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West Side Story

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  15,495 Ratings  ·  84 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.
But Maria’s brother was leader of the Sharks and
...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 15th 1990 by Pocket Books (first published 1961)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nicki
Nov 22, 2011 Nicki rated it it was amazing
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
...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
Dec 01, 2013 Zoe Mckendrick rated it it was amazing
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
Samantha
Apr 18, 2009 Samantha rated it it was amazing
"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
Christina Felipe
Oct 29, 2014 Christina Felipe rated it it was ok
Had to read this for a school assignment. It is the modern version of Romeo and Juliet, adapted from the play. It's an easy read, don't get me wrong, but it was way too cheesy for my liking. You see prejudice between the Jets ("Americans") and the PRs (Puerto Ricans) though what's interesting is that the cops in the novel are biased because they don't like the PRs either. It all feels quite rushed but I guess that''s because it's based off a two to three hour play. Either way,*spoiler alert* Mar ...more
Alex Shelby
Jan 06, 2016 Alex Shelby rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. (Why is there no half star rating?!)
This is the first play I've ever read, and I liked it a lot. The only thing that I didn't like much was the instantaneous falling in love between Tony and Maria, but I can be a bit cynical when it comes to romance, so maybe I should just lighten up. ;)

Some highlights:
"They had more here in New York, more of everything, even of hatred; and to be rid of the latter Maria would have given up everything else and returned to Puerto Rico because she believ
...more
Julie
Jun 13, 2016 Julie rated it it was ok
In comparison to Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story seems really raw. This is probably because of the lack of beautiful music and dancing, the rawness of the language which was not in the movie of the same name (though it may have appeared on stage), and the update putting it in the middle of a gang war... That, and the language, is much more immediate to us than the family feud of the original. There are also some skips in the action which are disconcerting, caused by bad editing. The child will ...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.
Katy
Sep 24, 2015 Katy rated it really liked it
I have recently finished reading a marvelous book called West Side Story. West Side Story was written by Irving Shulman and published by Simon and Schuster. The book is basically about “star crossed lovers.” Sound familiar? It is very similar to Romeo and Juliet. I loved this book not only because it was very short, but also because it reminded me of Romeo and Juliet and I loved that story too. I do not want to give too much away of the story, but it is definitely a must read. I think that every ...more
Greg Kerestan
Feb 01, 2016 Greg Kerestan rated it liked it
An interesting side-note to one of the biggest musicals of all time, Irving Shulman's novel based on "West Side Story" fleshes out the nature of the Sharks and Jets. While the movie and musical give the impression that other than a borderline race war, these are relatively decent, naïve, innocent kids playing at being scrappers until they go too far, Shulman characterizes the gang boys as street toughs with real experience. Robberies, assaults, gay-bashing and more are all implied or outright st ...more
Arte
Sep 26, 2012 Arte rated it did not like it
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
Suzanne Moore
Sep 16, 2010 Suzanne Moore rated it really liked it
Shelves: theatre
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
Kelly Webber
May 08, 2015 Kelly Webber rated it liked it
I likes this book but it was kind of over dramatic. I think the author wrote it that way to entertain the readers. This book is a lot like The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton in the way both books have a backstory of rivalry gangs/groups. I think readers who like to read about gang drama and realistic fiction would like this book.
Ty Blumberg
Aug 24, 2016 Ty Blumberg rated it liked it
I read this book before I watched the movie, and it was pretty obvious it was adapted from a musical (dancing/breaking into song at random times). I enjoy Romeo and Juliette in general, so this made for a pleasant read. Not the best read ever, but still worth a look.
Christian P
the west side story has a great story plot and has many attention grabbers. The main protagonist Tony has been pulled into a gang named the Jets and is now had fallen in love with the sister of the leader of a rival gang the Sharks.
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
Deborah
Feb 21, 2016 Deborah rated it liked it
Labeled as a romance, better categorized as a tragedy. Modern day Romeo and Juliet. Two gangs,meets vs sharks, lots of bloodshed. No HEA. Disappointing after I'd heard so many good things about the musical.
Bre
Sep 20, 2016 Bre rated it liked it
My 9th grade English teacher made her students read it together as a class and watch the movie. The book was okay but I had a little interest in watching the movie. The film made me understood the story better.
Brooke
Apr 10, 2015 Brooke rated it liked it
Not as good as the musical, of course. I was a bit disappointed, but I sort of predicted it wouldn't compare to the musical. Problem #1: There was no singing. :)
Jacie
Jul 01, 2015 Jacie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've cried enough tears to last a lifetime.

“You killed him! Not with bullets and guns! But with hate! And I can kill now because now I have hate!”
Mari
Jul 20, 2015 Mari rated it really liked it
reading this book was another great way of enjoying this story. I've seen the movie so many times and it just never gets old.
Jennifer
Apr 26, 2016 Jennifer added it
Shelves: theater
This is a newer version of Romeo and Juliet. We could compare the two stories and enjoy the musical numbers!
Lori Nemitz
Apr 17, 2016 Lori Nemitz rated it really liked it
Read between January & June 1983.

Original notes on book from 1983: Great story. Movie is better!
Mitzi
Sep 07, 2010 Mitzi rated it liked it
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
Toti
Sep 27, 2014 Toti rated it really liked it
Medio cualquiera que se enamoren tan rapido pero me re gustó!!!
H
Oct 22, 2015 H rated it really liked it
So my older brother was reading this for English class and I decided to read it because he loved it so much.
Great. book.
One of the best I have read in a while. Besides Call of the Wild of course :)

But anyways the characters were great and it was refreshing to read actually good writing besides from the YA shit.
I love the characters and the way how the author writes. It's perfect. I finished this book in three hours. I skipped my daily workout for this.
I hope this helps :))
Don't forget to l
...more
Melissa
Sep 20, 2012 Melissa rated it really liked it
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
Victor Heranz
Jan 17, 2015 Victor Heranz rated it liked it
3,5. Ayuda a acercarse más a los personajes de esta desgarradora historia.
Rose
May 05, 2013 Rose rated it really liked it
Shelves: seen-the-movie
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
Natalia Łastowiecka
Dec 01, 2014 Natalia Łastowiecka rated it really liked it
Makes me cry every time
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