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Reviewed by:
  • Juliet Immortal
  • Claire Gross
Jay, Stacey. Juliet Immortal. Delacorte, 2011. 306p. Library ed. ISBN 978-0-385-90826-9 $20.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-385-74016-6 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-375-89893-8 $17.99 R Gr. 9–12.

Shakespeare has a lot to answer for. Immortalizing Romeo and Juliet as the pinnacle of true love and tragic sacrifice, when in fact, according to this fantasy drawn from the play, Romeo sacrificed Juliet to gain immortal life for himself? Now Juliet is a servant of the Ambassadors of Light; she inhabits the body of a troubled soul for just as much time as it takes to unite two soulmates in her host’s proximity and improve her host’s life before returning to the Mists, where she floats with only the vaguest perceptions of time and self until her next assignment. Romeo, meanwhile, didn’t quite achieve immortality as planned; he is bound in service to the Mercenaries, subverting Juliet’s work at every turn and trying to lead soulmates down the path of selfish sacrifice that he took. This time around, though, with the lovers ensconced in a California high school, things are different. Both Ambassador and Mercenary higher-ups are inexplicably absent; Romeo is trying to convince Juliet that if she can love him again they can both escape to a real life without any supernatural obligations; and Juliet, so long numb to love, is falling for one of the soulmates she’s supposed to help pair off. Much of the action is bound up in the familiar teen tropes of school, theater productions, and the micro-dramas of friends and dates and parents, making this thoroughly accessible to fantasy skeptics. The romance won’t inspire undue swooning, but Romeo, driven mad from centuries on Earth without any tactile sensation, is a splendidly ambiguous antagonist, seesawing between relentless and almost animalistic malice and moments of what appear to be genuine regret and anguish. The twist ending should offer readers some genuine surprise, and while a sequel is not assured, readers may hope that the higher powers aren’t done with Juliet yet. [End Page 85]



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