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When You Were Mine

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From the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years comes an intensely romantic modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told—narrated by the girl Romeo was supposed to love.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell Everything.
     Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy...and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.
     Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….

334 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Rebecca Serle

19 books6,576 followers
Rebecca Serle is the New York Times bestselling author of In Five Years, The Dinner List, and the young adult novels The Edge of Falling and When You Were Mine. Serle also developed the hit TV adaptation Famous in Love, based on her YA series of the same name. She is a graduate of USC and The New School and lives in Los Angeles. Find out more at RebeccaSerle.com.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 929 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,962 reviews293k followers
May 5, 2012

This book is a real snarkfest, in fact I kind of wish someone other than me was reviewing this right now, I have a good many friends who could really go to town on this one. The author successfully manages to be sexist to both men and women, indulge in a bout of slut-shaming, and completely miss the point.

I actually really like Shakespeare most of the time, but I think that Romeo and Juliet is one of his weakest works - or one of my least favourites, anyway. The greatest love story of all time? This isn't even the greatest love story that Shakespeare wrote. Let's be honest and admit that Romeo and Juliet is actually about two horny and shallow teenagers who set eyes on one another and fall into a pit of emo melodrama. You can probably tell I don't believe in love at first sight, well, I just like to think that love relies on something more than physical appearance. And, of course, behind all this is the story of Romeo's ex - Rosaline - who gets completely forgotten in one moment of overenthusiastic lust that is blown way out of proportion.

So I picked up When You Were Mine with the very honest intention of feeling sorry for poor Rosaline who gets cast aside like an old rag. In the play she is not even viewed as a human being in the way she is so easily written out of Romeo's life. I was totally prepared for sadness, angst, even some anger towards Romeo... and this could have been achieved without a single problem if only Ms Serle had not decided to turn this story (and the blame) around onto Juliet. Because in this book, Juliet is the evil, boyfriend-stealing whore and Rob (Romeo) is just a chess piece, without reason or motivation, who is completely at the mercy of Juliet's seduction.

No, no, no! This is not how it happens. If you are in a relationship with someone and that person cheats on you it is their fault. They are the unfaithful ones, the ones who've betrayed your trust and gone behind your back, not the person they cheated on you with. Unless Rohypnol has somehow come into play, nobody is "at the mercy of" someone else's seductions, because they always still have a choice. Serle should have focused this story on Rosaline's emotions of being betrayed, of finding out that the perfect life you thought you had all sorted can go wrong. She didn't. She was too busy making Juliet a bitch.

Everything about Juliet from her mannerisms and the way she talks to the way she looks is supposed to make the reader dislike her. She has blonde hair: "the kind Charlie calls 'prescription strength', meaning you need serious chemical help to achieve it". Obviously Juliet is an evil slut because she even dyes her hair blonde. Shameful. Rosaline, on the other hand, frequently describes herself as plain, but she is intelligent. Not that this is a bad thing at all, but Juliet is supposed to be there to make Rosaline look better, she is the ditzy blonde bitch so Rosaline can be the nicey-nicey girl next door. Personally, I found it rather sickening.

Also, there's a heavy dose of casual slut-shaming flying around in the novel and it isn't limited to Juliet. For example:

"Charlie says there's a difference between being a slut and being slutty. She thinks Olivia was slutty for hooking up with the Belgian, but she would never call her a slut. Her theory is that the distinction is between how you act and who you are. Olivia's was an action, whereas Darcy's is a defining quality."

Hear that girls? Being a slut is a defining quality. I just don't know what to say to this crap anymore, this is 2012, will the attack on female sexuality ever end?

If you need any more convincing that Juliet is given all the blame and innocent Rob has supposedly been manipulated by her, I have to mention the part in the story where Rob punches another boy in the face and Juliet's effect on him is brought up again: "It all goes back to her. Rob was totally sane until she came around. Now he's picking fights, ditching his friends, and not talking to his parents." This is what I mean about the sexim extending to both genders, Juliet's the whore who got her claws into someone else's boyfriend, and Rob is completely incapable of making his own decisions, he is the tool by which evil Juliet can carry out her despicable plan. It's all bullshit.

I liked the idea of this book so much. Rosaline is one of history's characters that I've always believed had a great and emotional story to tell. I still think she does, but unfortunately When You Were Mine is not it.
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews568 followers
April 2, 2013
Sometimes a book calls out to you, be it for all the right or wrong reasons. When it comes to re-imaginings of age-old tales and classics of the literary pantheon, one must tread lightly, particularly when entering the realm of William Shakespeare. It’s important to remember the cultural and historical context of his work when applying it to a modern day setting. It’s possible to remain faithful to the source material while still adapting it to fit today’s moral & societal changes. A good example of this is the movie “10 Things I Hate About You”, a high school retelling of the very archaic “The Taming of the Shrew”. Said play is pretty misogynist, emphasising the important of subduing a woman’s fiery spirit in favour of making her an obedient wife. In “10 Things I Hate About You”, the “shrewish” heroine does not change for a man, nor is she forced into it. Their romantic resolution is witty, equally matched and doesn’t rely on either of them completely changing their personalities. I highly recommend the film if you haven’t seen it. However, today’s review is about a less successful Shakespeare modern day retelling. “When You Were Mine” actually manages to be just as, if not more sexist than the play it’s taken from, the ever popular “Romeo and Juliet”.

I have a big revelation for you all, dear readers. It may shock you, it may not (I hope not), but I’m sick of the world still living by this false assumption in 2013 and think it’s time to set the record straight for the good of us all.

There is no such thing as a slut.

Seriously. They don’t exist.

If someone calls you a slut, then ask them to define it. Usually they can’t, or the definition changes with every person you ask.
That’s because there’s no such thing as a slut.

The term “slut”, and variations on that term, are so casually tossed around towards women, basically exist to shame women for being vaguely sexual, although they’re just as commonly used as insults to women for completely unrelated reasons (wearing a low-cut top is tantamount to being the whore of Babylon according to some). Women are often depicted as being manipulative, stupid, malicious or just plain evil solely based on their sexuality – they’re evil because they’re a slut, and they’re a slut because they’re evil. Poor innocent men are snatched from their true loves by those evil sluts, who don’t have real human emotions like the nice girls, and leave men completely merciless to their slutty wiles. These women all look a certain way – usually blonde, wearing lots of make-up and revealing clothing, often compared to porn stars or blow-up dolls, frequently cheerleaders. Many jokes will be made about sexually transmitted diseases towards these sluts, although male “players” are clean on this front. More often than not, bad things happen to these women, but don’t worry, because they deserve it.

Remember, these women don’t exist.

I stress this because after reading “When You Were Mine”, I seriously began to believe that the author, a woman herself, hates other women, or had a cousin who seriously messed with her at some point during her life. In this modern version of the oft-imitated tale of star-crossed lovers, Rosaline is beginning a relationship with Rob Caplet (see what they did there?) just as her cousin Juliet returns to the scene and immediately snatches him away. Rob goes from being besotted with Rosaline to completely obsessing over Juliet, that slut. Juliet is, of course, a heavy make-up wearing spoiled brat with bleach blonde hair who snatches away innocent men and turns them into little lapdogs. But never fear, good readers, because underneath that harsh and fake exterior is a broken little girl who is just jealous of her plain but intelligent cousin, and will meet a tragic end that will be entirely blamed on her.

Do you see where this book goes wrong?

In “Romeo and Juliet”, Rosaline is never on stage, and serves more as a plot point than anything else. She is a means for Romeo to attend the Capulet family’s party and meet Juliet, his true love. A lot of great literary analysis has been written on her and I implore you to check some out because you won’t find any of that here. In the play, where Rosaline serves as a contrast and plot point, here she is the angel to Juliet’s whore. The naïve teenage girl consumed by first love in the face of petty familiar conflict has been turned into a slut, and later on a dead slut.

This is not okay.

There is literally nothing else to Juliet’s character except her evil sluttiness and the consequences of it. In this book, being a slut is literally described as being a defining quality!

"Charlie says there's a difference between being a slut and being slutty. She thinks Olivia was slutty for hooking up with the Belgian, but she would never call her a slut. Her theory is that the distinction is between how you act and who you are. Olivia's was an action, whereas Darcy's is a defining quality."

Charlie and Olivia are Rosaline’s friends. So there you go – good friends can be slutty but they’re never sluts. That’s for other women.
Juliet is entirely blamed for Rob’s actions, which is both sexist and daft. The last time I checked, men were autonomous creatures completely capable of doing as they pleased. Women can do that sometimes as well. By putting all the blame on Juliet for Rob’s actions (as if his penis just fell into her vagina), his responsibility is completely removed from him. He’s not a victim; he knew exactly what he was doing! Of course, in the end he tries to run back to the good and sweet Rosaline, but it all ends badly (do I even need spoiler alerts for “Romeo & Juliet”?) because that is the normal way of things. In 2013.

I actually have nothing else to say about this book because I can’t remember a single thing about it outside of the weapons grade level of slut-shaming. Taylor Swift looks like bell hooks in comparison to “When You Were Mine”. I honestly can’t get over how much this book hates women. It’s archaic and makes Shakespeare’s Elizabethan era play look progressive in comparison. At least in “Romeo & Juliet” the pair were supposed to be blind with infatuation and Juliet didn’t shove the poison down Romeo’s mouth. It’s not as if the original material is untouchable, and it’s not as if there isn’t great potential in giving some depth to Rosaline, but absolutely no effort is put into that here because the author is so concerned with demonising Juliet to the point of insanity. Take my advice and stick to the source: It’s better written, makes some sense and doesn’t loathe women.

Profile Image for Mel.
272 reviews12 followers
May 20, 2012
Gentle reader, I wish to spare you my suffering. Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury this book, not to praise it. When You Were Mine is awful. It is not simply awful it is bitter, stupid, sexist, and above all a lie.

Actually, no. The worst part really is how grossly sexist and simplified it is. The author says she had her own heartbreak and "turned the experience into this book," which shows because Rose's bitterness is very authentic. There are times, brief and fleeting, where I could see the strain and want to sympathize with her.

Then we get to parts where the narration has Juliet admitting she stole everything from Rosaline out of pure jealousy, where Romeo--I mean, Rob--comes to her doorstep pleading that he's always loved her, but she turns him away because she now has a better, more sensitive and endlessly patient boyfriend? That is a pure revenge fantasy of a scorned lover. And I would enjoy reading a character coping with such a thing if the whole book didn't feel like it was justifying it and wallowing in it with its every paragraph. But others have better explained the pitfalls and failures in that sphere and I would recommend reading their reviews if mine leaves you unconvinced.

What I am offended about is that it is also a lie. Because the hook, the catch, this book's raison d'être is that this is Rosaline's untold story that was overshadowed by the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. And this, gentle reader, has nothing in common with Romeo and Juliet. And I don't mean it's not by switching locals from fair Verona to Southern California, mixing up the ages, or switching Romeo to Rob, and Montague to Monteg and Capulet to Caplet, I mean nobody has any resemblance at all to the play. Not even a pale attempt.

Rosaline had no lines in the original, so this would be perfect to craft a whole and unique voice, to recreate a character whose circumstances can cast the events of the play in a new light.

But she doesn't even try this tactic. Juliet, instead of a naive young girl, is a bitter overdramatic "slut" (oh yes, they use this word a lot) who makes Regina George from "Mean Girls" look positively endearing. She's crazy, she's emotionally manipulative such as threatening suicide if Rob breaks up with her, and she goes out of her way to be nasty to Rosaline for the perceived slight back when they were seven. Rob was always a well-mannered and level-headed boy, not prone to flightiness and expected to go to Stanford, until Juliet shows up. Then he becomes vicious and picks fights with people in jealous fits of rage. And instead of being completely fixated with Juliet he harbors feelings for Rosaline that crop up every so often when he's not being a massive jerkoff.

The tragedy of their families, instead of a longstanding blood feud that has been going on so long that nobody remembers what it's about, has been given a reason that is as recent as . This is so dumb because Rob spends most of the novel being in the dark about the feud's reasons. Juliet spends most of the book spiting Rosaline for the feud because her family apparently sided with the Montegs over hers, so she takes that as a reason to make Rosaline's life miserable and take everything away from her (okay, really, I have to recomment how sexist this is because you can't take a guy, he has the ability to choose!).

Oh and their tragic deaths, instead of being so in love (or at least so hormonally obsessed) with each other that their botched elopement ends in a lover's suicide, this ends with a drunk driving incident over the cliff. With plenty of suggestions that Juliet forced them to crash. This senseless death doesn't bring closure to the families or peace to their city. It's really just a last moment for Rosaline to feel slightly guilty and then shrug it off for her new love interest.

Honestly? I don't mind co-opting classics or subverting Shakespeare. He's not a sacred cow. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is not even my favorite of his plays. I don't pretend it's a love story. It's kids, and they're stupid and reckless, but they're also sympathetic because they become aware that the feud is terrible (we see this because the first scene isn't them being so in love, it's how the feud permeates to even the unrelated servants). Their infatuation is what leads them to realizing how messed up things are and that's the universal feeling Shakespeare capitalized on, a passion being denied by hatred and circumstances they cannot fully change.

Serle didn't care about that. The tragedy is never truly there, it only serves as a tie-in to her novel because who would want to read something described as "scorned girl's burn book detailing the circumstances of her asshole ex-boyfriend and the crazy bitch who stole him away from her." A lot of people, possibly. But that's not the story she hitched her wagon to.

And when you misuse Shakespeare to deliver something as terrible as When You Were Mine?

Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
November 23, 2020
Rebecca Serle's When You Were Mine is a sort-of modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet , with a slightly different focus. (Apparently at the start of the play, Romeo is in love with Roseline, and he goes to a party to try and catch sight of her, then Juliet enters the picture. Story over.)

Roseline and her best friends are excited that senior year of high school is about to begin, and they’re ready to make it the best year ever. She’s hoping that she and Rob, her longtime crush, will finally be able to take their relationship to the next level.

Everything is going well. And then Juliet returns to town. Juliet is Rose’s cousin and former best friend, and they haven’t seen other in a long while. She’s the complete opposite of Rose—impulsive, emotional, confident—and she’s decided she wants Rob for her own.

When Rob falls prey to Juliet’s advances, Rose is angry and devastated. But the more rumors she hears about Juliet’s instability and neediness, the more Rose’s jealousy and hurt turns to worry about Rob and Juliet. Are they heading toward a tragedy?

This was an interesting, soapy YA romance. Nothing is really surprising but it’s still a captivating read.

I’ve loved Serle’s first two adult novels, The Dinner List and In Five Years , but I didn’t know she had written YA novels before this. When You Were Mine was originally published in 2012 but it’s recently been re-released.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2019 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2019.html.

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Sarah (saz101).
192 reviews151 followers
June 4, 2012
It's no secret the greatest love story ever told is no love story. Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy—a tale of bigotry, and murder; a story about a thirteen year old girl and a fickle, capricious boy, ending in suicide and tragedy for all. But what if it was wrong? Or not the whole story? Turns out... it’s every inch as heartbreaking, and if Rebecca Serle does one thing magnificently, it’s laying on the heartbreak. Grab your tissues and your comfort food, and prepare to fall in love... You know what comes next.

The Story:
Rosaline Caplet's final year in school should be perfect. And it is, for a time. When her best friend and next door neighbor, Rob Monteg returns from Summer break, things start to change between them. Despite reluctance to damage a cherished friendship, Rose follows her heart, and, when the two kiss, the stars align. Or so Rose thought. The next day, Rose's more or less estranged cousin, Juliet Caplet returns to town, and the day after that, Rob's love, his lips, even his friendship aren't Rose's anymore, no. They belong to Juliet. Because for Rob and Juliet, it was love at first sight, and like those star-crossed lovers with such similar names, so many years ago, it can't end well. As Rose struggles with her shattered heart, people start whispering of Juliet's instability. Will she take Rob with her when she falls? And will Rose get her own happily ever after?

My Thoughts:
Going into an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is challenging. Knowing the story can only end poorly, it’s difficult to let go of a certain reticence to become fully engaged. Yet it quickly becomes difficult to keep When You Were Mine from getting under your skin. With a charm uniquely its own, warm, vivid characters and sweet first love, it all comes together, feeling so, so right... Before it all goes so, so wrong.

Here's where, enter, stage left, comes our heroine, Rosaline Caplet. Sweet, quiet, and, well, ordinary. Rose is the perfect girl next door to Rob Caplet's Romeo. She has a simple kind of strength of character that shines through ‘ordinary’, making her engaging and easy to like. It's from Rose's outside point of view we watch her first love and best friend fall for another girl, and it's Rose who brings the tragedy home. Because it's not just the pain of two young, promising lives derailing so swiftly and violently. It's what comes before and what's left behind, and Rose feels it all with heart-wrenching intensity.

As I followed fair Rosaline’s journey, I longed for it to change, for Rose to curse the inauspicious stars, to fight their pull, and to choose her own adventure; to make things right in the world and to prove that fate isn’t sealed in the cold, cruel lights in the sky, It’s hard to trust the very wise Ms Serle when she says “No love story ends or begins out of accordance with how it needs to go[1],” but it’s well worth the risk. This is a book designed to make you feel, and oh, does it succeed. From the depths of grief and despair, to the soaring heights of creeping, hateful hope, Serle plays the heart strings with graceful perfection.

From the sweet, giddy breathlessness of first kisses, to the depths of despair, Serle doles out heartache, heartbreak, and emotional intensity with a calm, measured efficiency. And it's the emotional impact of When You Were Mine that is its greatest strength. Even in its darkest moments, Serle reminds us there is always light in the darkness. Whether the incandescent warmth of true friendship, the love of family, or the pinpricks of light in the night sky, the sadness in When You Were Mine is always tempered with something more: with hope, with friendship, with the spark of something new and exciting, after the loss of something old and precious.

With the stage is set, the players enter, and events are set in motion. The show goes on. And it’s this relentless march towards the inevitable that lends When You Were Mine such poignant tragedy: the simple knowledge that a few small choices would provide such a vastly different fate for our star-crossed lovers. But this is the question: choice, or fate? Serle examines fate, destiny, and choice, and lets the reader have the final say, lets them choose. It is not a story of blacks and whites, but one of greys and shadow; of loss, of endings, and of new beginnings.

It’s worth noting When You Were Mine’s slow, steady start, but certainly not as a criticism. Though Serle does have a tendency to overload, at times, on what could seem insignificant details, it comes to feel measured, deliberate. Serle takes her time presenting her players. She lets them fall in love; lets the reader fall in love with them, all before tearing them apart and setting her tragedy in motion.

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.
Romeo & Juliet, Act 5, Scene 3.

The Verdict:
When You Were Mine is not quite the love story, or the tragedy, you remember. Once again, in a cruel play of fate and synchronicity, the stars align in exactly the wrong way to cause catastrophe. A string of small coincidences, combined to cause something profound. Once again, politics come into play, and lives are destroyed, and ultimately, all are punished.

When You Were Mine isn’t quite Romeo and Juliet, but truly, it is not exactly aiming to be. It is not Romeo's, nor Juliet's story, it's Rosaline's. It's about the girl left behind, forgotten, and learning to live with heartbreak. It’s a retelling, and a reimagining: something slightly different, and, in its own way, something more. It's not entirely a tragedy, and despite its heavy subject, avoids being bleak. It's tempered with something more: hope. It’s not precisely the same love story you know, but if you have one, it will break your heart.

Originally posted at saz101 »
299 reviews139 followers
March 22, 2012
2.5 stars

When I first heard about this book I was quite intrigued with the idea of telling the story of Romeo and Juliet from Rosaline’s point of view. The girl before the girl. So I was a little disappointed when I started reading and realised that this was actually a contemporary novel, based on the famous play.

For one thing, the little we know of the original Rosaline was that she rejected Romeo (I’ve always doubted she was the first girl Romeo had proclaimed his undying love to) and Romeo laments her rejection. He isn’t too happy about the fact that she’s taken a vow of chastity either.

Poor boy.

Serle’s Rosaline is in love with Romeo, or Rob, in this case, and when he finally asks her out, she believes it is the beginning of an epic love. Of course, as we all know, Rob’s attentions aren’t destined to last long and soon enough, poor Rosaline is dealing with a broken heart and a few painful home truths.

If I’m honest by page 109 I was seriously considering abandoning this. The main characters were silly, shallow and pretentious and the first half of the book is incredibly tedious, consisting of Rosaline’s (rather self deprecating) monologue about her typical high school day, how generally superior her and her friends are, how much of a ‘disease’ a boy called Len is, how unfair life is and either daydreaming about Rob or over-analysing every thing he says. However, the book definitely improves during Act Three and I will admit to quite enjoying the second half of the story. The main reason for this is because of the growing romance between Rosaline and Len, resulting in some far more interesting scenes than we ever see between her and her supposed ‘true love’.

The original Romeo and Juliet were foolish and naive, but ultimately, endearing. Choosing to depict the story in this way, with Rosaline heartbroken over Rob, Serle fundamentally alters the characters as we know them. Rob is an all together less sympathetic hero, in fact, he's a jerk, who treats his life-long friend in the worst possible way. By default, Juliet becomes a 'boyfriend stealer', a ‘slut’, and later on, a hysterical, potentially suicidal, slut at that. This just wasn’t a message I was comfortable with. I detest slut shaming, both in fiction and real life, and while I wouldn’t say it is overly emphasised in the book, it is there and I don't feel the author took the time to properly explore the issue, other than Rosaline's half hearted attempt to befriend Juliet near the end. Why is Juliet blamed for everything? Why does no one take issue with the fact that Rob becomes more and more unstable and screams at her in very threatening way in public? Why are there rumors that she is suicidal?

There were several things I quite liked about this book. I grew to like the friendship between the three main girls, the support and genuine love they show each other, even if I didn’t much like the characters themselves. I liked Serle's message about choice. I really liked the hints of romance between Len and Rosaline. But so much more was mediocre. In the end, When You Were Mine is a bit hit and miss and takes too long time to get into its stride. A light teenage romance that disappointingly, for an older reader, brushes over some of the darker, more complex plot lines the story presented.
Profile Image for ~Tina~.
1,092 reviews159 followers
January 24, 2012
I've always loved the story of Romeo and Juliet. It's a classic and one of the very few Shakespeare books that I actually paid attention to in high school, so I was very curious about When You Were Mine after reading the blurb. I never thought about what it would it be like from Rosaline's perspective and I gotta tell ya, I was mighty impressed.

Rebecca Serle spins a remarkable tale of teen angst, broken hearts, hope, family drama and tragedy all mixed together in a high school setting. The writing is strong, perfectly cut and fantastically paced.
Rosie and Rob have one of those really sweet tender bubbling romances that I would be lying if I said I didn't want explored, but at last Juliet walked into the picture and everything just changed.
For awhile there I wasn't sure if this book was for me. YA contemporary is a hit or miss for me specially around teenage drama which there was a lot of in this book, but as the story unfolded I couldn't help be invested with these characters lives.
Len was a really good surprise. He's very deep and wise in his own way and I liked the person he is and the person he brought out in Rose.
Rob disappointed me, but I guess that was to be expected. However I didn't expect the ending we got concerning him. But I think that's cause I totally lost myself somewhere within these pages and I forgot I was in a Romeo and Juliet re-telling so it kinda hit me out of no where. Not that's a bad thing, but it sure surprised me.
All in all, I kinda loved this one and I'm looking forward to seeing this portrayed on the big screen!
Profile Image for Sara Lombardi.
51 reviews
April 11, 2021
Profile Image for Sophie.
689 reviews140 followers
June 17, 2012
Have you ever had one of those out of body experiences where you can see yourself stabbing yourself repeatedly, but you can’t stop it? Okay, maybe not stabbing, but a situation in which you can't seem to stop yourself from doing something self-destructive. That was how I felt while reading When You Were Mine. I knew it wouldn’t turn out well, I had no idea why I was reading it, but I did it anyway. It’s the lackluster story of Rosaline, who, if you remember your Shakespeare well enough, was the chick Romeo had the hots for before he got spellbound by Juliet’s mask. This story is told from her point of view, and I suppose the point is to make Rosaline seem like the victim of Romeo and Juliet’s all-consuming love.

There are a couple problems with this scenario. One, I never really felt that bad for Rosaline. She pissed me off with how obsessed she was with “Rob” (AKA Romeo). In fact, there were many times when I could not deal with how pathetic she acted towards the entire situation. I guess this is a high school thing, but I’m in high school, and it was nauseating even for me. She claims to be smart and a shoo-in for Stanford, and there are frequent mentions of the SATs. Funnily enough, I never get that feeling. Rosaline is incredibly shallow, and though she is heralded to be smart, she never really lives up to it. She’s a complete bitch to Len—I still don’t get why everyone hated on him so much—and she seems like a complete pushover with a lack of personality. Her friends are equally annoying: when Rosaline actually gets in a sticky situation (when she’s looking for a reason to prevent Rob from going to the dance with Juliet), Olivia and Charlie are completely distracted. Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, but I think that friends who aren’t paying attention at one of your most embarrassing and helpless moments aren’t very good friends at all. An example: “You smell like a burger,” I hear her say, before they start making out.

Real deep, guys. This book is real deep.

Though I did feel sorry for Rosaline, I also wanted to slap her around a bit and scream at her to get a grip and stop crying. I get it, Rob was her best friend, but if he went drooling after the first pretty girl to come along, he didn’t really deserve any of her endless crying and moping. Yeah. Rob. Perhaps even more pathetic than Rosaline. Also the second problem with this scenario. The original play already has the fault that Romeo and Juliet’s love at first sight thing built itself on extremely shaky foundations. By incorporating this into a high school contemporary, Serle has made it even more ridiculous. I mean, one minute Rob is all over Rosaline, and the next he’s swaying with some random girl, kissing her, and forgetting his best friend? What a dipshit. I have a hard time believing that someone who Rosaline wasted so much time gushing about and reliving childhood memories with would be such an incredible ass. Also, he starts applying early to USC instead of Stanford! He’s definitely a public menace now! Rosaline says at one point, “Stanford is already outdated.” No. NO. Stanford will never be OUTDATED. Stanford is one of the best universities in the entire flipping WORLD. It will NEVER be outdated. Rosaline is such an annoying twit. She doesn’t deserve to go there, not if she’s more worried about the application of a guy who apparently doesn’t care about her at all. This entire book is so simplistic, with its predictable plot and annoying characters. Even Serle’s attempt to make Juliet the good guy is pitiful. The only character I liked was Len, although why he would be attracted to someone as pathetic as Rosaline, I have no idea. Maybe towards the end, Charlie began endearing herself to me more, especially with her reaction to the anticlimactic climax, but that doesn't help the fact that this book is a complete, utter cliche. I would have been an interesting story if it hadn't come off sounding like a poorly written soap opera script.

Maybe I should stop reading these attempts at contemporary young adult and stick to paranormal. But that would be wrong, because there are still little gems like Wanderlove and Anna and the French Kiss, not to mention Sarah Dessen’s books, which give me a little faith that not all high school girls are airheads where boys and life are concerned.
Profile Image for Tabitha (Bows & Bullets Reviews).
492 reviews80 followers
December 2, 2013
The review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews


This book had my full attention as soon as I read the description. Finally! Someone who remembers that Romeo was all in love with someone else at the beginning of that horrid play!

What this awesome author does is take The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet and set it in modern times, telling the story from Rosaline’s perspective (the girl Romeo was all in love with until he set eyes on the wonderful Juliet and fulls in lust love with her). My excitement could not be contained when I saw that PulseIt had this novel up for the month of June. ::dies of happiness:: This novel starts with the romance just beginning between Rob (aka Romeo) & Rosaline. They have been neighbors and best friends for their entire lives and they are in that awkward stage between friendship and romance. Then Rosaline’s cousin moves back into town and it all goes to hell. Rob drops Rosaline like a hot potato to get next to Juliet without any explanation at all beyond “I didn’t expect to fall for her” which obviously upsets Rose.

I had mixed feelings about Rose. One minute, I could completely relate to her and the next, I was so annoyed at her for acting so stupid. The same goes for her friends, one minute I was so irritated at them for being so shallow and the next they are pulling together to help Rose in any way they can. In the beginning this novel reminded me a lot of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, especially the dynamic between the friends. But the difference is that when Rose starts changing, they don’t push her away, they support her like real friends should. It also reminded of that because I knew from the beginning that she would end up with the geeky guy they were making fun of, just like in Before I Fall (except Rose gets to live happily ever after whereas Sam dies at the end of Before I Fall which made me angry to no end, but I digress).

The one thing that truly shocked me about this book was my reaction to it. Going in, I knew this was a retelling of Romeo & Juliet, so I knew that R & J were going to die, right? Wrong!

Even though I should have, I didn’t see their deaths coming, at all. I was completely fucking blindsided by it. And I could completely understand Rose’s guilt over the deaths and how she kind of collapsed into herself after the fact. I was irritated at her for pushing everyone away and at the same time, I could completely see where she was coming from. That is when I really became impressed with her friends because they refused to back down. They stand by her throughout the whole catastrophe and in the end, they make her get out of her bed and continue on with life. I think this novel is as much about friendship as it is about love and loss. It’s a really great read and anyone else who wants to see a completely unique spin on Shakespeare’s worst most romantic play

should read it.
Profile Image for Cassidy.
288 reviews
Want to read
July 15, 2011
"Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends." This line right here sold me on the book.
Profile Image for Rose.
1,872 reviews1,055 followers
May 1, 2012
I usually love alternative retellings of popular and classic works, particularly if the story involved gives a unique twist or spin on the original work that makes you consider it in its own league or spectrum. I think the best Shakespearean spin-off/retelling/interpretation I've read in recent memory in any genre is "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" by Tom Stoppard. I loved the play, I even adored the movie (if you haven't seen the movie and you've read Hamlet - do it now - it has Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, you really can't go wrong with that.) One the brilliant things about it was that it was able to take elements from Hamlet and spin them in an interesting way - one that manages to be funny, engaging, and tell a whole other side of the original work while managing to stand on its own.

As far as the best YA Shakespearean retelling/interpretation I've read, well, it wasn't this book. I'll be frank, it was far from being one of the better books I've read overall as well. Why? It tries to force so many elements into it that it comes across as not only muddled in its overarching story, but even offensive. I've honestly never read a YA book that features so much slut shaming and just a derogatory portrayal of teen relationships and living in my life. Serle might've been going for another, modern angle of the tragic, some would even say "love" story of Romeo and Juliet, but it turned out to be more of an offense than anything else. It wasn't a fun read, and matter in point, the relationship aspect of the novel was not the only problem I had with the novel, but among several.

The story revolves around Rosalyn (Rose), who many would know in the original play to be Romeo's first love, who subsequently rejected him and he pined after her before he fell in love with Juliet. Well, in this interpretation, Rose is in a relationship with Rob (the book's Romeo) that's just starting to get off its feet after he returns from the summer. Olivia and Charlie, Rose's best friends, are pretty much urging her on to get with Rob because of how "hot" they would be together and after changing from his respective experiences. And for a little while, their relationship is actually cute. When Serle depicts the "in medias res" parts of the relationships, she does it well, but it really doesn't take up that much of the book. So the billing for this as a romance or even being remotely romantic is inaccurate over the larger spectrum of the novel.

It also takes a bit to get to that point, because, in the first 100 pages of the novel, Rose spends a lot of her time rambling about things in her life and taking on such an inflated ego that I wanted to throw my e-reader against the wall. Not only does Rose detail her interpretations of the sexual relationships of the people around her, but she also manages to denounce a boy for his nationality (the Belgian), gives a skewed view of education (her stereotypical depiction of AP classes). Even one of Rose's friends manages to denounce a boy for his virginity because he reads Moby Dick. *rolls eyes*

But I digress. Let's move forward to the heart of the plot, shall we? It gets worse before it gets better, and saying it gets better really isn't saying much.

Out of the blue, Rose's cousin Juliet shows back up into town after ten years of being away with her senatorial family. The claim is that Rose's family somehow betrayed Juliet's early on in life, and that's caused a rift between the two families. Juliet's pretty much pegged as the antagonist from point one of the time she's introduced. She's depicted as having pulled off the head of a doll Rose received at Christmas when they were seven. Seven. As if people can't change between that point from their subsequent experiences.

Moving on.

So, Juliet falls for Rob from point one, demands that Rose allow him to escort her to the upcoming dance. Then Rose catches Romeo dancing with Juliet at the dance. A certain signal that her once budding relationship with Rob is over. Not only is it pretty much an insta-love connection given very little context, Juliet's relationship with Rob is pretty much billed as being slutty and a bad influence on Rob - changing him from a nice sweet boy to one that's increasingly troubled. And people depict Juliet as a "crazy bitch" (I'm citing directly here, forgive the language) who is suicidal. Are we given any rationale or context to this aside from being rumors?

No. Which makes the characterization that much more wooden, and the emotional resonance shot because of the telling and lack of showing. Even then, it's a crass portrayal that isn't realistic at all.

I'm not saying that Rose didn't have the right to be hurt and anguished over Rob's betrayal (as well as Juliet's) - if anything, the novel depicts that, in some ways, in a tangible fashion. But as a reader, I don't like seeing plot devices so obviously skew in one direction in order to elicit sympathy for a particular party, especially when the other party is ostracized in the way that Juliet's character is portrayed here. I'd rather read a story that can show both sides, give dimension to the characters, and present it in a way that, while it may be cruel, at least it gives proper context and allows the reader to feel for the groups involved. Unforunately, Serle does not do this in the work.

On a positive note, the novel's redeeming factors - to an extent, come in two measures. One of them is Len, the other boy whom Rose falls for in the mix of grief she feels for losing Rob. He not only calls Rob out on being a jerk in the whole situation, but he also looks out for Rose and is there when she needs him - or at least tries to be. He even gives her space when she's still pining for Rob, and he manages to be funny in spurts. The other redeeming factor of the novel, though I think it was rather long-winded and the novel could've ended much sooner than it did - were the reflections made aftermath of the tragedy, with Rose's family and Rose's coming to terms with the loss. There were some decent parts to that in we can't always prevent or tell when things are going to happen, and that life runs its course, for better or for worse. I still didn't like the heavy-handed nature where Juliet was blamed for being the one that killed Rob by external parties, but I did think Rose being able to move forward, even in her reunion with Len, was a nice aspect of the story.

Unfortunately, none of the positive aspects of "When You Were Mine" overtook the larger negative measures of the work. I can't recommend this because of its conflicting messages and, for me, being a read that was cumbersome from beginning to end. There are much better retellings to be had out there. This isn't one of them.

Overall score: 1/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from S&S Galley Grab.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews906 followers
April 5, 2016
A finished unsolicited copy was provided by the publisher for review.

Reading the description off the back of this book made me think it was about Romeo and Juliet, but it wasn't. It was better. The story follows Rosaline, Rob's best friend and next-door neighbour. Following a long summer without Rob, Rosaline develops real feelings for Rob, and without any explanation, Rob finally makes a move, and the two start dating. Their senior year of high school start and with that comes the privilege of hanging out in the lounge where it’s exclusive to seniors only.

Now I have no idea if I was blind and ignorant in high school, but why in the world are popular people considered to be rulers of the school? Take the character of Rosaline’s best friend Charlie. Beautiful, and absolutely annoying. She’s also quite mean! I wished Rosie had the backbone and the strength to stand up for herself. Why compare yourself to your best friends? What does it do to you? It makes you feel inferior and I felt Rosaline felt inferior to Charlie and Olivia. Her whining about how beautiful and smart her best friends were annoyed me to no end. Can I just give Rosaline proof that she is also those things? Rob loves her. He loves her, and not just because of her looks but because she’s an amazing person. Sometimes, characters like Rosie make me want to coddle her so she can realize she should be confident. Screw low self-esteem!

Now to the retelling of the story, I thought it was done well. Capulet and Monteg families feuding as usual, but I loved the spin that Rosaline was Juliet’s cousin. Wonderful twist, to a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, When You Were Mine is a delightful read!


“It's not that most girls are delusional, per se. It's just that they have this subtle ability to warp actual circumstances into something different.”—Rosie (10)

“I guess that's the thing about getting older. You realize differences can be good things. Not just bad ones.”—Rosie (238)

“So I guess Shakespeare didn't get it wrong, after all. The truth is that there are many different endings to the same story. This one is mine.”—Rosie (334)
Profile Image for Angie.
645 reviews995 followers
April 18, 2012
Originally reviewed here.

WHEN YOU WERE MINE came and went across my radar after I took a brief glance at its cover and mentally relegated it to the Jennifer Echols realm of contemporary YA romance. I enjoyed Going Too Far, but haven't loved her others or found myself in the mood for more of the same since. But that judgement was admittedly based entirely on the cover, font, tagline, etc. Then I read Carla's review over at The Crooked Shelf, and I took a second gander. Shakespeare, you say? Retelling? This is all exceedingly promising. Oh. Romeo and Juliet? Hm. Not sure I want to go there. Not that I don't enjoy R&J (I once saw it on stage, and Romeo's death scene was positively EPIC in scope. My brother-in-law and I were crying tears of mirth long before the poor boy let loose his final gasp and put us all out of our misery). And, as is so often the case, I was powerless to resist the call of a possibly excellent retelling. It was when I realized that it was told from Rosaline's point of view that the deal was sealed.

Rose Caplet is keeping her hopes on a very tight leash. Her best friend Rob has been gone all summer, but he's coming home today and Rose is trying pretty hard to keep it all together. They shared that one kiss, that one extended glance. That's all. And despite her best friends' insistence that the very first thing he'll do now he's back in town is declare his undying love for her, Rose is not so sure. They've always been friends. Rob helped her learn to ride a bike. He taught her how to swim. He knew her way back when. Even if he did have the kind of feelings for her that she seems to be developing for him, wouldn't it rock the boat of their friendship too much to be worth it? But then he is back. And he asks her out on a real date. And things are heading in a most promising direction. Until Rose's cousin Juliet comes to town. Rose hasn't had any contact with Juliet in years, though the two used to be close as kids. Now Juliet's back and trouncing all over Rose's life in her designer flip flops. But it's when she sets her sights on Rob that Rose really begins to worry. What is happening here? Why does her cousin seem to have it out for her? Surely Rob won't respond to Juliet's advances. Not after confessing his affections for Rose. Rob wouldn't do that. Would he?

I'll admit, it took me 100 pages to get into this one. I teetered on the verge of putting it down and moving on. But then I hit the following passage (taken from my uncorrected ARC):
Charlie puts her arm over my shoulder. Olivia stands on the other side, arms crossed, Ben behind her. They're flanking me, like human pieces of armor.

Rob can't see me from this angle, which is worse than if he could, because it means I can stare as hard and as long as I like. He whispers something to her, and she laughs, then brings her finger to her lips to tell him to be quiet. But it's in that cute way certain girls have that lets everyone know they don't really mean it. That she wants him to go on bothering her forever. Even while turning him down she's inviting him. Forget the lip biting. This is definitely her power move.

He's leaning so close to her that it takes everything in me not to run right over and tear them apart. And part of me wants to. Part of me wants to fight. To tell him to pick me. To beg him to stop what he's doing, erase the last three days, and just come back. But I'm already fading into the background, like a house in the rearview mirror. I can feel myself getting smaller and smaller, shrinking, so that when Mr. Johnson says, "Have a great day, everyone!" I think I might have just disappeared.

And that's all it took. From that sentence on, it was all systems go for me. Because that is exactly what happens in the play. Rosaline--the object of all of Romeo's formidable passion and desire--just . . . disappears . . . when Juliet comes on stage. And when this Rosaline experiences that precise moment, it called to the forefront of my mind every ounce of sympathy I had for her and for the singular horror of being overlooked, of being left behind in the wake of fickle infatuation. All these years I assumed Rosaline never gave Romeo a second thought. But what if she did? What if the loss of his love hurt like a brand pressed to her skin? The rest of the story following this moment has its share of ups and downs. I never completely warmed to Rose's flock of privileged, preening friends. There were hints at more depth than was shown, but I could have done with some actual exploration of those hints, especially when it came to Charlie and Olivia. I've heard that some readers felt the inevitable tragedy that comes lacked weight, but I actually thought it was incredibly thoughtfully done. I grieved with Rose. For the years wasted in enmity between the two families, for the deception between the generations, and for the senseless loss of two teenagers whose greatest sin was letting go of their senses so wildly, of losing sight of themselves in the name of each other. Because if I didn't love this Rob and Juliet as much as I did the originals, I loved Rose more. And her love and compassion for them (despite what they did to her) overshadowed any bitterness I might have harbored. All of this is helped, of course, by the fact that Rebecca Serle chose to give Rose another love interest who I admired wholeheartedly. I would have liked a bit more in the way of development in this arena as well, more than I got by the time the ending rolled around. As it was, the ending lacked the kind of weight I felt it needed in order to serve as a proper epilogue to the tragic events that preceded it. It felt a bit pat, a bit cute, when I wanted it to mean more. A contemporary retelling of this play is always going to run that particular risk, but given the excellence of Rose's point of view and the truly elegant moments Ms. Serle was able to craft, I was really pulling for a perfect end for WHEN YOU WERE MINE. An enjoyable, if uneven read, recommended for its interesting perspective and moments of insight.
Profile Image for Magan.
352 reviews88 followers
May 14, 2012
[review originally posted on Rather Be Reading]

After I finished Insurgent, I wanted something 180 degrees different. What better to pick up than a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story - except this time from the perspective of the girl Romeo (or Rob, in When You Were Mine) discarded, Rosaline? I have to admit I was a little unsure of how closely the story would follow Shakespeare’s masterpiece. I don’t want to get into the details of the ins and outs of what happens because you should experience the emotional roller coaster without any warnings from me. Please note that even if you aren’t familiar with Romeo & Juliet, you needn’t worry. This story can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys an epic, tragic love story.

Despite being familiar with the framework set up by Shakespeare, I allowed myself to hope that Serle had put a spin on this classic tale. I fell head over heels in love with Rob. I’ve admitted this in earlier reviews, but I am a sucker for stories that explore two best friends falling in love. Rosaline didn’t want to fracture the relationship she had with Rob, but ultimately, decided to follow her heart and allowed herself to fall for him. She had two female best friends, Charlie and Olivia, but there was something so pure about her friendship with Rob. Charlie and Olivia were a little silly and snobby, but they turned out to be the type of friend I aspire to be – encouraging when Rosaline was uncertain about Rob and protective when he broke her heart. I just couldn’t stop my heart from hoping that our Romeo would profess his love for Rosaline in spite of the spell he succumbs to when Juliet makes her appearance.

Juliet is Rose’s estranged cousin. Family drama to the max. Rose, Juliet, and Rob used to be best friends before Juliet’s family moved away. Rose is in utter darkness about why her cousin wants nothing to do with her when she returns. I had to chalk up the secrecy and Rose’s naiveté regarding the family tension to her young, unquestioning self when everything happened ten years prior. Juliet appeared after my heart had already fluttered happily for Rob; she was a little late to the game, but man, did she make an impact when she was introduced to the story. When Juliet hypnotized (figuratively, not literally) Rob, I felt like things happened so abruptly and the story began to progress much more rapidly. Serle set up the perfect scene for every romantic’s heart and then BAM, crushed it. I wept tears of sadness for Rose.

Just as you���ll remember from high school English study of Romeo and Juliet, When You Were Mine is filled with lots of:

family drama

Amidst the black hole that is Rose’s extended family, there is a beacon of light: Len. He’s a facetious but goofy guy. He’s given the cold shoulder by Rose and her circle of popular friends because he appears so unmotivated and detached from high school life. Rose feels as if the whole world is against her when her (terrible) bio teacher pairs her with Len. I was completely taken aback by the friendship that developed slowly and beautifully and delicately between these two unlikely characters. I was often caught off guard by Len’s insight and thoughtful observations.

Serle’s writing was incredibly engaging, and I was fully invested in the story almost instantaneously and couldn’t stop reading. When You Were Mine is a wonderful debut novel that Rebecca Serle should certainly be proud of. My only complaint is that I was left wishing for more – I wasn’t ready for Rosaline’s story to be over when I closed the book.

(Take this one with you to the beach this summer; it’s the perfect companion for drinks with umbrellas and a lazy afternoon in the sun.)
Profile Image for Justin.
337 reviews232 followers
April 23, 2012
When You Were Mine is an extremely compelling book. It's much more difficult to explain than just simply saying a modern recounting of Romeo and Juliet. In my opinion it was much deeper than a mere recounting of a story. I just can't think of the best way to describe what it's like, other than that. It's a complex and rich love story, filled with both grief and happy moments. Rebecca Serle has come out swinging with this beautiful debut novel.

Most of us know the story of Romeo and Juliet. It's common reading for pretty much anyone at some point during school. And if you've read the play, you know that Romeo's first love was Rosaline. And then of course he ended up with Juliet which is the part of the story we all know best. Earlier when I mentioned that this book is much harder to explain than just calling it a recounting is because of the story itself. I guess you could say it's a play on the story, which in some senses could be classified as a recounting.. It just didn't feel like that for me. Rebecca's story is told from Rosaline's perspective, but it's not what you might be thinking. Rose and Rob have always been close friends, and it's easy to tell that there could of been something between them. But then Juliet, which is Rose's cousin.. comes into play and takes Rob away from Rose. It's hard to try and explain everything, but if you've read Romeo and Juliet I really feel like you will pick up on the story really quickly.

There isn't really much to say about the characters in this book. I enjoyed them, and I thought they were written extremely well. But when you're dealing with a story such as this, that's trying to do what it's doing, you're going to have a lot of mixed views on the characters. Don't think you will be seeing the whole cast of Romeo and Juliet in this book though, since it's not a retelling by nay means. The only real similarities in this book are Rosaline, Juliet and the family names Caplet and Monteg which are obviously a play on the families from Romeo and Juliet which were the Capulets and the Montagues. You really just have to read the book to truly grasp how all of the characters play into the story.

The last sixty or seventy pages are where it starts to get really interesting. I don't really want to go into much detail, but there is a ton of depth added to the story towards the end. There is depth throughout the entire story, but towards the end you're hit with a huge dose of it. I can't really quote the book, since I have an ARC version of it and I don't know if anything that I want to talk about will be changed. One thing I do want to talk about it is something Rosaline talks about in the epilogue. And that's how stories never just have one ending. The ending is simply what the author, reader or person living the story chooses for them self. Even as readers we have the freedom to think about different outcomes other than the one the author wrote for the book. And of course the author goes though a lot of choices throughout their writing process to find an ending for their story that they are comfortable with. It's just intriguing how something such as that, which seems so simple to think about but in reality is extremely complex can play such a huge part in a story like this.

This book is amazing, and I would highly recommend it. It's a lot deeper than I ever could have imagined, I finished it and thought about it for quite awhile. I really wish I could of thought of a better way to explain exactly what I thought of this story, but the description just didn't do it justice in my opinion. It's well worth reading though if you think it's something you might enjoy. It's so much more than a simple contemporary romance novel.
Profile Image for Celine.
247 reviews52 followers
May 18, 2012
Review originally posted in: http://forget8me8not.blogspot.com.au/...

I adore the yellow sunset background and the image of the boy and the girl about to kiss which I assume represents Rob and Rose. I think I like the UK/AU cover more than the US one!


What if the greatest love story ever told was the wrong one?

When I first heard of When You Were Mine, the only thing I knew was that the book is a re-telling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set in the modern world. What I didn't know was that it's told from the POV of a character called Rosaline which is in fact, Romeo's first love in the play. I never actually read Romeo and Juliet's play but I know how the story goes and I know how it ends. I never knew that a character called Rosaline existed. This makes the whole book very interesting because we see the story through her eyes and her character. But, this book is not exactly the same like the play.

In the play, Rosaline was Romeo's first love and that Rosaline rejected him. When You Were Mine is the opposite. The 'Romeo' of the story, Rob Monteg, leaves Rosaline 'Rose' Caplet for Juliet Caplet, Rose's cousin. There is a unique twist to the original play in When You Were Mine and it makes it very enjoyable and wonderful. The only thing about this book is since it's a re-telling of the play, we all know how it ends. When You Were Mine introduced me to a new way of seeing the original play and things can completely change when the play is written differently. I liked how Rebecca Serle turned the play to a modern re-telling and I thought it was really creative. The ending was powerful and beautiful. I loved how it wrapped the whole story.

When I read this book, I was certain that I would love Rob since he's the Romeo and Romeo was such a romantic, sweet, gentle and swoon-worthy guy. Rob might be sweet and gentle but I disliked him. He was absolutely not swoon-worthy and totally not 'Romeo'. He easily dumps Rosaline and left her for Juliet even though they kissed and he acted as if he really loves Rosaline. Sorry Rob, you are no Romeo.

I really liked Rosaline in this book. I felt her pain of being dumped by Rob because he left her for her cousin. Rosaline found a new love in this book and it definitely was not Rob although he was perfect for Rosaline.

Juliet was very annoying. She was the 'It' girl in the story, pretty, brave, daring and boys are bound to love her, just like how Rob fell in love with her. She was in fact, not really in love with Rob and was just using him. Juliet is very different to the Juliet from the original play.

I also loved and adored Charlie and Olivia, Rosaline's best friends. They were very supportive of Rosaline and tried to ease her pain after Rob left her. They are friends that will always stay by your side no matter what.

The twist of the characters compared to the original play was very well-written! I really adore Rebecca's creativity in making her characters have different personalities compared to Romeo and Juliet from the play.

Do you remember Rosaline from Romeo and Juliet? Have you ever wondered what her story is like? When You Were Mine is a creative unique re-telling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with a gorgeous twist to the story and characters. Beneath the romantic story, When You Were Mine carries a deeper theme for us to think and savour. I definitely recommend this book to those who adore re-tellings of stories, particularly Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet itself!

Thank you Simon & Schuster Australia for the review copy!
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews64 followers
August 29, 2012
WHEN YOU WERE MINE wasn't what I was expecting from the summary and reviews. As you probably know, WHEN YOU WERE MINE is a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET through the point-of-view of the jilted Rosaline. I had this imagine in my head of a crazy passionate romance between Rosaline and Rob, suddenly interrupted by her sociopathic cousin Juliet. It would then go into thriller territory, with Rosaline trying to save Rob's life. That's not quite how the book goes.

Rosaline and Rob have been best friends forever. When they come back to school as seniors, Rob finally makes a move and asks Rosie out. She's over the moon that they're finally going to go out together. But their first date is surprisingly awkward, aside from a great kiss at the end. Before they can make their relationship official, Juliet moves back to town and the two fall in love fast and hard.

Now, Juliet might have moved on Rob just because he was hot. But something happened between their families years ago, and Rosie hasn't seen her cousin since one disastrous Christmas. Juliet, however, seems to know what caused the split. (Unlike in Shakespeare's play, Rosaline's family is aligned with Rob's rather than Juliet's.) I loved that Juliet wasn't a straight-up crazy, evil character. She's just a teenage girl with an unhappy home life, a need for revenge, and an unexpected passion. Debut author Rebecca Serle gives Juliet moments of true emotion, not allowing Rosie to see her as just a villain.

Serle wisely keeps WHEN YOU WERE MINE from focusing too much on the updated versions of the famous lovers. Their story has been told and she's doing something new. Instead, the book introduces new characters: Rosie's best friends, Charlie and Olivia, and her biology partner Len. Charlie and Olivia contribute to 2012's reputation as a great year for female friendships in YA. Len, meanwhile, is a terrific diversion from the milquetoast Rob. He's a pianist and much smarter and more dedicated than Rosie expected before she started spending time with him. I thought the non-Shakespearean elements of WHEN YOU WERE MINE eclipsed the derivative material.

But really, what makes WHEN YOU WERE MINE a successful book is Rosaline's voice. That's good, considering the book is supposed to be her version of ROMEO AND JULIET. She's a normal high school girl. She's loyal to her friends, worried about college, not as confident in her looks as she should be, a bit preoccupied with popularity, and prone to fits of pique. I liked that she doesn't put up with the way Rob treats her. He throws her over for Juliet, and she doesn't pretend that she's okay with that and they can still be friends. He hurt her feelings and she's not going to let him get close again. She has her moments of weakness, but she doesn't make a fool of herself trying to get him back. Maybe it's just my opinion, but I can't stand stories about girls doing crazy things to reunite with their exes. I'm so happy that isn't what WHEN YOU WERE MINE is about.

WHEN YOU WERE MINE made me cry in the way ROMEO AND JULIET never has. It's a very human retelling of the famous drama, the old story enlivened by the trappings and distractions of high school life. And, of course, it is anchored by a strong voice. Serle has made a terrific debut on the YA scene.
Profile Image for Emily Anne.
226 reviews253 followers
July 10, 2014
Note: This is a short ramble. I won't be doing a full review :)

I was very disappointed by When You Were Mine. I enjoyed Rebecca Serle's most recent novel, The Edge of Falling, and expected to enjoy this one even more. However, I was very bored most of the time and, in my opinion, the writing was very bleh. Also, I feel as if the portrayal of Rob and Juliet was poorly done. I hated the way Juliet was blamed for the relationship. I won't be writing a full review as I feel as if the slew of other negative reviews on Goodreads adequately describe my feelings for the book. *sigh* What an interesting premise put to waste. If you want to read a book by Rebecca Serle, try The Edge of Falling or her future release, Famous in Love.
Profile Image for Anncleire.
1,287 reviews99 followers
March 8, 2015
Ringrazio immensamente De Agostini per tener in considerazione il mio blog e avermi regalato la straordinaria opportunità di leggere questo libro in anteprima in cambio della mia onesta opinione. Gliene sono immensamente grata.

Recensione in anteprima anche sul mio blog:

“Io, Romeo e Giulietta” è la traduzione italiana di “When you were mine” di Rebecca Serle in uscita per De Agostini Young Adult il prossimo 10 marzo. Uno young adult molto particolare, che prende in considerazione l’altra, la ragazza scartata, un retelling in chiave moderna di “Romeo e Giulietta”, la tragedia shakespeariana, ma con un tocco di dolceamaro, una riflessione sulla vita, sulle scelte, su cosa vuol dire crescere, perdonare, andare avanti.

Io adoro i retelling, quelli fiabeschi, e quelli meno, perché mostrano la capacità di un autore di personalizzare una storia, modificarla, manipolarla, fino a renderla diversa, pur conservandone i canoni. Ma questo libro non è solo una trasposizione della storia d’amore più osannata di tutti i tempi, è una storia diversa, che nasce dalla consapevolezza di non sapere cosa succede a chi è rimasto indietro. E mentre Romeo e Giulietta consumavano la loro tragedia, Rosaline che cosa combinava? Beh cercava di superare il proprio dolore per essere stata gettata nel dimenticatoio. Ma la bravura della Serle, non sta solo nella narrazione di un grande classico riveduto e corretto, ma anche nella sua capacità di creare empatia con la protagonista, proiettando i classici sentimenti di un’adolescente e ponendo delle domande difficili, a cui dare una risposta sembra quasi impossibile. È tutto scritto o possiamo tracciare il nostro futuro come più ci aggrada? Viviamo nella consapevolezza della fine, ma quanto le nostre scelte influiscono nel risultato finale? È più facile dimenticare o perdonare?
È Rose a raccontare la sua storia in prima persona regalandoci aneddoti, pensieri ed emozioni, con quelle avventure che derivano dall’affrontare l’ultimo anno di liceo. La spensieratezza di essere i padroni della scuola e quel trillo incontrastabile che deriva dal sapere che è quasi finita, che si andrà al college, che si crescerà, che si faranno delle esperienze incredibili. Rose fa parte del gruppo dei popolari, anche se non è né particolarmente bella, né simpatica, né ricca. Ma al San Bellario lei, e le sue amiche Charlie e Olivia sono al centro dell’attenzione, e vivono spensierate. Rose spera di entrare a Stanford con il suo migliore amico Rob, che finalmente si è deciso a muovere i primi timidi passi verso un rapporto dai connotati diversi. Rose è insicura, con quelle incertezze che bombardano la testa di milioni di ragazze al mondo “gli piacerò davvero?”, “che cosa succederà se le cose non funzionano?”, tutto ciò ha vita breve. Direttamente da Los Angeles e dal passato arriva Juliet sua cugina e la sua rivale, in fondo cosa può fermare un’attrazione fatale? Nulla… ed è così che Rose vive l’esclusione del suo migliore amico e i tentativi di ritrovare la sua serenità. Rose è determinata a non lasciarsi condizionare, ma è difficile staccarsi da qualcuno con cui hai condiviso tantissimo, anche quando arriva, inaspettata, una svolta imprevista.
Se Rose è insicura ma determinata, Rob è quasi una macchietta, un Romeo pallido e senza spina dorsale, che si lascia condizionare dal fascino indiscusso di Juliet, che compare come una mean girl pronta a seminare il panico e a distruggere gli equilibri di un gruppo coeso e irreprensibile. Ma l’apparenza inganna e mille segreti si nascondono nell’ombra e aspettano solo di essere scoperchiati.
Una delle cose che più mi hanno intrigato della storia è sicuramente il rapporto di amicizia con Charlie e Olivia. Tra chiacchiere, spintoni e insulti amichevoli, tradizioni e feste, la loro amicizia è forte, consolidata, irrinunciabile. I viaggi in macchina, l’arrivo imprevisto di Charlie nei momenti di maggior bisogno, quella comunicazione non verbale che arriva nel momento in cui c’è affiatamento, è bellissima da leggere. E anche se a volte ci si domanda perché, quel legame indissolubile, tra un gruppo di ragazze piene di idee e di entusiasmo è meraviglioso. E anche se si ha di fronte una storia d’amore, l’amore è anche e soprattutto amicizia e aiuto. E allora Olivia, un po’ svampita, con l’occhio per la moda e innamorata di Ben il fratello di Charlie e Charlie, severa, dura, con tantissime teorie sul mondo e determinata a conquistarlo, rendono la storia ancora più ricca. E come dimenticare Len? Len è il personaggio che più mi ha affascinato in tutta la storia, non solo per l’aura di mistero che lo avvolge, che non viene spazzata via neanche a fine libro, ma per i suoi modi arguti, la sua presenza costante, il suo esserci, invisibile, forse, ma assolutamente necessario. Con la sua vena creativa, anche lui viene giudicato male, per la sua apparenza dismessa e il suo modo di fare menefreghista e un po’ sopra le righe. È un personaggio originale, di quelli che ti restano in mente, anche a distanza di tempo.
L’ambientazione è quella della Californiana, tipicamente americana, con vita sulla spiaggia, il clima sempre caldo, per cui al più serve un golfino. La vita del liceo si sposta metodica tra la scuola, casa di Rose e l’immancabile casa sulla spiaggia dove far baldoria. Le descrizioni, ridotte all’osso, incanalano i sentimenti, più che i luoghi, come le Scogliere, che segnano l’inizio e la fine di una vicenda che non vi lascerà indifferenti.

Il particolare da non dimenticare? Un pacchetto di rotelle di liquirizia…

Una storia dolceamara, che incarna le passioni e i drammi adolescenziali e impone la riflessione sui temi universali che riguardano l’uomo, il destino, la responsabilità, la scelta. Niente è come sembra, e amare non è mai facile. Un retelling che ha tanto da dire e non si limita a rappresentare i fatti. La Serle di certo sa il fatto suo e vi lascerà a bocca aperta.
Buona lettura guys!
Profile Image for Carla.
291 reviews69 followers
September 25, 2020
I've never been much of a Romeo and Juliet fan. Not even 12 year old me was swayed by the movie adaptation featuring my one true love, Leo DiCaprio. In fact, it only made me loathe Juliet more – I still believe that if Angela Chase wasn’t brought into my life, I would still be harboring some serious resentment towards Claire Danes. Because how dare Romeo forget all about Rosaline! (who sounds like a riot) Such a guy move! So I never appreciated the story because I was solidly, unmovingly on Team Rosaline and well, Juliet could go swivel. Then along comes When You Were Mine and it was like fist pumping central!! A book after my own heart! A modern day re-telling from Rosalines perspective!! SHAZAM! WE HAVE A WINNER.

Okay, so Rosaline and Rob have been best friends forever. But it’s the kind of friendship where you’re just waiting for the match to strike and set it on fire with hotness. And it’s almost happening!! They’re crackling and popping! When they kiss it’s like kablam, everything forever changed by this one moment. And then he asks her out and it’s perfect, it’s meant to be! Let the epic love commence! (I utterly convinced myself that Juliet wouldn’t show up, naïve as I am, even though I really don't like Rob). But Juliet, Rose’s estranged cousin, is back in town and she makes it quite clear that she wants Rob, and what Juliet wants she gets (rage!!). All Rose can do is watch as the boy that’s meant to be hers slip out of her fingers.

You guys, I completely, utterly, LOVED THIS BOOK. Serle takes everything we know about the play and spins it right on its head – everything is fundamentally altered, and you may *think* you know the characters but you DON’T! And it is AMAZING. Take Rob – he is our Romeo and everyone loves Romeo right? WRONG! I loved this new spin on his character, stupid vapid boy that he is. Am I sympathetic to his plight for true love? Not in the slightest, in fact, I would quite like to kick him in his good stuff. Do I want Juliet to get the man that she loves (whatevs!) – do I bugger, in fact, I would quite like to kick her too.

And Rose? I would totally have been friends with Rose in high school. Yes, she had her flaws and sometimes the over analyzing of every. single. thing. made me want to tell her to CALM THE CRAP DOWN. But then I realised, not only did the guy she thought she was her Epic Love drop her faster than Britney’s first marriage, she is also just a teenage girl dealing with a broken heart. I love her and to be quite frank, Rob never did deserve her and I’m glad Juliet came along. THERE I SAID IT.

Also, the message this book gives you as a reader is what every teenage girl needs to hear. Not everything can happen how you want it to happen; especially not relationships. And you wanting something to work out doesn’t necessarily mean that it will, not when there are other people factored into the equation. And that was NAILED in the narrative, in the characters reactions to events and most importantly, in the execution of certain scenes. I laughed, I cried, I got so angry I wanted to punch my own reflection (and I kind of have good feelings about my face) and I swooned. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. I am not even going to tell you *anything* about the swoon, just know that it was hot. Hot enough that I was singing “it’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes” TO MYSELF.

As achingly beautiful and tragically romantic (for some…..HA!!) as this story is, mainly it’s about having the hope and strength to know that even when it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, it’s always there, just waiting for you to have the courage to find it.
Profile Image for Jillian Heise.
2,285 reviews482 followers
August 7, 2014
Review originally posted on Heise Reads & Recommends

I was really excited to see an advanced reader copy of this book at the convention because I had heard about it/seen the summary, and it sounded really good. It ended up not being exactly what I was expecting from the summary that I had read, but I did like it; although, I was a little bit unsure in the beginning. We all know Shakespeare's version of Romeo & Juliet, but this book says Shakespeare may have gotten it all wrong because it's really a drama, and Rosaline who loved Romeo is kind of an overlooked character once Juliet shows up - in fact, she may be the wronged party in this whole equation. So in this book, we get Rosaline's side of the story. Intriguing, right? But, what I didn't realize, was that this book would be told as a completely contemporary story.

In Act I, I was a little unsure because it was feeling a little bit like a generic high school drama/popularity book, but once we got into the later acts, I started to feel the need to keep reading and not stop until I finished four hours later. I almost put it down after Act I, but still felt there was something about this book that I was really going to like, and needed to keep reading to find it. So, what I'm saying is, if you aren't sure of it in the beginning, keep going because it gets really good.

This very contemporary high school romance book has the obvious (and some more subtle) references to Romeo & Juliet which makes it a great tie-in to hand to students to compare and spot the connections. I can see it being very popular in high schools. It was a fun read, a little angsty, but it's Romeo & Juliet, so that's expected. However, Juliet in this book, is not the same Juliet you remember from the original version! And, this is actually a good story on friendship and family, which at the start I didn't think it would be, but ended up being my favorite part of the story.

Overall, it was feeling a little surface level to me in the characters - maybe because there were so many secondary people (and I found it jarring to my reading each time they used the first and last names of all these people), but as the book continued, we got to delve deeper into the motivations of these characters later in the book. That's when it turned really good to me. When we found out more about Len, and some of the reasons the girls were acting how they were, it started to get way more interesting to me.

Towards the end, there were some really strong themes and messages as Rosaline starts to move beyond her feeling that Rob is "the one" for her. It talks about reacting to what happens in life because we can't control it and having choices and needing to make them and that is what determines how we look at life. By the end, in Acts 4 and 5, I was really into it and felt it evolved beyond the typical and was something deeper that I was really enjoying reading. So, give this one a shot in May, you'll find a fun read with a sweet boy and a girl who has to go through some deep looking at herself to come out on the other side realizing what's really important in life and how to make the most of it.
Profile Image for Frency  camminando tra le pagine .
619 reviews54 followers
October 8, 2015
Leggi la recensione completa sul blog

“Io, Romeo e Giulietta” romanzo stand alone di Rebecca Serle è una rivisitazione in chiave moderna della tragedia romantica più famosa di tutti i tempi: “Romeo e Giulietta” di Shakespeare. Ma questa volta i protagonisti non sono i due amanti sventurati, ma la protagonista indiscussa nonché voce narrante è Rosaline – la ragazza di cui Romeo era innamorato prima di conoscere Giulietta. La ragazza tradita e abbandonata.
La ragazza a cui Romeo senza pensarci due volte ha spezzato il cuore.
Questo originalissimo retelling ha un ambientazione moderna, le vicende si svolgono in un classico liceo americano, dove Rosaline Caplet – Rose per gli amici – frequenta l’ultimo anno.
Rose è una delle ragazze più popolari della scuola – anche se non sa bene come ci è finita nel gruppetto delle ragazze popolari- lei non è bella ne ricca come le sue amiche del cuore; Charly e Olivia.
Rose è una ragazza normale con la testa sulle spalle e sogna un futuro a Stanford con il suo migliore amico: Rob Monteg.
Rob il ragazzino con cui è cresciuta. Il ragazzo con cui da bambina ha giocato, scherzato, riso e pianto.
Rob il ragazzo della porta accanto.
Rob il suo punto di riferimento, quello a cui confida ogni cosa.
Ma ora il loro rapporto sta cambiando, e tutte le volte che sente solo nominare il suo nome migliaia di farfalle impazzite si agitano nel suo stomaco. E quando lui le chiede di uscire per un vero appuntamento, a Rose sembra di sognare.

Rob va a prenderla a casa portandole un mazzo di rose rosse, le apre la portiera della macchina e la porta in un romantico ristorante italiano dove le offre la cena. E dopo cena nel loro posto speciale, seduti sulla scogliera, si scambiano un romantico bacio. Il loro primo vero bacio.
È tutto perfetto.
Talmente perfetto che tutti i dubbi, le paure di Rose su quello che sarà del loro rapporto vengono spazzate via.
Perché Rob e Rose devono stare insieme.
È scritto nel destino. Il.... Continua sul blog http://camminando-tra-le-pagine.blogs...
Profile Image for Just a person .
995 reviews294 followers
May 3, 2012
Retellings for me are a hit or miss, and this was a hit. I enjoyed the plot and the twist of seeing everything from a new view. Rosie had a voice and story that helped me to feel for her and care about what she's going through.
Her relationship with Rob is so new and tender and I just wanted to root for them even though I knew what was coming. They made a cute couple, and seemed to be really into each other.
It was hard for me when Juliet came onto the scene. There was so much talk about 'the fight' between their family but when the details were revealed it felt like it was barely touched on and even though we see the devastation, we don't really get to feel it because its so brief. Juliet also isn't very nice. I could forgive going after Rob at first because Rosie never really clarified and it seemed like love at first glimpse from Rob and we never really get to hear why he was so attracted. I guess that it is supposed to be assumed and established because of the real play, but it was hard for me to buy. And regardless of first impressions and the fight between the families it seems that Juliet wouldn't violate the woman code and go after another's man once she figured it out.
That said, I really enjoyed the build up and mystery of Len. I think it was one of my favorite aspects.
Charlie also raised this story up! She was funny and a great best friend.
As for the ending, I was really wondering how and if she was going to pull it off, but I think it was as well done.
Profile Image for Andreia Silva.
Author 8 books104 followers
October 22, 2013
Quem pega neste livro, especialmente a versão original, sem saber muito dele fica com a sensação de que é mais um livro, de muitos, virado para os jovens adultos e que não trará nada de novo. Apesar do apelo que é dado ao ler na sinopse "Romeu e Julieta", acredito que não entusiasmará muita gente a pegar nele. E agora eu pergunto-me: porque é que demorei tanto tempo a lê-lo?

Já tendo lido a obra de William Shakespeare sabia que de dramas e quiçá de tragédias o livro não se safava. No entanto, também sabia que teria de haver amor, amor duro, arrebatador, sufocante! Não é, na minha opinião, uma nova versão da peça, mas sim, apenas uma leve inspiração. Porque afinal, todos os amores têm um bocadinho de trágico. Temos uma Julieta mas não temos um Romeu, mas sim um Rob. Se temos a tragédia? Leiam, não se arrependerão!

A escrita da autora é maravilhosa, a forma como ela nos coloca nas cenas e nos actos (exactamente como numa peça de teatro) e nos faz sentir cada pedaço daquilo que os personagens sentem é muito bom. É uma escrita profunda, reflexiva, inspiradora. Faz o leitor surpreender-se e ao mesmo tempo apaixonar-se por esta história.

É uma leitura obrigatório para todos, para os fãs da peça original e para os fãs, essencialmente do amor e de histórias de amor com menos água com açúcar mas com muita paixão!
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews992 followers
Shelved as 'looks-promising'
July 12, 2011
Friends who fall in love but are kept apart by the heroine's crazy cousin named Juliet? Count me in.
Profile Image for Misty Baker.
403 reviews131 followers
September 26, 2012
Last year I got into a pretty heated (twitter) argument with a lady about Shakespeare. My stance: Shakespeare is the root of all evil. Her’s? Shakespeare is the definition of love. Now, I could go on and on, stand proud and tall on my soap box and list the many reasons her statement is complete and total bull-crapology. But I have a feeling I’d only be opening up the flood gates (aka my comment section) to a pack of rabid Shakespeare fans, so instead… I’ll let Rebecca Serle (author of “When You Were Mine”) tell you. (So you can cyber stalk her instead.)

“Shakespeare got it wrong. His most famous work, and he completely missed the mark. You know the one I’m talking about. Star-crossed lovers. Ill-fated romance. Torn apart by family and circumstance. It’s the perfect love story. To have someone who loves you so much they would actually die for you.

But the thing people never remember about Romeo and Juliet is that it’s not a love story; it’s a drama. In fact, Romeo and Juliet isn’t even the original title of the play. It was called The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy. Everyone dies for this love that, in my opinion, wasn’t all that solid from the get-go. I mean, their families hated each other, so even if they did survive, every holiday and birthday until the end of time would be a royal pain. Not to mention that they had absolutely no friends in common, so forget double dates. No, it would be Romeo and Juliet all alone, forever. And maybe that seems romantic at fourteen, or whatever, but it’s totally not realistic. I mean, I can’t think of a less romantic ending to a story. And the truth is, it wasn’t supposed to end that way.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

“What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy…and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends….”

One of the best things about literature is that it can surprise you. Sometimes you expect a book to be wonderful. It’s premise sounds wonderful, why wouldn’t the book be? Then you open it up and read, to (10 minutes later) feel like you stepped in a big pile of puppy poo. Other times, you give a book incredibly low expectations. The synopsis is predictable. The backbone of the story? Meh. So you set it to the side claiming you’ll read it later…when nothing better is on your plate.

That’s what I did to “When You Were Mine.” I got it in the mail. I read the cover. I showed my husband (who I should actually point out is NOT a reader) He read the cover and we both agreed. Put it on the shelf and move on. Then, a few days ago I realized that I HAD to read it. It wasn’t an option, I had people waiting for my unadulterated take on the Shakespearian throw-down, so I needed to suck it up and put my money where my mouth is (Or eyes to paper. Whatever…you get my point.)

Remember when I said sometimes you give a book (undeserving) low expectations? This is one of those times.

“When You Were Mine” is not the be all end all of books. I have read better. I have read worse. But what I’ve never read is a snarky teenage girls take on “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.” More importantly, Rosaline’s take. Remember her? The OTHER girl in the story? The one that got her man high-jacked and then conveniently faded into the background while everyone else played a rather intense game of dagger Yahtzee? Yeah, that girl.

This is HER story. And, dang…it’s a pretty good one.

Not for nothing, but a few days ago, I could have given two rats who-haas about Rosie and her “need” to tell everyone what happened to HER ill-fated moment of ego smack down. As far as I was concerned Willie didn’t see fit to continue her story (or even give her more than a handful of shout outs) so why should I? You lost Rosie! Deal with it and move on (drama queen!) But by the time I reached the end of the book I was actually glad that someone decided to step outside of the box and give Rosaline her own voice. She deserved it! She was connected to BOTH of these overly-dramatic-slightly-psychotic individuals right? Chances are she was effected by their choices.

We ALL know how this story ends. It had been spoon fed to us since our infancy, and Serle doesn’t change that. (Thank the heavens, that was just asking for it.) What she does is take a story that we all know so well and add dimention to it. It’s not all about Romeo (or Rob in this instance) and Juliet’s eventual demise. It’s about what happens to ALL of the people around them. Their families. Their friends. And the people who were there first.

Fast moving plot. Interesting characters. Intriguing concept. Pleasurable read.

I don’t think it should be first on your TBR but it definitely shouldn’t be last either. In short… I LIKED IT!

Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Hate the crime, not the criminal. (Yeah, I know it doesn’t really make sense for this book, but I heard it today and thought it was genius.) Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Teresa.
1,461 reviews13 followers
February 12, 2022
A very sexist, stupid book that I chose to read, in french, so I do t lose the ability to read in my native tongue, because it was free, still wasn’t worth the cost!
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