Posted by: teachergirl | January 23, 2010

The Juliet Club

The Juliet Club
Suzanne Harper
New York: Greenwillow Books, 2008
Genre: Young adult, romance, realistic fiction
Interest level: 7th grade and up
AR level: 5.7

Seventeen year old Kate Sanderson has been invited to participate in the summer Shakespeare Symposium in Verona, Italy, setting of the famed play Romeo and Juliet.  Her best friends urge her to use the experience to get over her ex-boyfriend and have a thrilling Italian romance.  Kate, on the other hand, has vowed to eschew all forms of romantic love and plans to immerse herself in the study of the Bard she so admires.  Instead she finds herself thrown into escapades of Shakespearean proportions.

Sometimes you need to read something easy and straightforward that’s just plain fun.  The Juliet Club is that book.  It’s a light-hearted innocent romance that’s predictable but engaging; even though you know how it will end, you are compelled to find out exactly what happens to Kate and Giacomo.  I loved that their relationship started out as a sort of contract to prove others wrong.  There is real character growth beyond the two leads.  Each of the teens (and arguably Kate’s father and Giacomo’s mother) learn a little bit about themselves and step out of their comfort zone to love or be loved.

The story reminds me of Polly Shulman’s Enthusiasm because it’s centered around a girl finding romance through her literary interests.  Like Shulman does with Austen, Harper incorporates Shakespearean themes and scenes into her story.  The Juliet Club is in many respects an updated story of Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing.  I liked that the reader is expected to have some familiarity of Shakespeare; while some references are explained, all are not.  The Juliet Club makes me want to read more of his plays and pay more attention to the subtext and what Shakespeare was really trying to say beyond the basic plot.

My only complaint is that the ending is too abrupt.  [Spoiler]  Yes, they finally confess their mutual feelings, but it’s Kate’s last night in Italy.  What happens after she returns home?

Any girl that takes an interest in historical literature will enjoy The Juliet Club.  This is definitely read and reread worthy.

I get to mark off another from the 2010 Reading Challenge, this time in the Young Adult category.

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Responses

  1. […] The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper, finished 1/23/10 […]

  2. I tend to like YA fiction–and really enjoyed Shulman’s Enthusiasm when I read it recently. I’ll have to give The Juliet Club a try. Thanks for the review!

  3. […] Everything)90. gautami tripathy (The Switch by Sandra Brown)91. gautami tripathy (The Courtship)92. teachergirl (The Juliet Club)93. Books in the City (Geography of Bliss) 94. Books in the City (New World Monkeys) 95. Jen […]


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