- Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7848-9 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-7850-2 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 6-9
When twelve-year-old Mattie meets Gemma, the pretty new girl from England, she falls headlong for her. Then Gemma is cast as Juliet and Mattie as Paris in the eighth-grade production of Romeo and Juliet, and Mattie envies Liam, who’s cast as Romeo; when Liam drops out and Mattie takes over Romeo, she fears that her feelings for Gemma will interfere with her ability to play the part. Mattie is fortunate in her friends and advisors; these include her friend Lucy, who perceives Mattie’s crush even before Mattie does; her English teacher, who encourages her to use her offstage feelings to enhance rather than detract from her performance; and her college-age sister, who coaches her on kissing and encourages her to confide in their mother. Gemma herself is self-assured and bold, and ultimately not averse to playing Juliet to an unconventional Romeo, both onstage and off. Augmenting this exploration of first infatuation is a thorough lesson on the important lines and nuances of the play itself, as Liam provides unexpected insight into Romeo’s character and mistakes, and champions the role of friends in helping sort out feelings.