Monday, October 3, 2016

Book Review: "Romeo and/or Juliet" by Ryan North

I think everyone knows the plot of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, right?  It is known as one of the most famous romantic tragedies in all of literature.  Well, what if that plot didn't really matter?  What if you got to choose how the story goes yourself?

That's right.  Ryan North has reimagined Romeo and Juliet as a choose-your-own-adventure story.  You can play as either Romeo or Juliet and make choices along the way.  Your choices can lead down many different paths... maybe Romeo pretends to be a maid and that's how he meets Juliet, maybe Juliet runs away and gets drunk in a bar and never meets Romeo....  maybe Juliet becomes a pirate instead.  There are so many different possible outcomes that after several readings I don't think I've reached even a tenth of the total.

And these are funny!  The exaggerated characters are hilarious, and turn this into a game almost.  My son has been reading this for days and keeps chuckling at whatever ending he's come to this time.  It really is a pretty clever concept (though quite gimmicky of course).  I believe the author is making a bit of a series like this as I saw a To Be or Not To Be at the bookstore recently.

There are cartoonish illustrations at the end of each path, which is fun too.  It is kind of like a reward for finishing, even though you are probably just going to go and start over again!

This is a fun little diversion that you can control.  Fun for all ages! (At least tween and up - I didn't see anything all that objectionable as a parent, but I didn't read it all either).

*****
Romeo and/or Juliet
by Ryan North
Riverhead Books, 2016
400 pages
Source:  Library
*****

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