the source material and veering off course. There are also structural and writing deficits that are too great to overcome with a catchy idea. The writing is clunky, the dialogue is inauthentic, and the work ends abruptly before the classic tale can be seen through, which may leave room for another entry in the series but makes for an inelegant ending to this installment.
VERDICT Not recommended.

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