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Monday 21 May 2012

Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count:  334 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: May 1st 2012


 In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale.

What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.

Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy… and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends…

 My Thoughts: Don't get me wrong, I liked it. But just something about it...

Being a huge Shakespeare buff, I was somewhat hesitant to read this book, but also really excited. I have loved the story of Romeo and Juliet since I was a little girl and got my illustrated Usborne copy of it, so I really was unsure whether or not I wanted to read it from
another person's perspective. But, I have always been curious as to what happened to Rosaline, so that was the thing that made me buy it. What happened to Romeo's first love? 

When You Were Mine is a modernized 'retelling' so it's set in a high school in California. Juliet is portrayed as being an evil little female-dog (if you know what I mean) and Rosaline is heart broken and lonely when Rob, (Romeo) leaves her for Juliet. Okay, HOLD UP. This was the first thing that bothered me: Juliet and Rob's relationship? Practically non-existent. They kissed, it was really cute. They then had a day at school of awww until Juliet showed up. Then, at the dance, BOOM, Rob falls for Juliet. I don't know, I just didn't get the whole "...waiting for years for Rob to kiss her." It was more like a few months. Yes, what Rob did, leaving Rosaline for Juliet with not even a word about it, was crappy, but still. I think that part of it was a bit over-played.

I'm having a bit of a hard time setting out my thoughts on this one. On one hand, it was a good book full of emotion. But on the other hand, it was... merely okay. Knowing where the story would inevitably go was not even the biggest part of its predictability. I knew from the beginning what would happen, down to who Rosaline would end up with in the end. It was disappointing having not a single thing in the book surprise me. I know that's not a huge factor for liking a book for some people, but in my opinion, when an author can pull a rabbit out of the hat (or in other words, surprise you big time) well enough, it makes the book just so much better. So I guess what I'm trying to say is even though this is a retelling of sorts, it would have been nice to see some twists and turns other than reading from the perspective of Rosaline. 

In the end When You Were Mine won't be a book I'll remember too well in a few months. It wasn't bad, but it also didn't quite live up to my expectations. The writing was good enough, but it was also a little unoriginal. I found a lot of the story too be a big cliche, from the supporting characters to the scandalous past between the Monteg family and Caplet family. The conclusion to the book, though sad because of the inevitable, well-known ending, was sweet and that made me like it just a little bit more, but probably not enough to read it again.

What did you think of When You Were Mine? Disappointing? Well-done? Let me know, I'd love to know your opinions!

Have a great day/night everyone!


  1. This is the next book of my TBR pile, and I'm quite excited about it. I guess I don't expect it be amazing, but I'm hoping it's a sweet YA romance that will give me a bit of a break from all the dystopian/paranormal/fantasy YA I've been reading lately.
    Great review, honest and well thought out.

    1. If you need a break from paranormal/fantasy, this is perfect.. That's actually the main reason I read it. :)

  2. I've heard about this one ... that its a little disappointing. Still, who can resist a romance?

  3. I have the same reservations for picking it up. I'm a major lover of Shakespeare, except my favorite is Hamlet, but I also really enjoy retellings. Most of the time though I want there to be some originality, some twist or new character, just something to make me feel like I'm not just reading an old tale set in modern times.

    It sucks knowing When You Were Mine fell a little flat in that area, but I still think I'll pick it up one day in the summer when I go to the beach. Thanks for the honest review!


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