West Side Story
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West Side Story

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  11,187 ratings  ·  65 reviews
From the silver screen to the Great White Way—one of the greatest stories of all time.

They came together through love but violence threatened to tear them apart. Maria was young and innocent and had never known love—until Tony. And he, who had been seeking something beyond the savagery of the streets, discovered it with her.
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 15th 1990 by Pocket Books (first published 1961)
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Nicki
I really enjoyed this book. It's easier to split up my review however, so I will.

Likes
I really, really liked the depth added to the characters. In the movie, all of the characters, even Tony and Maria, felt a little distant. However, in the novel, I could feel and relate to them. I loved knowing what was going through their heads, and seeing certain scenes through the eyes of the characters. I also liked reading it without the songs (don't get me wrong, I LOVE the songs). It made the story so m...more
Kathy
This book is wonderful ! So basicly this book is about a group of people from Puerto Rico who Immagrate to America. They move to this crazy part America. The American's do not want the Puerto Ricans in Their town. So they both Hatee eachother and both created groups called: Jets(Americans) And Sharks(Puerto Ricans). The main idea Is that thee 2 leader of the jets named Tony Falls in love with this young girl from the sharks named Maria. Can they stick out with their love, Like Romeo And JUliet,...more
Zoe Mckendrick
The greatest American musical. Doesn't hurt that the story is ripped off from Shakespeare but hey, that' guy's dead, what does he care? Kind of silly to read it when you can watch the movie though. Best thing about the movie: the dancing. Worst thing: Natalie what'shernames ridiculous accent. Seriously she sounds like she's from Transylvania and has the worst spray tan you've ever seen. She'd be pretty otherwise, but then I found out she didn't even do the singing! So dumb. Rita Morena is amazin...more
Mike
Terrible novelization. TERRIBLE. I'm not even going to review it, it was so terrible - it doesn't deserve one yottasecond of my time and energy.
Henry Bellamy
THIS. I have no words. This was absoulutely the worst piece of trash I have ever had to read for school.

My main problem is that this is a complete rip-off of Romeo and Juliet. Now I know that this is supposed to be a "modernized version," but the way they pulled it off was terrible. I'm all for modernizing classics, but if you're going to attempt that, please, at least do it well. West Side Story reads like a mix of R&J and The Outsiders, and if you've read both books, you can probably imag...more
Zana
"From the silver screen to the Great White Way—one of the greatest stories of all time.They came together through love but violence threatened to tear them apart. Maria was young and innocent and had never known love—until Tony. And he, who had been seeking something beyond the savagery of the streets, discovered it with her. But Maria’s brother was leader of the Sharks and Tony had once led the rival Jets. Now both gangs were claiming the same turf. Tony promised Maria that he would stay out of...more
Samantha
"West Side Story" has been a play that I have been wanting to read for quite a long time. I have seen the movie of this play numerous times and an extremely anxious to see the new revival on broadway. Whenever I see a movie or stage production of a play, I am always interested to read the actual book to have a different perspective on the characters and overall plot. "West Side Story" is a tragic love story set in New York City in the mid-1950's on the west side of the city. This area is full of...more
Suzanne Moore
This book was based on a musical. It takes place on the streets of New York, during the 1950s. The story kind of follows the theme set in Romeo and Juliet. The Sharks and The Jets are gangs at odds over "their" turf. Race is involved as on of the gangs is composed of immigrants from Puerto Rico. When they meet on neutral ground (the community center) for a dance, Maria and Tony fall in love. They face challenges because they belong to different sides of the neighborhood. Tony hears of a rumble t...more
Mire Ajeti
Sharks, Puerto Rican, and the Jets, Whites, two very strong street gangs roaming the streets of Los Angeles in the 1930's. While a former Jets, Tony (also the best friend of leader Jets named Riff) falls in love with Maria, the Sharks leader, Bernardo, sister at a dance. As these two gangs get ready for a fist battle, something bad happens between the Sharks and Jets that will change things forever.
I really enjoyed this book, it was really similar to Romeo and Juliet's plot but had a little twis...more
Lux
It amazes me that after all these years I'd never known what WestSide Story was about and I could never watch the show either because it was musical. After picking up a copy and reading the back I became interested. Once I found out it was based on Romeo & Juliet, I could sense the drama, although it seemed more tragedy than comedy (of course I don't fully understand either terms that well) particularly in the end. I could also sense Irving Shulman's dramatic style as I read the story in Wel...more
Mitzi
I'm a sucker for a good love story and this fits the bill. It's been probably 30 years since I saw the movie that starred Natalie Wood (one of my favorites) as Maria. Maria is in a tough situation when the man she loves, Tony is pitted against her brother, Bernardo who is a member of the Sharks gang. It has such a sad ending and I find it ironic that the actress had such a sad ending to her own life. West Side Story is a tale of young love, a tale of trying to move on to a better life and the ha...more
Melissa
West Side Story is a modern telling of Romeo and Juliet. It follows Tony and Maria as they fall in love and try to get their friends who are part of two feuding gangs to see past their differences and live in peace with one another. The story is one of friendship, loyalty and love. Students may identify with the friendships of the gangs or the problems that they face with their own identities. The book is definitely a good follow up after reading Romeo and Juliet, and watching the movie/play put...more
Rose
I read this back in high school, so it's been a while, but I remember falling in love with it. I then watched the movie. It was my first musical, I think. It really stuck with me. In fact, I was just sitting here this morning when one of the tunes from the movie popped into my head, which is why I thought to add it to the books I read. I cannot rate it as a five - after 25 years (ugh) I couldn't tell you how well it was written, but it stuck with me so it must have been good. " When you're a Jet...more
♥Xeni♥
Aside from the fact that this play is based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, it is definitely something to read, mainly because it is one of the most famous R&J adaptations out there.

I suppose what I liked most about this book was the influx of Puerto Rican culture. (This is especially well portrayed in the 90's musical adaptation).

Any other points I have to make are more on the musical and less on the book, so I'll refrain here. (Except: I love that fight scene!! I want to dance that!!!...more
Rayne
May 08, 2012 Rayne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: plays
West Side Story is a wonderful musical. I found when reading it a lot of the songs seemed unnecessary, as most of the lyrics provided no more to the story than what I received from reading it. I found it fun to imagine how it was for my grandfather, who grew up in New York at the time this show took place. The story of Maria and Tony is powerful and touching, even when only experiencing the story through the written work. Overall: Amazing.
Steven
Maria: You must go and stop it.
Tony: I have stopped it. It's only gonna be a fist fight now between two of 'em...
Maria: Any fight is no good for us.
Tony: Maria, everything is good for us. We got magic.
Maria: Listen and hear me. You must go and stop it.
Tony: It means that much to you?
Maria: Yes.
Tony: All right, I will then.
Maria: I believe you. You do have magic.
Tony: Of course, I've got you.
Mireya Yvonne
This is my favorite musical of all time. Reading this companion book gives actors more insight to have better characterisation. If you are just reading it for fun, well to be honest it isn't that well written. Things move very quickly but that is because it was originally a play and things move extremely fast. But I still love it to no end! It's a great way to submerse yourself in West Side Story.
Sean W.
As a huge fan of the movie version, I was actually excited to read and answer questions for West Side Story. In fact, this is easily the most worthwhile piece of writing I've ever had to read for English class; based on Romeo and Juliet, but far more accessible, with much more lovable characters and a satisfying, somewhat unexpected conclusion that draws everything to a close rather fabulously.
Henni
West side story er en fantastisk film, der selvom den er fra 1961 stadig holder og har et budskab.
Denne bog er sammen historie, bare uden sangene, dansene og stemningen, historien er stadig aktuel og specielt til sidst rørende og spændende, men den er noget langtrukken når man er vandt til filmen.
Der er dog lidt hjælp at hente i form af indsatte billeder fra filmen.
Kesha
A modern day Montague versus Capulet tale told through rival gangs the Jets versus the Sharks where a Jet male, Tony, falls in love with a Shark female, Maria. While the gangs are focusing on their differences and hate, Tony and Maria see the beauty in their similarities and attempt to mend the break before the rumble threatens to separate everyone for good.
Candice
I have only given this novel two stars and added it to my bookshelf of books that I think I terrible because it does NOT do the musical justice. The only thing I enjoyed about it was the character motivation presented for Anita. Everything about her desperation to win Bernardo's approval makes so much more sense now!
Lovie Taylor
This book is awsome.I say that because it has alot of drama and its kind of like romeo and juliet sort of because the groups sharks and jets do not get along and a boy from the jets and a girl from the sharks are in love and want the two teams to get along because they love eachother. :-)
Tricia Donahue
It was a decent romance tragedy but I enjoyed Romeo and Juliet better.
Ozan Akipek
I liked the book because it was just like Romeo and Juliet. Its about a girl and a guy that are different ethnicities who arent supposed to be together. Yet they still end up loving each other, they dont care that no one approves, they just go on loving each other until the end.
Simon
Oct 14, 2012 Simon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama
Fell in love with the tunes when trying to emulate Maynard Ferguson's versions of Somewhere and Maria. I didn't do too badly. Have never seen it on stage but it is one of only a small handful of musicals that I like. (Guys and Dolls, My Fair Lady...???)
Hanna
Apr 03, 2008 Hanna marked it as to-read
I'm kind of giving up on this book. Because though it is an american classic. I don't really know if I should read it right now. I don't think it's the time to start in this book. I took too long of a time to read it. And I really need to focus on school.
Sarah
More required high school english reading. I thought it was an interesting retelling of Romeo and Juliet...but having just read Romeo and Juliet, I didn't really want to hear the same story all over again. I still liked it, though.
Angela King

A poignant and moving story of adolescence, immigration and young love. In a way it portrays the sometimes loneliness of adolescence. A story all adults can identify with, because of course every adult has been young at some time!
Beth
This is probably the only book where I found the movie to be better. It has to be the dancing. The book was still great but it can't compete with all the body language of the film that reflects the plot so well!
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