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Ronit & Jamil

2.86  ·  Rating details ·  1,143 ratings  ·  332 reviews
Pamela L. Laskin’s beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s 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 co
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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2.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,143 ratings  ·  332 reviews

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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 can’t 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 r
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 star
(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 weren’t labelled with the character’s names.

The storyline in this was about Ronit and Jamil meeting once
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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 w
”Her eyes
are mine,
they are fueled
by fear
and longing;
they suffer
watching the forbidden fence
between our people
and our bodies.”

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book waiting for it to live up to people’s failed expectations. However, this book took the prize, because it was just as awful as all the reviews say it is.

Look, I’m a total sucker for forbidden romance. It’s one of those tropes that I just can’t seem to stay away from. There’s something about the stakes that a romance of that nat
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 b ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrative-verse, ya, 2017
Threw it across the room after 65 pages. Overwrought and heavy handed, clearly written to Teach A Lesson. Introduction, reader’s 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 don’t do that, English teachers. There is legit YA out there. Bleh.
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
this book was just not for me.
Amanda Pate
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.
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!
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.
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, 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 thin
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
Katie Lipovetsky
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
Abby Sharon
I wanted to love this book. But I couldn't. There was too much that was missing and it made it impossible to feel much of anything really.

I think that the attempt was commendable, I think this is a strong concept and that should be explored. A retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in present day Israel with an Israeli girl and Palestinian boy as the star-crossed lovers should be powerful. But when the story can be read in an hour, you don't really have a chance to be swept away. You don't have a cha
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It makes me so sad to give this book a bad review because I had such high hopes for it. A modern Romeo and Juliet set around the Israeli-Palestine border and told in verse sounds amazing and yet it fell short. Very short.

While at times the verse was pretty (I especially liked the two chapters from the fathers' perspectives), most of the time it was just confusing and repetitive. I think this book would've been so much better if it was told in narration. Then we would've gotten a better feel for
I had mixed expectations when picking up this book. I had some worry over whether I would like this book because it is based on Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, and I'm not a huge fan of that play, but on the other hand, I felt like this book was so hyped up to me that I was expecting it to be amazing.

For me, it was neither bad nor really good. It was just an ok book. One of the things that I did like about this story is that it's told in verse so it took me only an hour or two to read it.

One of
Wow, this was disappointing. I enjoy books in verse, and I'm sure it's incredibly difficult to tell a story this way, but "Ronit & Jamil" was one overly-homogeneous mess. There was one clear voice, but the story was told by two (actually, four) characters. The love story was unbelievable, and it seemed much too lighthearted for this topic. I was expecting for this to cover some tough topics and help teens (and other readers) to better understand the Israel/Palestine conflict, but all I read ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not one for books in verse, however, this one was beautifully written and I enjoyed it. The modern take on Romeo and Juliet gave it a realistic feel and the gender swap added to the fun. Most of the pages in the beginning and the end have titles so you know whose speaking, but the middle got a little confusing. The ending was left open but I was okay with that.

I'm looking forward to sharing this with my Middle School Creative Writing Class when we begin our study of poetry.
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