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Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,789 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
The tragedy of love thwarted by fate has always intrigued writers. In the sixteenth century, William Shakespeare took this theme and fashioned one of the world's great plays: "Romeo And Juliet." In our own time, Shakespeare's drama has been used as a basis for the overwhelmingly successful musical play "West Side Story." Though one of these works is set among the nobility ...more
Library Binding, 254 pages
Published August 15th 1965 by Turtleback Books (first published January 1st 1965)
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Feb 23, 2013 Kelly rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really don't like Shakespeare. I really, really don't. I also think that Romeo and Juliet are unfathomably stupid characters, and although I applaud Shakespeare for creating such a well-loved and often repeated plot, you would have to pay me to read it again. I read it voluntarily, not for school, and I don't think I will ever change my feelings about it. As for West Side story, it isn't that special. I'm usually a fan of modern adaptations, but I'm not feeling this one.
Apr 02, 2008 Georgina rated it did not like it
This book was realllyyyy hard to read, and it really dragged on when we read it in class. Has shakespeare ever heard of action?? Really boring and i didnt like it. In the beginning it was ok but it's just too long.
The film is soooooo much better.. it's really sad aswell and i rly like the way they modernised it
Jul 24, 2012 Sanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's great to have those two stories in one book, especially if, like me, wanting to compare the two. On top of this, musical theatre libretti are usually rare, so it is special to have the one for West Side Story together with its most important source.
May 12, 2011 Kellie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the immortal words of Junie B. Jones - Wowie wow wow!!! on Romeo and Juliet. Even though I had to re-read some passages 4-5 times and STILL couldn't figure out what Shakespeare was saying, I LOVED this play. The writing was so absolutely beautiful in spots I had to re-read those just because it was so uplifting. I found myself wanting to know what happened (anyone know where I was in High School??) even though I knew the ultimate end. I didn't love West Side Story. Maybe the music helps this ...more
Mar 20, 2009 Roberto rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kyle Garcia (but I think he read it already)
Recommended to Roberto by: Nora Fritsch
I really liked having the Shakespearean classic tragedy and the musical based off of it in the same book. I got to see the parallels more clearly and I loved reading the songs in the book. The stage directions and character insights were well done. Putting the two respective classics side by side strengthens the fact that the story repeats through out time.
Looney Lovegood
You know, I think it would be amazingly fun to play as Mercutio. The part isn't terribly gender oriented, so that makes it easy on me. :D and he has the funnier lines. "Blind Bow-Boy's Butt-Shaft"? Come on, you gotta laugh. Hard. :D
Sep 29, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 8th-grade
Ron Christiansen
Aug 24, 2011 Ron Christiansen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only read Romeo and Juliet (most of it)--preparation for seeing the play with my family at the Shakespeare Festival. As always his play cut deep, maintain relevance in uncanny ways, and, of course, the beauty of the language.
Miguel Angel
Shakespeare was a great writer and "Romeo and Juliet" is proof of that. The mark of a great writer is his/her ability to keep up discussion and the debate whether Romeo and Juliet were in love or just full of lust is a conversation that keeps on going.
Jul 15, 2008 Kati rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had some trouble really getting into it (I only read Romeo & Juliet). We went to Shakespeare in the Park and that was really fun!
Apr 02, 2008 Taylor rated it did not like it
romeo and juliet was boring! no offence teachers, but it dragged on, and it was confusing! i took like more then a month to read!
Jun 23, 2013 Bella rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Romeo and Juliet isn't my favourite really. West side story i didn't enjoy too much either. Studying them was fun but i wouldn't re-read them.
Sep 23, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school-book
I really don't see what the big deal about this story is. Why is it so famous? So many died! I was surprised that Juliet was fourteen, I had thought she was older.
Alyssa Haverfield
Aug 17, 2015 Alyssa Haverfield rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
West Side Story: Not my favorite! There are a few funny lines but I can't get past how quickly Tony and Maria fall in love, and the horrible mistakes they make.
Aug 17, 2008 Cami rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I read this in my youth BEFORE I knew they were the same story. It opened my eyes to the timelessness of the story of the power and intensity of teenage romance.
Safar Alajmi
Dec 16, 2013 Safar Alajmi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2008 Mikael rated it really liked it
this book brought together my love of period elizabethan drama and flamboyant musicals . period
Feb 24, 2015 Almira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, plays
great comparative edition. 50 years old. great notes!
Alexander Seifert
Oct 25, 2015 Alexander Seifert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
10th Grade English was a wonderful time for me, because it had a lot of books I genuinely enjoyed reading (I know, a shocker).

One of those many was this pairing of Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. Anyone at this point understands that the two are, you know, almost the same story. If anything, West Side Story (for me, at least) can be seen as the original 'gritty reboot.' Gritty?! I mean, I know that Romeo and Juliet is a pretty dark story, but the setting and the characters aren't by any me
Jazzy Lemon
Aug 17, 2013 Jazzy Lemon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, lyrical, magical. Shakespeare has spun this wonderful tragical world of star-crossed lovers and Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim have re-spun the words into a modern re-telling. They weren't the first, and certainly won't be the last.

Romeo sighs, this girl has stolen his heart. He climbs up to her balcony.
Tony wanders the streets in a dream, and then ascends Maria's fire escape.

How fitting that the poetic words that flowed from Shakespeare's pe
Jackie Diaz
May 20, 2016 Jackie Diaz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's kind of ironic to me that what is considered the greatest love story of all time is so tragic. I had never actually read either of these stories, even though I've known them, so I took the time to read them. Of course, these are plays so it's more entertaining to watch than to read. Still, they're classics and now I know why.
Feb 14, 2016 Ona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great demonstration of how we all must be willing to let go of the things we love most. It's a combination of hatred, love, and betrayal in one. You fall in love with the characters as they're presented. I think every person should read Romeo and Juliet and West side story, for it will redefine love for you.
Mar 23, 2013 Eyehavenofilter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w-shakespeare
We all know where West Side Story came from, or do we? This is a great introduction to how that process happened, and can open doors for young people to enjoy the writings of one of the worlds great writers. I'm all for that!
Apr 16, 2007 Mister rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Back in the good ole dayz of 9th grade, our teacher showed us this hip urban video with captions of West Side Story in order to prep us to try to read Romeo & Juliet so we can compare and contrast the urban realities with the classical age.
Aug 18, 2008 Carla rated it really liked it
I haven't read R&J in years, but I love the language. I have to confess I've never read West Side STory, but I'm marking this as read anyway because the reason I bought it was R&J. I do need to fix that, though. Someday...
Katie Bailey
Apr 01, 2008 Katie Bailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
read it in the 9th grade class i student teach.i read it 4 times by the end of the unit, got better every time. mercutio is a cad, and there were some fantabulous ways of insulting people back in the day. will you walk with me you onion-eyed pox-crusted dogfish?!
Jun 22, 2011 Melee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theatre
The rating is mainly for the West Side Story half. Romeo and Juliet is nowhere near being my favourite of Shakespeare's plays, but my favourite musical is and always will be West Side Story!
Dec 15, 2010 Tatesha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this edition over and over and over and over again throughout middle and high school.
Loved it.
May 17, 2008 BookDigger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
I have only read Romeo and Juliet as of right now. (it's the only one that was closest to the play I've read.)
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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