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2.87  ·  Rating Details ·  125 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Into the summer heat of New York’s Spanish Harlem strides Carmen, a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets. When she first meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not like the gansta types she knows—tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José has a quick temper, and he likes to get his own way. And nobody gets in Carmen’s way.

When Escamillo ro
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by EgmontUSA (first published January 1st 2011)
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379th out of 1,167 books — 7,029 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 358)
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Clarissa Santiago
Jun 05, 2014 Clarissa Santiago rated it really liked it
Carmen, "a chica who is as hot as the sizzling city streets". Meets José, she falls for him hard. He’s not gansta type she knows that tipo duros who are tough, who think they are players. But José is extreme irascible, no one is to mess with Carmen.

When Escamillo rolls into town, everyone takes notice of him especially Carmen. Hence Carmen has given up on José he’s not going to help her out her struggling neighborhood, and into the action like cool Escamillo will. But José refuses for that to ha
Corrie Lotito
Jul 21, 2016 Corrie Lotito rated it did not like it
As a standalone book, this fails.
As a play, this fails.
As an adaptation of Carmen, this fails.

I'm honestly furious that this wasn't good. Literally the only positive thing I can say about this book is that while I was reading this I mentally cast Frasquita and Mercedes as the characters Maritza and Flaca from OITNB. If you're interested in updated ideas of Carmen, check out the movie U-Carmen, Carmen Jones, or the hip-hopera version. There's also a new afro-cuban musical version in DC right now
Mar 10, 2014 Marlene rated it it was amazing
Carmen is a realistic fiction novel by Walter Dean Myers. Carmen was published on
April 26,2011 based on a true opera. I picked up this book because it was recommended to me by one of my summer school teachers. After that book I started to read 2 other books by the same author, and still plan on reading more. In the book, I was expecting Carmen and Jose to spend their life time together since she had feelings for him for quite a while.

The book is about a girl named Carmen who had a crush on a g
Apr 13, 2012 Josiah rated it it was ok
“Love came easy, but it just wasn't for me.
It flew away like swallows on a summer evening.
Love sang softly, but it just wasn't to me.
Was I a fool to give my love, to give my soul,
and more away?
My heart aches with longing, cries each night,
As I just fall apart."

―Carmen, singing Love Has Flown Away, P. 70

I hope that eventually some enterprising filmmaker takes a look at some of the books that Walter Dean Myers has written, and decides to adapt one or two of them into movies. As in Riot, C
Mar 03, 2012 Katie rated it did not like it
When Carmen - a gorgeous, young, Dominican woman - sees Jose - the boy she had a crush on so many years ago - it doesn't matter that he is a police offer (who will soon be arresting her!), all of the old feelings come rushing back.

Jose quickly falls deeply in love, but it isn't long before he begins to show the darker side of his feelings. Carmen always thought true love was dangerous, but she still wasn't prepared for this.

Walter Dean Myers is the man. 145th Street, Street Love, H
Jul 28, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok
Carmen by Walter Dean Myers is an urban adaptation of the classic opera. Carmen is a stunningly beautiful Latino girl (18)who all the men hope to capture the love of. The story takes place in Spanish Harlem where life is tough. Carmen meets Jose, a 21 year old police officer, who has a dark side that the reader does not see until well into the book. Carmen remembers Jose from childhood when they lived on the same street and she had a crush on him. When Carmen sees him again, the old feelings com ...more
May 28, 2011 cecilia rated it liked it
Shelves: red-covers
A modern-day telling of the French opera Carmen along the lines of what West Side Story did for Romeo and Juliet. Saucy and vivacious chica del barrio Carmen knows how to wrap guys around her finger, so when she sets her sights on Officer José, he never had a chance to resist. Carmen likes undying devotion in her men, but José gets a little too possessive to her liking. She drops him for the flirty rapper-turned-producer Escamillo which leads into a tragically explosive conclusion.

I had been exc
Aug 30, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla
The always innovative Walter Dean Myers takes the classic opera Carmen and turns it into a play set in New York's Spanish Harlem. The setting and the language he chooses gives the story a hip, it-could-happen-to-me-or-some-people-I-know feel, and many teen readers are liable to relate to the attractive, self-confident Carmen who is looking for a way out of the world in which she lives. Sometimes love or falling in love can seem to provide an avenue for escape. In this case, though, Carmen rekind ...more
A thrilling modern-day adaptation by the brilliant young adult author, William Dean Myers of Georges Bizet's classic opera, Carmen, set in Seville, Spain in the mid 19th century, Carmen is sure to wow young adults everywhere. Myers' version, set in New York's Spanish Harlem, the play tells the tale of Carmen, Escamillio and Jose's love triangle interspersed with actual songs from the opera, Carmen. I am familiar with the music from the opera, Carmen but never have seen a production on stage or r ...more
Jun 08, 2013 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, young-adult
Georges Bizet's 19th-century opera about a lusty gypsy who is killed by a disturbed lover receives bold new treatment in the hands of Printz Award winner Walter Dean Myers. The story is relocated from Seville to East Harlem, and the characters' occupations are updated: While Carmen still works in a factory, soldier José is now a cop, shy country girl Micaela an aspiring schoolteacher, and, most notably, flamboyant bullfighter Escamillo an equally flamboyant rapper-entrepreneur. Myers cleverly ad ...more
Ofa Fotu
Dec 03, 2011 Ofa Fotu rated it really liked it
Shelves: engl-420
Myers puts it into a screen play form (or a play form) there is even songs and music. It is a Spanish Harlem rendition of the opera "Carmen". The main characters are Latino - and there is a lot of attention paid to culture and dialect. There are themes of violence (fast decisions with sad consequences), unhealthy love relationships, and fate. It was a beautiful read and I felt I could really get into the characters, despite how sparse the descriptions were (most of it is dialogue - screen play s ...more
Apr 27, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
This was a pretty amazing project by Walter Dean Myers, grand-daddy of all things YA Lit. He takes the opera "Carmen" and adapts it to an urban setting but still retains the main plot and essence of the opera. Yes, there are urban images/vocabulary. Personally, the fact that he can adapt George Bizet's 1875 opera to appeal to modern-day urban teens is a feat in itself. What I found even more impressive is that he includes some of the opera music (original)that would still be used in his producti ...more
May 31, 2015 Kaela rated it really liked it
Reading this makes me forlorn Walter Dean Myers is no longer with us. I like what he did with the opera Carmen. It's a clever idea to take this soap opera of a story and make it modern so teens of today can relate. Reading a play is something I haven't done in a while & I love it. But I couldn't find the updated score on his website which bummed me out. I didn't check publisher's site.
Dec 30, 2011 Toby rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I like that the author experiments with style in this book, writing a screenplay? script? for a drama based on an opera but moving the action to modern day Spanish Harlem. We were considering it for a Mock Coretta Scott King discussion but don't believe it meets the criteria as it doesn't illuminate an aspect of the African-American experience. Still, readers can check out annotated music and lyrics at the end of the book as well as downloads from - undoubtedly, this dial ...more
Jul 27, 2011 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-fiction
I loved the concept of this book. The opera Carmen, set in contemporary times in "Spanish Harlem." But I just didn't really get into it. I wanted to. I wanted to love it. It may be that it's too high-concept for me, with music in the back, but I love the music from Bizet's Carmen, so I don't think that's it. I wonder if teens would make it through the book, unless they are reading it as play. It could make for a cool school assignment from the right teacher, but it fell flat for me. Maybe the pl ...more
Jun 20, 2011 Alicia rated it liked it
Myers took the opera/novella and hundreds of remakings (as he pointed out in the afterword)and reacreated an urban drama in screenplay format that makes it accessible for teens. I must say that I've only heard of the opera and didn't know anything about it but Myers conveyed the idea pretty quickly and easily. Carmen is a fireball with insecurities covered up by her striking beauty since she can so easily fall in love with a man so obviously wrong (and unstable) as Jose. I am interested in liste ...more
Mar 17, 2011 Laura rated it liked it
Carmen is one of my favorite operas, and if this book gets more students to go see it (and from there, perhaps to other operas) then great. The author has changed very little other than the setting and some of the language: the names all remain the same, and some of the more famous songs are here in modern translations ("The Toreador Song" isn't, which makes sense as the setting has moved to el barrio). Walter Dean Myers is such a beloved author that I'm certain readers will read (and enjoy) thi ...more
Martha Schwalbe
Aug 23, 2011 Martha Schwalbe rated it liked it
How fun was this book? It's set in Spanish Harlem in the present and Myers includes the lyrics for some of the songs within the text. I found the story very entertaining and felt like I was watching the opera. The sad part was that I didn't know what dances the characters were performing, I kept slipping back in time.
The notes about the story and the music by Myers is interesting, absolutely worth reading, using perhaps as a springboard to other music and stories which is something I've been con
Walter Dean Myers tells you in a long author's note how much he loves the opera Carmen, and it shows. He worked with a young composer-arranger to create new versions of Bizet's classic work (which you can listen to on Myers' website), and he adapted the original book to this stage play format.

It works, and it's a quick read, but I wonder just how many kids will pick this up because of the opera link. Myers' many fans will be likely to try it out, though.
Jul 11, 2015 Mel rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this. I typically like Walter Dean Myers books. But, I can't really say it made an impact. He certainly seems like he could have put a great spin on (and modernize)the opera that the book is based on. Maybe it was the format it was written in. Maybe it was the length of the book. Either way, it's a very quick read. I would still not recommend. It was really a 1.5 with half a star for the cover.
Apr 27, 2011 April rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, multicultural
You know how you read a really excellent adaptation of a story and that becomes the standard by which you set all of the other adaptations? Then you may get really disappointed when other versions don’t quite live up to your expectations.

Read the rest of my review here
May 23, 2011 Heather rated it it was ok
Great cover and premise. I think you have to be familiar with the songs and the opera to appreciate this story. I'm not sure if teens will be interested without having seen the play or movie. Reading it felt a bit too much like a school assignment.
Apr 09, 2016 Tweller83 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Tweller83 by: Publisher 10-12
This turned me off from the beginning. I'm not sure why except I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. It is told in a play format which turned me off as well.

And I like Walter Dean Myers' other books I've read. Sigh...
Jul 13, 2011 Gabrielle rated it it was ok
I usually love Walter Dean Myers, and I love the idea of this book, but I just couldn't get into it. I'm thinking it would be good as a read-aloud (and I wouldn't mind seeing it performed), but reading it was a bit of a struggle.
May 07, 2011 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, classics
Think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the Carmen novella by Posper Merimee, seen the Georges Bizet opera, or seen one of the movies before reading this book.
Mar 08, 2013 Tameka rated it liked it
I love the story of Carmen and Myers' adaptation is nice, but I don't like how it reads like a screen play. And the narrative of this book never mentions that it reads this way.
Jun 27, 2012 Anni rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
I thought that maybe, even though I thought Carmen the opera was boring, that a modern retelling would be more interesting, but it wasn't. So I stopped reading it.
May 26, 2011 Elsa rated it liked it
Shelves: qp-2012
I personally don't like to read plays. I vaguely remember the story of Carmen and I think kids who aren't into theater will have a tough time with this one.
Feb 14, 2012 Jonathan rated it liked it
Powerful updating of iconic opera into modern day Spanish Harlem, complete with after text about the opera, musical scores, etc. Interesting read.
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Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia but moved to Harlem with his foster parents at age three. He was brought up and went to public school there. He attended Stuyvesant High School until the age of seventeen when he joined the army.

After serving four years in the army, he worked at various jobs and earned a BA from Empi
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“We all think we're different, but when it comes around, we end up needing the same things. Somebody to love us. Somebody to respect us.” 12 likes
“Love came to me, but it
Just wasn't for me.
It touched my heart and left it
Lying on the shore, and
Love smiled at me, but it
Just wasn't for me.
It glanced my way with pity, but
I soon knew it had other plans.
Once again my heart was broken;
I was all alone to

―Carmen, singing the reprise to "Love Has Flown Away”
More quotes…