This Must Be Love: Based on A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare by Tui T. Sutherland, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
This Must Be Love: Based on A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

This Must Be Love: Based on A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

by Tui T. Sutherland

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HERMIA: the perfect would-be Juliet in Athenwood High's upcoming spring production. Ok, maybe her only roles thus far have been trees — but this future star is ready to break out and wow the world! They wouldn't even think about giving the part to her more obviously Juliet-like best friend ...

HELENA: a believer in true love. She's prepared to wait


HERMIA: the perfect would-be Juliet in Athenwood High's upcoming spring production. Ok, maybe her only roles thus far have been trees — but this future star is ready to break out and wow the world! They wouldn't even think about giving the part to her more obviously Juliet-like best friend ...

HELENA: a believer in true love. She's prepared to wait as long as it takes for her perfect soul mate. But with the limited Romeo selection at Athenwood High School, she thinks she might have to wait forever — until she meets ...

DMITRI: the new guy. He's sultry, he's mysterious, and he's trying out for the lead in the school play. Helena is sure it's fate, Hermia thinks something's fishy, but the only one who knows the truth about him is ...

ALEX: Hermia's best-friend-turned-secret-love-interest. He's smart, he's adorable, and, like a typical guy, he's absolutely clueless that Hermia is head-over-heels crushing on him! Or is he?

The stage is set for mayhem, magic, and misunderstandings. It might be hilarious, it may be crazy, but in the end, it must be love!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Based on A Midsummer Night's Dream, Sutherland's (Meet Mo and Ella) first YA novel is told through the notes, e-mail exchanges and instant messages of best friends Hermia and Helena, plus their own diary entries and narration. Hermia, whom Helena describes in her diary as a "hyperactive people person," loves Alex, while "silly soulful" Helena (in Hermia's words) considers Dmitri-a striking but pompous new student-her soul mate. Alex invites Hermia to The Faeries' Quarrel, a hot new interactive play, and Helena begins writing dreadful love poems to Dmitri. But a long-standing rivalry between the guys leads to misunderstandings. It takes a fairy queen (or the actress playing her) to remedy the situation. The author pens fun touches: both girls are shocked when the drama teacher decides on an all-male Romeo and Juliet (as are the football players cast), and at The Faeries' Quarrel, Hermia sings a karaoke love song to Alex in front of the audience. Even the epilogue features a hilarious review of Romeo and Juliet from the school paper. Helena's overwrought personality is hard to handle (of Dmitri she writes, "Our fates are linked together like... like rays of moonlight pouring in silver silken silence over dappled forest glades"); readers might wonder what feisty Hermia sees in her. Ultimately, clever touches and an encouraging message about taking control of one's destiny make this entertaining, if not magical. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Bringing Shakespeare to a modern suburban New Jersey high school, Sutherland tells her story through e-mails, notes passed between classes, diaries, poems, and short plays. The players: Helena and Hermia, best of friends; Dimitri and Alex, love interests of the two girls; and a cast of extras including the football team, overbearing fathers, and teachers. The plot follows A Midsummer Night's Dream, with the two girls becoming involved in a play within a play, happy accidents forcing love interests, and betrayals all around. Very Shakespearean in plot design, the book is all modern in dialogue and setting. The plot: Helena and Hermia are both in love with boys who do not seem to catch on. The girls are involved in a high-school production of Romeo and Juliet, which Hermia longs to star in. The drama teacher decides to make the production an all-male cast, crushing Hermia's chances. Meanwhile, her friend (and love interest) Alex has bought tickets for an interactive theater piece in New York City, one of her dreams come true. Her father forbids her to go, so she sneaks out. Dimitri, Helena's love interest, has become infatuated with Hermia, and to win his attentions, Helena tells him where her friend has gone. Many twists and turns (and a few surprises) lead the girls into their true love's arms, and all's well that ends well. This is a fun novel with interesting characters and a variety of writing styles that will strongly appeal to romance fans and drama enthusiasts.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Shakespeare's tangled love romp, A Midsummer Night's Dream is fodder yet again for a contemporary retelling, this time set in a typical American high school preparing for a staging of Romeo and Juliet. The comical all-male production stars the bumbling football team and leaves best friends Helena and Hermia unhappily un-cast. Instead, the girls spend every waking moment crushing on bad boy Dmitri and nice guy Alexander in a seemingly endless series of alternating soliloquies in the form of emails, IMs, passed notes, and diary entries. The obsessive nature of the two protagonists and their gushing girl-speak is spot-on authentic. The ping-ponging format and awkwardly shifting POV, however, makes the story wearisome and confusing as it tries too hard to playfully salute the original in aggressively modern terms. (Fiction. 12-16)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Ages 12 up
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

This Must Be Love

This Must Be Love

Dramatis Personae

HERMIA JACKSON, Helena's best friend, in love with Alex

HELENA NAPLES, Hermia's best friend, in love with Dmitri

ALEXANDER SANDERS, Hermia's best guyfriend — and secret crush

DMITRI GILBERT, the (cute!) new guy

POLLY MASON, Athenwood High School Theater Technical Director and art teacher

THEO DUKE, Athenwood High School Theater Artistic Director and English teacher

ED JACKSON, father to Hermia

NICK WEAVER, the football team's starquarterback

PETER QUINCEY, Hermia's ex-boyfriend anda football player

LEO SUNG, a football player

FRANK FLUTIE, a football player

TOM O'KINTER, a football player

ROB TAYLOR, a football player

AARON REX, Broadway's hottest male star

TANYA MOON, Broadway's hottest female star

ROBIN, a key player in The Faeries' Quarrel

Other actors in The Faeries' Quarrel

Students at Athenwood High School

SCENES: Athenwood, New JerseyCentral Park, New York City


This Thursday, 3 p.m.

Come audition for one of Shakespeare's greatest plays:


Athenwood High School's Spring Production!

Football Players Strongly Encouraged!

• We'll work around your athletic schedule! •
• Plenty of parts that are short and easy to memorize! •
• Possibly some sword fighting involved! •
• Impress your friends! •
• Fulfills TWO elective requirements! •

For more information or copies of the script,see Mr. Duke in thetheater after school.

* Technical assistants also required; please contactMs. Mason in the art department if interested.

Hi Helena!

Period 2 geometry: BOOOOOOORING!

Wish you were here! Too bad you have to be all smart and stuff. ;)

Did you see Mr. Duke's sign? Hello, could you be more desperate? I know we need boys to try out, but football players? Is he serious? And who's going to react well to a sign like that? He has such a talent for insulting people right when he's trying to get something out of them. Remember when he wanted me to run that spotlight from inside the tower set in last year's "Spring Production!"? And he was like, "Hermia, I think you'd be really perfect for this job," and I was like, "Really? Me? Why?" and he said, "Well, your experience with the lights and talent for following the actors . . ." and I was like, "Wow, gee, thanks, Mr. Duke, I had no idea you'd noticed tha — " and he was like, "plus you're the only one short enough to fit in the crawl space. And remember [finger wag] I said to call me Theo!"

I mean REALLY. Yes, I'm short; do we have to bring it up all the time? I was nearly offended enough to say no, but then Polly asked me to do it, and she's the coolest teacher in the universe. (If my brilliant acting career somehow goes awry and I end up as an art teacher, I too shall wear overalls to school and carry a wrench wherever I go!)

Football players! *hee hee hee*

Ok, Mister Cranky is doing that suspicious-glare thing, so I better look more attentive. Oooh! Polygons! Does it get any more fascinating than this?

Let's see if I can remember how to fold this note in that elaborate way you showed me . . .


Dearest Hermia,

Well, it was a noble paper-folding effort, to be sure, although the end result is a little more pretzel-y than I think our dignified ancestors of yore would have intended. And if you're goingto surreptitiously slip me a note in the hall, it might help the stealth aspect if you refrained from going "PSSST! HELENA! INCOMING!" as you fling it at me. But after all, living on the edge is what we do, right? We have to make our own danger, here in the riveting suburbs of New Jersey . . .

Anyway, yes, I did see the sign. It's quite appalling — Theo might possibly be the least subtle man in existence, I think. But seriously, what are the chances of any of those boys wanting to do theater — much less Shakespeare! It could only be worse if it were a musical. At least if they do audition, there's no chance he'll be casting any of them in big parts. Not after he actually gets to see them "act"! I'm sure he just wants to swell the ranks of the attendants at the court and in the sword-fighting scenes. Last year's almost all-girl production was a little embarrassing.

Maybe this will finally be your year! I mean, now that we're juniors, I think Theo should start casting you in the bigger roles. It's quite absurd that he hasn't noticed your shining talent yet. So maybe you'll get to be Juliet, and I can retire gracefully to the dressing room and spend my time designing costumes, which anyone can clearly see I am better suited for than these starring roles he keeps forcing me into. I would stop auditioning, really I would, but Shakespeare — it's too hard to resist! Besides, I seriously doubt he'll give me another lead. You'd be perfect for Juliet, anyway . . . I mean, with the right costume, I'm certain you could look elegant and noble.

I wonder if the new boy will audition. Did you see him? I only caught a glimpse of him . . . the principal brought him into my AP English class second period and introduced him, but then he got called down to the office again, perchance to fill out forms or something. He's a little insanely gorgeous. And check out the exotic, princely name: Dmitri! Isn't that splendid? Dmitri and Helena. I wonder if he is the soul mate I've been waiting for . . .

Anyway, back to the fascinating dates and names of American history — see you at lunch!

Yours most yawnfully,

This Must Be Love. Copyright (c) by Tui Sutherland . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland are sisters and best friends, and if you can't tell by looking at them which one is older, Tui certainly isn't going to tell you. They grew up in South America, traveling a lot and moving several times (and they're still only about 80 percent certain that their parents weren't secret agents). Kari now lives in New Jersey, while Tui lives in Boston, but they use every excuse they can to see each other (like, say, writing a book together).

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