"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

SR 2016: Romeo and/or Juliet (Ryan North)

Romeo and Juliet is one of those classic plays that most students have to read for a literature class at some point in their academic careers.  In my case, I've read it twice--once in junior high, and again as a freshman in high school.  It's a good play, of course, being Shakespeare, but if there was one thing I would say it was missing, that would be the opportunity to make your own decisions instead of being forced to watch two hormonal teenagers act out the tragic path that fate has in store for them.  So, of course, when I found out there was a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, I jumped at the chance to read it.

*N.B. This book takes a really long time to read, since you have so many options to choose from, and so many endings to find.  With that in mind, I'm actually writing up this review before I complete the book, but I've found at least 10 different endings so far, so I think I'm qualified to start writing about it now.

Anyways, back to the review.  This is a hilarious book that really takes a classic tale and turns it on its head.  Whether you liked the Bard's original or not, this is a really funny book.  So, you know the story: two teens meet at a party and fall in love.  Even though their parents are enemies, the two get married, plan to tell everyone later, and then things go to hell in an handbasket and they both die.  What a lovely story!

Well, Ryan North's version is a little different.  In this tale, you can play as either Romeo or Juliet (as well as other unlockable characters) and try to live out your perfect love story.  Romeo is what you'd expect: he's a love-sick puppy who makes horrible choices and really loves brunch.  Juliet on the other hand, is a muscle-bound bodybuilder whose hobbies all involve boys and muscles.  So, pretty much what you would expect here, too.

So, basically, just like those choose your own adventures that we read as kids, you get to make choices for each character and try to find the most happy ending.  Some of the more interesting subplots involve Romeo's encounter with a creepy librarian, and Juliet's decision to kill or not kill the fiance her parents arranged for her.

And without giving away too much, some of the endings involve lions, getting chased by a naked man with 30 swords, and literally becoming a glove.  Some of the plotlines will make your laugh until you cry, and as for the others, well, the last thing you could call them is boring.

Oh, and did I mention the illustrations?  Yeah...those are amazing!  And each one is by a different artist :)

I'm be trying to finish this up over the next few days so I can post about it on Goodreads.  But, in the meantime, this is one down for my Summer Reading 2016 experience!

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