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Romeo and Juliet - Together (and Alive!) at Last

Romeo and Juliet - Together (and Alive!) at Last

5.0 1
by Avi

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Pete Saltz, the pudgy poet from S.O.R. Losers, has fallen hard for Anabell Stackpoole, and she likes him, too. But both are much too shy to do anything about it.

It's Pete's friend Ed Sitrow to the rescue, as he and other eighth-graders at South Orange River School cook up a scheme to give the budding romance a boost. The school production of Romeo and Juliet


Pete Saltz, the pudgy poet from S.O.R. Losers, has fallen hard for Anabell Stackpoole, and she likes him, too. But both are much too shy to do anything about it.

It's Pete's friend Ed Sitrow to the rescue, as he and other eighth-graders at South Orange River School cook up a scheme to give the budding romance a boost. The school production of Romeo and Juliet stars the bashful pair in the leading roles — and everybody's waiting for the kissing scenes. What they get is more action than Shakespeare ever imagined, in the funniest, most disastrous...and most romantically successful production ever!

Author Biography:

Ask Avi how you know when you're a real writer and his answer is simple: "I think you become a writer when you stop writing for yourself or your teachers and start thinking about readers." Avi made up his mind to do that when he was just a senior in high school.

Avi was born in 1937 in New York City and was raised in Brooklyn. Kids often ask him about his name. "My twin sister gave it to me when we were both about a year old. And it stuck." To this day, Avi is the only name the author uses.

As a kid, Avi says, he was "shy, not into sports, but someone who loved to read and play games of imagination." He did not consider himself a good student, though. "In elementary school I did well in science, but I was a poor writer. When I got to high school I failed all my courses. Then my folks put me in a small school that emphasized reading and writing." What made him want to become a writer? "Since writing was important to my family, friends and school, it was important to me. I wanted to prove that I could write. But it took years before I had a bookpublished."

Avi didn't start off as an author of children's books but as a playwright. It was only when he had children of his own that he started to write for young people.

When asked if writing is hard for him, Avi gives an unequivocal YES. "But," he goes on, "it's hard for everyone to write well. I have to rewrite over and over again, so on average it takes me a year to write a book." Where does he get his ideas? "Everybody has ideas. The vital question is: What do you do with them? My wife, a college teacher, uses her ideas to understand literature. My rock musician sons shape their ideas in to music. I take my ideas and turn them into stories."

Avi's advice for people who want to write: "I believe reading is the key to writing. the more you read, the better your writing can be." He adds, "Listen, and watch the world around you. Don't be satisfied with answers others give you. Don't assume that because everyone believes a thing, that it is right or wrong. Reason things out for yourself. Work to get answers on your own. Understand why you believe things. Finally, write what you honestly feel, then learn from the�criticism that will always come your way."Avi's many award-winning books for young readers include the Newbery Honor Books Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, as well as more Tales from Dimwood Forest, including Poppy, winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, Poppy and Rye, and Ragweed. His many other books include tales of mystery, fantasy, and historical fiction for young readers of all ages.In His Own Words...

When I was small, I was read to continually. My grandparents were always telling stories. Our house was filled with books. I saw adults read. Hardly a wonder, then, that I becane a early reader of all sorts of things — books for childern, comic books, science magazines, history books — anything in which I could fing a story. There was kids' radio too, which I adored. Even so, writing didn't interest me.

It was in my junior year of high school that a great crisis took place: My English teacher informed my parents that I was the worst student he ever had. That summer I was required to spend a lot os time with a family friend, a teacher, who tutored me in writing basics. She gave me something even more important: a reason for writing.

Writing, she taught me, was not just for myself or for some teacher. It was a way of sharing ideas and stories with many. With that notion in mind, I set out after that summer to be a writer, though it wasn't until I had childern of my own that I began to write for young people.

I believe that as a writer for kids, I have three basic options. The first is to write as well as I can. The second is to be honest. The third is to create a vision of possibility. It doesn't matter if that vision is happy or tragic, funny or serious. What does matter is that I show that life is worth living, that we must at least try to fulfill the promise of ourselves. As one of my characters once said, "A good childern's book of promises. And promises are ment to be kept."

I really enjoy meeting my readers. Each year I visit schools and classrooms, and talk to young readers, teachers, and librarians all over the country. We talk about books, the writing and reading of them, how books affect — even change — their readers. It's a good life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ed discovers that his best friend Saltz is nursing a secret love for Anabell Stackpoole and gets the rest of the other eighth graders to rewrite and produce their version of Romeo and Juliet. They wangle the leading roles for Saltz and Stackpoole, and let romance run its course. Avi's heart is in the right place; he devotes an entire book to the well-intentioned efforts of a group of good friends to bring a boy and girl together, but fans of his historical fiction may find this a light repast. The story strains credibility, but no matter; Avi proves that stories don't have to be believable to be fun. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 11-13. (September)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.77(w) x 8.61(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Pete Saltz and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember. At South Orange River Middle School, eighth grade, we sit, eat lunch, and do weekends together. If I'm not at his house, he's at mine. Close as a pair of crossed eyes. There isn't much I don't know about him. At least that's what I thought.

Turned out Saltz had a secret.

One nice warm spring day we were heading home from school, and Saltz wasn't saying much. Normally, he has the fastest mouth this side of Nervous Purvis, a local radio DJ we like to hear. And I had been talking about Albert Hamilton.

Hamilton is the worst kind of bully: he's great at almost everything — grades, sports, and if the girls tell me true, looks. People wouldn't mind except Hamilton makes sure you know it. The way he sees it, he's God's gift to himself.

As far as I know he has only one flaw: the guy is a pyromaniac. Fire fascinates him. Give him a barn fire, a matchbook, a firecracker, and he's in a world of his own.

I was talking about Hamilton's attempts to build bigger, better firecrackers in science lab when I realized Saltz hadn't said anything for five minutes. Then, when we reached his place, be just said, "See ya," and drifted toward his front door.

"Hey!" I called, only then sensing that things weren't right. "What's up? You mad at me?"

Saltz stopped. "You wouldn't understand," he said.

"What wouldn't I understand?"


"How can I not understand nothing? Do you understand?"

"No," he admitted.

"How about giving me a try," I coaxed. His hand was on the doorknob.

"It's just . His voice trailedoff.

"Hey, I'm your best friend, remember?"

After a moment he let go of the door. But he didn't say anything; he just sat down on his front steps.

"Mat," he said, "do you think of Anabell Stackpoole?"

"Stackpoole?" I said, surprised. She's a girl in our class.

"Yeah," he said, "Anabell Stackpoole." His facial expression reminded me of how my dog looks when we're about to go off for a day at the beach and he knows he's staying home.

"What about her?" I said.

"I...I like her."

"Since when?"

He thought hard. "Two days ago."

"What happened then?"'.

He shrugged. "Just...happened."

"She like you?"

He shook his head. "She doesn't even notice me."

"You try talking to her?"

Now his look suggested how stupid I was.

"Want me to talk to her?"

Panic crept into his eyes.

"Okay. What are you going to do about it?"

He struggled for an answer. What he came up with was "I wrote a poem about her."

I wasn't surprised. Saltz was our poet, a kind of local Shakespeare. "Can I see it?" I asked.

From out of his portable bag of junk he hauled a spiral notebook. The spiral was half off, like a worm desperately seeking air.

Finding a sheet of ruled paper with words set between the wrinkles, he handed it over. This is what he had written:

There once was a fair beauty named Anabell
For whom Pete Saltz, truly, in love fell.
But when he offered his heart,
She jumped up with a start,
And said, "I have to go now because I just
heard the end-of-the-class-bell."

I looked from Saltz to the poem, then back to him, until it fully hit me: Saltz was in love!

Meet the Author

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

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Romeo and Juliet - Together (and Alive!) at Last 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really was disapointed because I thought it would be the REAL Romeo and Juliet, not a bunch of kids putting on a play for their friends who like each other. When I found this out I really didn't want to read this book, but when I did finish it I was surprised on how good it was getting. So when I was finished I really did enjoy it. This really was one of those books that u really cant judge by it's cover.