Juliet Immortal

Juliet Immortal

4.2 139
by Stacey Jay

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Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush will relish this intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history's most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered

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Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush will relish this intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history's most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jennifer Bloustine
Jay uses the characters of Romeo and Juliet as the basis for this paranormal romance. In this version of the story, however, Romeo murders Juliet in order to gain immortality for himself. Juliet also becomes immortal—or at least her spirit does. She works for the Ambassadors, trying to save and protect true love, while Romeo works for the Mercenaries trying to destroy love and sow evil. They meet throughout history, inhabiting different bodies and fighting each other on behalf of the forces of good and evil. Arriving in the body of physically and emotionally scarred Ariel, Juliet slowly begins to realize that perhaps things could be different for her and for Romeo if she could find a way to see past her anger and pain. Perhaps there is a chance that she could protect the lovers she has been sent to save, and find her own soul mate at the same time. Jay starts with an intriguing premise but quickly falls prey to the cliches of the genre with its melodrama and outsized emotions. Most of the teen characters are well-developed, though the few adults who appear are flat and one-dimensional. The mythology of the Ambassadors and Mercenaries is extremely muddled, which makes the action of the plot confusing and unclear. That said, die-hard paranormal romance fans will love this title for its tense action and heightened emotion. Reviewer: Jennifer Bloustine
Children's Literature - Carollyne Hutter
Romeo and Juliet is the classic love story. Although William Shakespeare wrote the play in 1500s, the tragic romance still resonates with modern audiences and has been retold in many movies and books. In Juliet Immortal, the author takes the story of Romeo and Juliet and gives it a couple of twists. In this story, Romeo murdered Juliet (in Shakespeare's play she takes her own life) so he could ensure his own immortality. Juliet has also been given eternal life as an Ambassador of Light. Over the course of hundreds of years, Juliet has fought for romantic love and lives of the innocent, while Romeo has been on the dark side. As the book opens, Juliet is in the body of Ariel, a teenage girl living in present day California. Ariel has just had the worst date of her life with Dylan, and in her anger Ariel has caused a fatal car accident. Juliet takes over Ariel's body just as she drives off the road, and Romeo takes over Dylan's body. As Juliet/Ariel tries to flee Romeo/Dylan's violence, she accepts help from Ben, a teenage boy driving a passing car. Instantly, Juliet feels a connection to Ben, but she knows better than to let herself get distracted from her mission. As the book unfolds matters become more complicated as Juliet strives to bring soul mates together and battles Romeo as he warns that their time is almost up. This book fits well with the popular genre of supernatural young adult novels. It may not appeal to Shakespeare purists who may not like the radical alteration to the story of Romeo and Juliet. Reviewer: Carollyne Hutter
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Here is a Shakespeare retelling with a difference: What if Romeo actually murdered Juliet as part of a bargain with evil powers called Mercenaries in order to become immortal? The dying Juliet is recruited by the Ambassadors, opponents of the Mercenaries, as a protector of lovers and soul mates, and, for the next 700 years, she fights Romeo, who seeks to convince others to sacrifice their true loves as he himself did. He and Juliet take up temporary residence in new bodies every time they battle each other. Juliet's latest host is a troubled girl whose self-centered best friend, Gemma, appears to be one of the soul mates Juliet has been sent to protect. However, Juliet finds herself falling in forbidden love with good guy Ben, who seems to be Gemma's soul mate, and she also has to resist Romeo, who claims to have found a way to release both of them from their immortal bondage, if only she can love him again. Will Juliet find a true love after centuries of tragedy and loss? The paranormal romance elements work surprisingly well in combination with the play, although the backstory of the Ambassadors and Mercenaries is not always clear. Jay includes some interesting critiques of popular notions of romantic love associated with the story of Romeo and Juliet, which would make for a lively book discussion with teens who have read the play. Readers who enjoyed Amy Plum's Die for Me (HarperTeen, 2011) and Cynthia Leitich Smith's Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) will also enjoy this one.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Kirkus Reviews

Shakespeare's famous teenage lovers are re-imagined as immortal enemies in this convoluted and occasionally gruesome update of Romeo and Juliet.

As an agent for the ill-defined Ambassadors of Light—angels? gods? vampires? It's never clear—Juliet Capulet finds and protects new soul mates; serving the Mercenaries of the Apocalypse, Romeo Montague tries to convince one lover to kill the other and gain immortality. The fact that Juliet is also immortal—as evidenced by the title—remains unaddressed, as do the clear downsides of Romeo's demonic afterlife. Rather than reincarnation, the two temporarily possess humans—Juliet occupies the scarred and scared Ariel Dragland, while Romeo re-animates the fresh corpse of sociopath Dylan Stroud. Their host bodies come with an abundance of emotional baggage, bad friendships and dysfunctional families, all of which they must sort through as they attend high school, search for the soul mates and perform in West Side Story. Though the characters are flat—particularly secondary ones like spoiled Gemma and brooding but noble Ben—readers seeking melodrama may be pleased by the ever-changing couplings and life-or-death situations. Jay (The Locket, 2011, etc.) celebrates the giddy rush of teenage love, but the violence—often bordering on sexual sadism—far outstrips the original tale.

An uneven combination of Shakespeare and the supernatural. (Fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.73(d)
770L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 Years

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Tonight, he could have come through the door—the castello is quiet, even the servants asleep in their beds, and Nurse would have let him in—but he chooses the window, climbing through the tangle of night flowers, carrying petals in on his clothes.

He stumbles on a loose stone and falls to the floor, grinning as I rush to meet him.

He is a romantic, a dreamer, and never afraid to play the fool. He is fearless and reckless and brave and I love him for it. Desperately. Love for him steals my breath away, makes me feel I am dying and being reborn every time I look into his eyes or run trembling fingers through his brown curls.

I love him for the way he sprawls on the freshly scrubbed stones, strong legs flexing beneath his hose, as if there is no cause for worry, as if we have not broken every rule and do not face banishment from the only homes we have ever known. I love him for the way he finds my hand, presses it to his smooth cheek, inhaling as if my skin smells sweeter than the petals clinging to his coat. I love him for the way he whispers my name, "Juliet"—a prayer for deliverance, a promise of pleasure, a vow that all this sweet everything he is to me will be forever.

Forever and always.

Despite our parents, and our prince, and the blood spilled in the plaza. Despite the fact that we have little money and fewer friends and our once-shining futures are clouded and dim.

"Tell me that tomorrow will never come." He pulls me to the floor beside him, cradling me on his lap, hand curling over my hip in a way it has not before. Heat flares from the tips of his fingers, spreading through me, reminding me I will soon be his wife in every way. Every touch is sanctified. Everything we will do tonight is meant to be, a celebration of the vows we have made and the love that consumes us.

I drop my lips to his. Joy bleeds from his mouth to mine and I sigh the lie into the fire of him. "It will never come."

"Tell me that I will always be here in this room. Alone with you. And that you will always be the most beautiful girl in the world." His hands are at the ties on the back of my dress, slow and patient, slipping each ribbon through its loop with a deliberate flick of his fingers.

No urgent, shame-filled fumbling in the dark for us. He is steady and sure, and every candle shines bright, the better to see the tenderness in his eyes, to be more certain with every passing moment that this is no youthful mistake. This is love. Real. Magnificent. Eternal.

"Always," I whisper, so full of adoration the emotion borders on worship. A part of me feels that to love so is sacrilege, but I do not care. There is nothing in the world but Romeo. For the rest of my life, he is the god at whose feet I will kneel.

His cheek presses to mine, his warm breath in my ear making mine come faster. "Juliet . . . you are . . ."

I am his goddess. I can feel it in the way he shudders as my fingers come to the buttons of his cotehardie and pluck them from their holes, one by one, revealing the thin linen of the shirt beneath.

"You are everything," he says, eyes shining. "Everything."

And I know that I am. I am his moon, and his brightly shining star. I am his life, his heart. I am all that and the answer to every unspoken question, the comfort for every hurt, the companion who will walk beside him from now until the end of our lives, reveling in the bliss of each simple chore done in his name, overflowing with beauty because I am blessed to spend my life with my love.

My love, my love, my love. I could hear the words a thousand times and never grow tired of them. Not ever.

"Forever," I whisper into the hot skin at his neck, sighing as the last tie holding my dress to my body falls away.



Dying is easy. It's coming back that hurts like hell.

"Oh . . ." I press my hands to my forehead, where hot, tacky liquid pours from a cut above my eyebrow.

There is a lot of blood this time. Blood on my hands, smeared onto the dashboard, dripping through my fingers onto my jeans, leaving black spots I can see in the dim moonlight shining through the car's glass sunroof. It's messy, frightening, but, amazingly, the accident hasn't killed her. Killed me.

Me, now. Her, sometime again soon, depending on how long it takes to ensure the safety of the soul mates I've been sent to protect. Or how long it takes Romeo to convince one lover to sacrifice the other for the boon of eternal life.

It might not be long. He excels at his work.

Either way, Ariel Dragland will wear this shell again. Until then she'll wait in the realm where I've spent most of my eternity, in the mists of forgetting, that place outside of time where the gray stretches on forever.

I've been assured by my contact in the Ambassadors of Light that there are worse places, realms of torment where the boy who bartered our love for immortality will suffer someday. Nurse never uses the word hell, but I like to imagine that Romeo will number among hell's inhabitants. Of course, she never mentions heaven, either, or whether I might go there when my work is finished . . . if it is ever finished.

There are a lot of things Nurse sees fit not to mention. Including the exact workings of the magic that pulls me from the mist again and again, now more than thirty times in seven centuries. All I know is life comes suddenly. One moment I'm numb and bodiless, the next I'm slipping into another's skin, another's life—the ultimate, dreadful disguise.

I shiver as the memory of Ariel's last moments sweeps through me. I watch her snatch the wheel from the driver's hands before a deadly turn in the road and pull hard to the right, hoping the dive into the ravine will kill them both—her and the boy who hurt her. My eyes flick to the driver's seat. The boy—Dylan—slumps forward, the downward tilt of the car making his limp body curl around the wheel. He is still, not a puff of breath escaping his parted lips.

It seems one half of Ariel's wish has been granted.

I shiver again, but I can't say I'm sorry. I know what he did, can feel Ariel's shame and rage rush inside me as the rest of her life pours in to fill the empty corners in my mind.

Behind my eyes flash images from her eighteen years. I focus, sucking in every detail, taking her memories as my own.

Tiptoe, tiptoe, always on tiptoe. Up the stairs, across the kitchen, down the hall to the room where the crayons live and I can breathe. Where she isn't watching. My mother, with her sad, sad eyes.

Seven, ten, fifteen, eighteen years old and still there is nothing finer than a blank sheet of paper, the white promise that the world can be what I make it. A magical place, an adventurous place, a possible place. Erasers take away the mistakes. Another coat of paint to cover them up. Black and red and purple and blue. Always blue.

Mom sees in blue. She sees the scars she made. I was six. She sees Gemma, my one friend, as a mistake, not a lifeline. She sees my hours alone and feels more powerfully every hour she's wasted. I am the waste, the thing that's eaten her youth alive. Refused to cough up the bones.

Sometimes it seems all I have are bones, scraps, a frame with nothing to fill in the empty space. Sometimes I hate her for it, sometimes I hate myself, sometimes I hate everyone and everything and imagine the world melting the way the grease melted my skin.

Skin and bones. Mom and I are both so thin. Hugs hurt, but there aren't many. Not for years. There are surgeries and pain and bright lights and then days trapped in the house with the shades drawn on our shame. There is the darkness inside, that baleful intruder that comes just when I dare to believe I might one day be whole.

There is school and the misery of being a person unseen, the jealousy that I can't be wild and beautiful like Gemma, that I am always an audience, never a player. There is the frustration of words that won't come out of my mouth no matter how hard I try. A D in public speaking. The one step up to the podium is an impossible climb. Everest. Higher. I hate Mr. Stark for his frustrated sighs, hate the class for their muffled laughter. I want to hurt them, to show them how it feels to have your insides twisted into knots you can't unravel.

Gemma doesn't care, tells me to get over it, stops sharing her adventures, closes the window into her vibrant world, forgets to pick me up for school at least twice a week. I'm losing everything. My only friend, my perfect GPA, my mind. How much longer can I live like this? Can I make it four more years, sleeping in that room, commuting to the nursing college in Santa Barbara, learning to live with more sickness and pain, when all I want to do is escape?

But then . . . there is him. His smile, his voice singing so strong, cutting through the curtains where I hide with my paints, curling into my ear, spinning dreams I want to come true.

They don't.

It's a joke.

We're kissing—slow, perfect kisses that make my heart race—when the text comes, asking if he's taken the Freak's virginity yet. He tries to hide the phone, but I see it. I start to cry, even though I'm not sad. I'm angry, so angry. He offers me fifty dollars—a piece of the bet—if I let him have what he's come for. I explode. I try to run from the car, but he grabs my hand, squeezing as he pulls back onto the road, telling me to "chill the hell out," promising to take me to a better place.

But there is no better place. I know that by now. There are only mirrors reflecting disappointment, shattering it in a million different directions, filling the world until there is no way out. It will always be this way. Always, even when I finally leave the house on El Camino Road.

The road, the road is . . . impossible. I won't let him drive it a second longer. I won't let him steer through the hole in the mountain down to the beach, where the cold, dark ocean waits like a nightmare creeping. I won't let him.

Not now. Not ever again.

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