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The Juliet Club
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The Juliet Club

4.3 56
by Suzanne Harper
 

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Kate Sanderson has been burned by love. From now on, she thinks, I will control my own destiny, and I will be reasoned and rational. But life has other things in store for Kate. Namely, a summer abroad studying Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in the very town where the star-crossed lovers met, Verona, Italy. Kate is thrown together with two other American

Overview

Kate Sanderson has been burned by love. From now on, she thinks, I will control my own destiny, and I will be reasoned and rational. But life has other things in store for Kate. Namely, a summer abroad studying Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in the very town where the star-crossed lovers met, Verona, Italy. Kate is thrown together with two other American teens and three Italians for a special seminar—and for volunteer duty at the Juliet Club, where they answer letters from the lovelorn around the world. Can Kate's cool logic withstand the most romantic summer ever? Especially when faced with the ever-so-charming Giacomo and his entrancing eyes . . . ?

Editorial Reviews

Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“[A] delightful, light, and romantic read.”
Publishers Weekly

After winning a Shakespeare essay contest, practical Kate is off to Verona, Italy, to attend a summer seminar about Romeo and Juliet.There, at a romantic villa, she and her classmates act out scenes from the play, learn Elizabethan dances and answer letters written to Juliet from teenagers who are, as her dramatic professor puts it, "lost, wandering, desperate for advice about love." (A real-life club in Verona answers thousands of such letters each year.) Of course, in the true spirit of the Bard, they also experience romantic complications: Kate and flirty Giacomo discover the other students plotting to "pull a Beatrice and Benedick" (from Much Ado About Nothing) and make them fall in love with each other. Although Harper's wit is less acute than in her debut, The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney, her sense of humor and flair for playful dialogue remain strong enough to overcome the predictable narrative arc. Plenty of drama-on- and offstage-will keep readers in their seats. Ages 12-up. (June)

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Children's Literature - Danielle Williams
When Kate gets her heart broken she vows never to fall in love again. But when she wins a trip to Verona, Italy, to study Shakespeare, her friends plant other ideas in her head. Kate is determined that the trip to Italy is going to be a purely scholarly trip and, though Kate is determined not to fall in love, the new friends she makes in Verona have other plans. When Kate overhears their plans to trick Kate and Giacomo into falling in love, Kate agrees to work with Giacomo to make them believe they are falling for each other, only to announce at the end of the seminar that they were simply fooling their friends. But as Kate and Giacomo spend more and more time together, they begin to develop real feelings for one another. Written to mimic a Shakespearean play, the story is sweet and captivating and filled with quotes and historical tidbits from Shakespeare's works and time. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kate and her father, Dr. Sanderson, are on their way to Verona, Italy for the summer Shakespeare Seminar. While he is teaching a class at the first annual seminar with famous author Professoressa Marchese, Kate finds herself in a classroom with Dr. Marchese's son Giacomo, local Italian teens Sylvia and Benno, American athlete Tom Boone, and Southern belle Lucy Atwell. The teens are involved in a study of Romeo and Juliet while the twists and turns of Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing pepper the plot line. Kate's friends back home have wagered favorite accessories that Kate will find love in Italy after her boyfriend has broken her heart. Sylvia and Giacomo wager that Giacomo can get the American girl to fall in love with him, while Kate and Giacomo plot to make sure that Sylvia and the others think that they have fallen in love. Complicating the plots are the personalities of the teens themselves. From the charmer Giacomo to brilliant, suspicious Kate, each character has a different reason for doubting the power of love. Part of the teens' study involves answering letters about love relationships that are submitted to Juliet at the villa that tradition says was the home of the Capulets in Verona. So while flirting and pretense take place among the six, they are also fielding questions submitted by other love-struck teens and looking critically at the relationship between Juliet and Romeo in the play. Readers will be treated to a full helping of Shakespearean quotes and plot devices as the romantic antics take place against the backdrop of modern Italy. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up- High school junior Kate is practical and unromantic and, after a relationship gone wrong, has sworn off love. When she wins a writing contest sponsored by the University of Verona, she spends four weeks in Italy studying Romeo and Juliet . The seminar is taught by Francesca Marchese, the academic archrival of Kate's father, a well-known Shakespeare professor. Kate arrives to find that she and the other participants are required to volunteer with the Juliet Club (an actual organization); they will answer letters sent to Juliet by those seeking advice on matters of the heart. But Kate; fellow Americans Lucy and Tom; and Italians Giacomo Marchese, Benno, and Silvia rapidly become involved in romantic entanglements of their own in a plot that combines elements not only of Romeo and Juliet , but of Much Ado about Nothing and Henry V as well. This Shakespearean update is an absolutely delightful read. The characters are believable and appealing, and the complicated romantic plotting never bogs down. Harper's descriptions of Verona and Italian life are wonderfully detailed and evocative.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

Kirkus Reviews
Kate Sanderson isn't exactly thrilled by the concept of "true love," having been sadly disappointed by the one-and-only boyfriend of her 16-year life. But when she wins a writing contest to attend a Shakespeare seminar in Verona, Italy, romance seems to be around every twist and turn of its antique streets. Six high-school students-three American and three Italian-take part in the seminar. One daily task is to answer letters from the lovelorn that are sent to the tragic heroine Juliet from all over the world. As they respond to these letters and as they practice their roles for an end-of-summer performance of Romeo and Juliet, relationships form and change. Each character grows in new directions, challenging their preconceived notions of who they are, to whom they are attracted and what "true" love is really all about. As frothy as the foam on a cup of cappuccino, this is a perfect summer read for girls with a touch of romance in their hearts. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061366932
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/04/2010
Pages:
402
Sales rank:
326,786
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Juliet Club

Chapter One

Act I
Scene I

That afternoon, Kate went home from school and found her parents sitting on opposite sides of the kitchen table. Her father was drinking a cup of strong black coffee and rapidly tapping his foot, a sign of either great excitement, too much caffeine, or (probably) both. Her mother was sipping the herbal tea that she claimed kept her mind sharp and her outlook serene. Despite the tea, she was looking at Kate's father over the rim of her mug with a familiar expression of barely repressed irritation.

Kate stopped in the doorway and looked from one parent to the other with grave suspicion. Although her father only lived ten miles away, her parents had made avoiding each other into an art form.

"What's going on?" she asked. "Is something wrong?"

"Wrong? No! Quite the contrary!" her father cried. "In fact, I have some wonderful news! Fantastic news! Amazing, stupendous, fabulous news!"

Her mother started to roll her eyes, caught herself, and took a calming sip of tea instead. "I never should have encouraged you to get involved in that community theater," she murmured. "Just tell her, Tim."

"All right, all right." Kate's father was so happy that he didn't even stop to give his usual lecture about Why Enthusiasm Is the Most Underrated Virtue in Our Modern Age of Cynicism. "You remember the writing contest I suggested you enter last fall?"

"Which one?" she asked. Her father was constantly handing her entry forms that required that she write an essay, a poem, a short story, or, if all else failed, an advertising slogan. "There was that haikucontest. And I remember writing a ten-minute play over winter break—"

"No, no, no, the contest sponsored by the University of Verona!" he cried. "Surely you remember? The university that's holding a series of seminars on Romeo and Juliet? One of which I was asked to teach? Because I'm considered one of the world's foremost experts on Shakespeare?"

He looked questioningly at his daughter and ex-wife. They looked blankly back.

"I don't know why I bother to tell anyone about my life, I really don't," he said, rather sulkily. "It's quite clear that no one listens to a word I say."

Her mother pursed her lips. "Well, you do say so many words, Tim. It's hard to keep up."

He opened his mouth to respond, but—just in time—Kate remembered dashing off ten pages on nature imagery in A Midsummer Night's Dream, right before the deadline. "Oh, wait. Got it. I stayed up until three a.m. to finish the essay. I fell asleep the next day in history." She frowned. "And I failed a pop quiz in chemistry."

"Petty concerns that will soon recede into the mists of time!" he said, waving a hand dismissively. "Minor problems that will soon be forgotten! Sacrifices that you will soon see were well worth making! And why is that, you ask?"

He waited. Kate obediently gave him his cue. "I don't know, Dad. Why?"

"Because you won!"

"Really? That's great." Kate opened the refrigerator to get a soda. Considering the number of competitions her parents and teachers urged her to enter, it would be strange if she didn't win a few here and there.

"Congratulations, honey." Her mother refilled her cup. "A humanities prize will make your college applications a little more well-rounded."

"Zounds, Emily, is that all you can think about?" Her father began pacing around the kitchen. "Her college applications? How prosaic! How pedestrian! How—"

"Practical," her mother pointed out austerely.

"But surely the more important point is that Kate gets to go to Italy!" He stopped in mid-pace to add, rather anticlimatically, "I told you it wasn't a waste of time to start reading the sonnets to her when she was eighteen months old!"

"I never said it was a waste of time," her mother said crossly. "I just thought picture books were more age appropriate—"

"Wait, wait, wait . . . I get to go to Italy?" Kate had only left Kansas three times in her life: to visit her grandmother in Chicago, to go to summer camp in Missouri, and to accompany her mother to a constitutional law conference in New Jersey that was, unbelievably, even more boring than it sounded. "Italy. As in Europe."

"Yes!" Her father bounced a couple of times, beaming at her. "Congraulazioni! We'll leave the day after school ends! We'll stay in an actual villa! And for four glorious weeks, we will experience the genius of Shakespeare and the splendors of la bella Italia!"

"You'll be there for a whole month?" Her mother's cup clattered into its saucer. "But what about thatclass in advanced rhetoric at the University of Kansas this summer? Remember, Kate? We signed you up ages ago—"

"Emily." Her father stopped bouncing, lowered his head, and frowned ferociously, a theatrical expression that Kate privately called his King Lear look. "This Is a Once In a Lifetime Opportunity." He thundered out the words, dramatically pausing between each one to make sure they heard the capital letters. This technique was invariably effective with his students (especially the freshmen), but Kate and her mother were far too used to it to be cowed.

"But she'll get college credit for the rhetoric class," her mother said.

"Which she will also earn for studying in the Shakespeare seminar," he countered triumphantly.

"Seminar?" Kate had a sinking feeling that she wasn't remembering the details of this contest with perfect clarity. "What seminar?"

"That's the prize: as one of the Shakespeare Scholars, you will have the distinction, the honor, the privilege of studying Romeo and Juliet in the heart of Verona, where the play is set!" Her father's eyes were shining as if he had just caught sight of Shakespeare himself. "You're going to learn so much, even though your class is going to be taught by"—his face darkened—"Francesca Marchese."

There was a brief, fraught silence.

The Juliet Club. Copyright © by Suzanne Harper. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Suzanne Harper grew up in Texas and lives in New York City.

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The Juliet Club 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
DanceBree17 More than 1 year ago
When I picked this up I originally thought that it was another tie-in to the new movie on Juliet, but dont be fooled, it is not. The main character Kate is a heartbroken junior in high school who won a summer study program in Italy to study Shakespeare right after having the worst humiliation of her life at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. She goes to Italy with her father(who also is a Shakespeare scholar and a teacher at the program) with the intent to study and have nothing to do with the male population of Verona. She makes a good effort at trying to close her heart, but the beauty of Verona and the country of Italy makes her start to soften. The book is cleverly lad out in sections just like a Shakespeare play and there is alot of Italian spoken and the scenes are described so vividly that you feel as if you are really on holiday in Verona. The changes Kate goes thru in the book from being a severe heartbroken girl into someone who opens her heart once more to love brings tears to anyones eyes. There are many sub plots in this story to keep track of, but the entertaining plot of Silvia and Benno(two of the other Italian students) plotting to make Kate and Giacomo fall in love as a farce backfires when they learn of the plot and go ahead and stage their own romance. Truly the romance between Kate and Giacomo feels real and so does all the other interactions with the characters. This is a great book for anyone who loves romance as well as a taste of literary history thrown in for good measure. Ms. Harper has done alot of homework regarding the true Juliet Club but does not over-glorify the real work that the Club does. Instead it is mearly the real backdrop on a terrific romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book deserves without a doubt five stars. If you don't want to believe me then fine. Listen to the others. I normally don't like romance but I found this book very captivating and with an interesting plot. It can be really amusing at times. It is perfect for people 12 years and older and it seems so real, characters, details, dialogue and all, that many people can connect to it. Also, in a way, it gives answeres to many real life problems (you'll see how once you get about halfway through the book). Sure, it's romance, but that doesn't mean it is horrible. I wasn't very excited to read it (I had no other books) but I think it definately made it to my top five favorite books. You should TOTALLY read it, 'cause I LOVED it and I am very picky about my books, especially this type. READ IT!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story truely reflects what new and young love is like. You must overcome your doubts and compromise to experience the bumpy road of love and finding yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely adored this book! It was beautifully written and I've read it so many times and never have I gotten tired of it! I loved the plot and it makes me want to go to Italy and find a romance there myself! Its a really great read for a romantic! And also it isn't "boring" or "confusing" just because it deals with Shakespeare, so give this book a chance! Its worth every penny!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was good in a sense of shallowness and frivolous details. I also found it amazingly cheesey sometimes. Overall, this book was slightly enjoyable, but don't waste your money on the nook book, check it out from the library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing read! It reminded me a lot of the movie Letters to Juliet which I absolutely love! A must read!
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
This book sat on my desk all year waiting for me to get around to reading it--and I'm so glad I finally did! Suzanne Harper's writing is a real treat. This book has loads of fun characters, interesting subplots, and a healthy dollop of Shakespeare to round it all off. Nothing earth-shattering (or even surprising) happens here; it's just a well-written and fun read to while away your summer with.
mamafox More than 1 year ago
I picked this up because I am a Shakespeare fan and thought it looked like fun. Kate Sanderson, the heroine, is a very practical girl who has everything in her life organized and planned out to the last detail. She has wonderful friends who support her and like her for who she is, but are good enough friends to tell her she needs to lighten up. When she is chosen to attend a Shakespeare symposium, she is thrilled to get the chance to travel and see the place her favorite author was inspired by and wrote about often. Her friends, who are very humorous, are excited because they are sure she will fall in love while she is there. They make a bet and follow her exploits through the emails she sends about her adventures. The friends she meets in Italy are equally humorous and provide Kate with a lot of entertainment. They are all very different people and the combination of personalities the author has created work well together. I found that I came to have a picture of each of them in my head due to the details woven into the story. I especially like Giacomo, the boy Kate is pushed toward by all of her friends, who is the exact opposite of Kate. He has a charm that is irresistible- even to sensible Kate. The storyline is sometimes predictable, but it is still an enjoyable read. Lots of smiles and laughs move the story along. Despite thinking I knew what was going to happen, I was surprised by some twists and turns that led to interesting developments in the story. This is worth the read, if for nothing else than to enjoy the descriptions of Verona, Italy and the lines from Shakespeare's plays. I also love that there really is a group in Italy who responds to letters written to Juliet asking for advice on love.
prettybrowneyes More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was awesome because it had Shakespeare scholars and professors in the story.
BooksLoverForever More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. I really loved the story it told. When a girl with a broken heart named Kate heads to Verona, Italy for the summer, she is not swept up by the magic of the beautiful city. She is cold and focused but she may just get more than she bargained for when she meets the charming, but flirtatious, Giacomo. This book is charming and will make you laugh.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
THE JULIET CLUB is about six teenagers taking a Shakespeare Seminar in Verona, Italy, which is the same place where the famous Romeo and Juliet is set. The three Americans, Tom, Lucy, and Kate, are winners of a Shakespeare essay contest and have traveled halfway around the world to attend the seminar. They're all excited, for different reasons, to be spending a month in the beautiful country of Italy. The other three teenagers, Benno, Giacomo, and Silvia, all live in Verona and happen to be studying at the seminar.

Each of the teenagers is very different from the rest. Kate is very educated and her father is a noted Shakespeare scholar, who just happens to be the main rival of Francesca Marchese, who will be teaching Kate's seminar. Kate, who's still suffering from a broken heart whether she'll admit it or not, plans to spend the summer studying and discussing Shakespeare even more than before. Lucy, a friendly, bubbly, and beautiful southern, is crazy with happiness about being in Italy. Unlike the girls, Tom doesn't seem interested at all in Shakespeare, but more in playing soccer (football). Benno is happy and ready to work for whoever will pay him. Giacomo, Benno's best friend and the boy all of the girls fall for, is less than thrilled about going to the seminar, but his mother insists. Silvia is an angry but beautiful girl who gives off the vibe to stay away from her. Somehow, these six very different teens end up together in Italy, where romance is always blooming.

During the seminar, they are to act out scenes from the play and to answer letters written from Juliet's point of view, because hundreds of teens throughout the world write to her every year about their love problems. But the teens are not only studying love - they're experiencing it. Their lives are filled with the same experiences of falling in love, heartbreak, and jokes that Shakespeare's plays were filled with.

This book had a fun setting, great characters, and a whole lot of potential. The thing is, it switched points of view so often, and focused on so many relationships, that it was hard to keep track and relate to the characters. But even so, I'm still looking forward to reading Ms. Harper's previous books and any books to come.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
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Crazy_Brunette More than 1 year ago
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! I have read 'The Juliet Club' about 5 times, and I don't usually reread books. My sister bought it and she liked as well, but since I loved it so much she actually gave it to me when she went off to college, I would recommend this book to anyone that really don't like Romeo and Juliet, mainly because if you do like it then you'd "Oh it's another Romeo and Juliet type book, they're gonna fall in love at first sight, and create this whole scandal!", but no I think this book it more realistic, and that's why I love it so much
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TheButler More than 1 year ago
This book's plot was rater interesting to me. I found that it didn't focus as much on "main character" as much as it did the different character plots going on. If you are looking for an escape in another country during the summer and with romance, this is the book to read. it isn't like Letters to Juliet despite the subject matter and title! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast, fun read.
thegirlintheglasses More than 1 year ago
Romantic, Shakespeare inspired stories are always lots of fun. It was kind of predictable, but it was a sweet story with a wonderful journey. A beautiful, feel-good book I definitely recommend.
Julietta64 More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing!! The setting really makes the book! Italy !! Who wouldnt want to read a book about an american girl falling in love with an italian boy! It is like what every girl wants their experience at Italy to be!! Soo romantic! It is a great book to read during the summer!
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