Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin

Hardcover, 192 pages
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Read from: March 2-4, 2017 
Source: Library
For fans of: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Marginalized Voices, Books in Verse, YA

     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 conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.
     The teenage lovers fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can only be kept secret for so long. Ronit and Jamil must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.


     When I heard about the idea of this book, I was all for it! I KNEW I needed it in my life. But then when I heard it was in verse, I was definitely A LOT more weary of it. Normally, books in verse and I do NOT get along. This put me off from requesting it, but I did still want to read it. And I'm kinda glad I didn't let it ago right away.
     Ronit and Jamil live on opposite sides of the train tracks in a world that is ravaged by war. Thier famalies are on opposite sides of the war, but have found a way to work together. Jamil and Ronit fall in love and can only think of one thing, each other. 
     For the most part, I did enjoy the story. Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet are the only Shakespeare plays I actually read and liked in high school, so I can see why it intrigued me. The storyline is a little hard to follow since it IS in verse and it seems to jump around, but since it's a retelling it made it a little easier to follow. I even recognized some of the words from the original play, and that made all the difference.
     The writing style itself was good too. As stated, I'm not a huge fan of verse novels, but this one did have some beautifully written poems. There were some things that made me cringe, but that was more of the war stories. I don't like hearing about it on the news, so hearing about it in my "escape" was just as sad. I also loved that she genderswapped "Romeo and Juliet." It was pretty cool to see things happen from the different POVs. 
      It was a solid book of poetry about a subject others might not know about. This wasn't something I would normally read, but I'm glad I didn't completely push it aside. I can see myself maybe reading more poetry by her someday. 
Overall, I give this


  1. I am pretty excited for this one but the verse makes me hesitate a little because I'm not the hugest fan of books in verse having had bad experiences in the past!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

  2. Lately, I've been realising that quite a few books on my TBR are verse novels. I was uncertain about it but then I read Sea Foam & Silence and absolutely adored the writing style. The genderswap sounds intriguing. I'll certainly be reading it.