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Ronit & Jamil

2.88  ·  Rating details ·  1,265 ratings  ·  360 reviews
Pamela L. Laskins beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of
ebook, 192 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books
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CapesandCovers No, it's not. It's actually written in verse (poetry), so that's why it's less than 200 pages

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Average rating 2.88  · 
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Emily May
Jul 26, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, romance, 2017
When I do not see you
my heart is in a tomb.
The whisper of your words
I carry in my tomb.
The shadow of your smile
creeps out from the tomb,
the warmth of your body
without it, I am a tomb.
If I cant be with you
bury me in the tomb.


If you're anything like me, the promise of a book unlike anything you've ever read before is very enticing. So when I saw this book - a novel in verse, a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, about an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy - I knew it was a must read. I haven't
A modern day retelling of Romeo & Juliet written in verse that follows two teens, one Israeli and one Palestinian.
~review to come~
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Just look at that pretty cover!


I absolutely love it! So I had to read the little book for that reason alone since I'm not a huge fan of the Romeo and Juliet tale. Don't get me wrong. I loved it as a teenager. I thought there was nothing more beautiful in the world than dying for the together with one you love. Yes, sadly I was a silly teenager.


Then, as I grew up, I discovered that life doesn't end when a relationship does, and that love is a funny thing that can happen more than once. So I
(I viewed an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

so I know
she thinks of me
as a man
who would lift her skirt
and love her,
not the foolish boy
my Abi
thinks I am.

This was a YA contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

Ronit and Jamil were both okay characters, but at times it was really hard to know whose viewpoint I was reading from, as the chapters werent labelled with the characters names.

The storyline in this was about Ronit and Jamil meeting once and
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the most lovely story. A modern Romeo and Juliet,but refreshing and not cliche. Highly highly recommend!! It is absolutely a new poetry favorite that I'll reread many times.
Kimberly Antill
I'm beginning to feel like a monster when it comes to novels told in verse. I've been begging for one that sounds more poetic and in that aspect Ronit and Jamil delivers. It's everywhere else that I found it lacking.

Ronit and Jamil is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in modern day Israel and Palestine. I thought putting star-crossed lovers in this setting had a lot of potential. However the author was so intent on making Ronit and Jamil so much like their Shakespearean counterparts that a lot
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, set during the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict.
I enjoyed the writing style and I also appreciated how the author included some quotes from the original play.
My main issues with the story were two. The first is that the conflict was not analyzed much, it gave me the feeling of being too simply explained, maybe it was just me. My other problem was that sometimes it was hard to understand who was talking and so this made the reading experience a bit
I don't really know what to think . . .

I'm sad to be disappointed, I expected so much more from this story, but I guess it's my own fault.
I know it's a retelling, but the insta love was a bit cringy and because it's written in verse you don't have the possibility to see why exactly Ronit & Jamil fell in love with each other.

Then there is the fact that writing this story in verse made it even more difficult sometimes to understand what was going on, hard to understand who's talking. But the
Her eyes
are mine,
they are fueled
by fear
and longing;
they suffer
watching the forbidden fence
between our people
and our bodies.

I dont think Ive ever read a book waiting for it to live up to peoples failed expectations. However, this book took the prize, because it was just as awful as all the reviews say it is.

Look, Im a total sucker for forbidden romance. Its one of those tropes that I just cant seem to stay away from. Theres something about the stakes that a romance of that nature
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Finished in less than an hour. This book tells a story about prejudice and hope. It's just not told very well.


The character and romance development is barely there. It's instalove, of course. And the book didn't have ANY character work. Ronit and Jamil ended up being a complete message book.

But this book fails as a message book, as well. The issues here are all so... simplified. This story doesn't do anything new with the concept it started out with. There's just nothing new
I wanted to love this retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but with Ronit, our female lead, being Israeli and Jamil, our male lead, being Palestinian. But I didn't. It's unnecessarily attempting to be Literary in terms of its writing -- the verse doesn't work -- but the real challenge is that it's hard to distinguish who is who without cues at the top of the pages. The voices, which Laskin says she made sound similar purposefully (I get it), get muddled and confused and as a reader, I was frustrated ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook, 2018

It was a little bit weird - those comparision between sex and nature (branches as arms/legs???)

I think it's important discussion, especially now but it this book didn't impress me.
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
Lovely, sensual poetry. Beautiful cultural representation. Accurate portrayal of complicated politics. Compelling though sometimes confusing point-of-view parallels. Touching YA romance.
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was a HARD but quick read. I found the style to be more distracting than anything. I wish the formatting would have clarified the voices more in the verses that didnt include the names. I loved the concept but the execution made it difficult to enjoy. ...more
My main problem here was that I had trouble really often to distinguish the voices of the characters. That got really distracting and confusing.

As far as retelling go, this one was okay-ish. But since it's supposed to be a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, the fact that it's set in modern day kind of takes away from the "dramatic" side of the story: cell phones would do that to a story whose main dramatic point relies on the inefficiency of communication when there's no immediate means. Oh well.

Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bogi Takács
I seldom DNF books, but after reading a sizable chunk of this one, it had nothing that would make me want to keep on reading. Flat poetry, many cultural inaccuracies, the parallelism between the characters doesn't work, the plot is simplistic in the extreme.

My complete review is now available on Bogi Reads the World:
Sarah Hannah
Dec 20, 2017 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: ya, narrative-verse, 2017
Threw it across the room after 65 pages. Overwrought and heavy handed, clearly written to Teach A Lesson. Introduction, readers note, AND fucking footnotes! Calm down, Pamela. I feel like the reason this book was published was so that it would sell to English teachers who want to throw it into the Romeo and Juliet unit so that they can show the students how down they are with YA. Please dont do that, English teachers. There is legit YA out there. Bleh. ...more
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
This is a weird book to rate. There's some BEAUTIFUL lines in this but it's such a clunky compilation as a whole. I'm also kinda confused why you would go "Romeo and Juliet" in Israel-Palestine and not have it end like a Shakespean tragedy and be very surface level about the geopolitical conflict. It just seemed a little rushed. I don't know why it's so short. This could've been really interested if it was doubles in size and actually developed the geopolitical conflict.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
this book was just not for me.
See this review and more bookish things on my blog!

This rating is not what you think.

Or maybe its not what I would think it to be; usually, for me, one-star reviews mean that the reviewer didnt just dislike the book theyre reviewingthey hated it.

But I didnt hate this book. I was just underwhelmed by it.

Ronit & Jamil is pitched as a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in the midst of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Not only is this conflict a current issueits divisive, and its affecting both
Leanne Jones
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I don't often read poetry or verse books. I did enjoy this Romeo and Juliet retelling. I don't know much about Israel or Palestine, but my interest is now piqued. Perhaps I will do as the author did, and read Arab and Jewish works to familiarize myself with it.
Mafalda Oliveira
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4stars
I don't understand why this book has such a low rating, tbh.
I almost didn't picked it up because of the rating, but I'm so glad I did!
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-lit, poetry, 2017-reads
This was interesting. I would probably give it 2.5 stars.
I think this may have been "it's not you, it's me" kinda book.
I went in expecting poignant lines like Brown Girl Dreaming. Or something that would make me feel deeply. Though there were a few moments of that, it wasn't as much as I wished.
Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
Got through half this tiny, tiny book.

Whoo, it's bad.
Sierra Lynn
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
2.5 stars
Nya Martinez
~Review to come~

This was... cute.
I mean, as cute as any Romeo and Juliet retelling can get.

Idk man, I think my expectations were too high. Like I kept hearing about this book but when I got to reading it wasn't what I expected.
Speaking of it not being what I expected, Umm, what's up with the writing style? I definitely wasn't expecting that. It was all poetic and randomly descriptive. I read the first page and it threw me off cuz I didn't realize it was gonna be like that. I was
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I was so excited to read this that I found it underwhelming in a way. The writing was unique and the story was very important and meaningful, but I felt that I didn't really connect to the characters as much as I would have liked to. The ending was nice, it was hopeful, making it much like reality- grim and sad yet hopeful, as we all try to better the world and society. 3☆
Luke Reynolds
ARC Review (11/2/16, received from Sarah Prineas)

I really wanted to like this book. Ronit & Jamil's premise is easily one of the most promising premises I've heard in a while. A retelling of Romeo and Juliet with an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy with racial tension set in free verse? You had me at Israeli and Palestinian. I've never seen that conflict touched upon in anything, so I was waiting to get a chance to devour this.

Unfortunately, after 54 pages, there's really nothing here in
Katie Lipovetsky
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Overall a beautifully written story (though I didn't like the style of one of the sections). My problems with this story was primarily due to pacing. Written in verse, this story moves at a lightning speed, leaving it's characters in the dust. While reading I couldn't get a sense of each character. By the end of the book I still couldn't tell their personalities apart or even their sections(unless I looked above at the titles or they used the names of other characters). The pacing also accounts ...more
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