When You Were Mine

When You Were Mine

by Sarah Grace, Rebecca Serle

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An intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told—narrated by the girl Romeo was supposed to love.

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


An intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told—narrated by the girl Romeo was supposed to love.

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 stand a chance.

Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
History forgot Rosaline, the girl Romeo loved before Juliet, and the clever premise of this underdeveloped but still satisfying romance is an updated imagining of Rosaline's story. Rose Caplet lives next door to Rob Montag, her male best friend who becomes something more as they begin senior year at their posh Southern California private school. But then Rose's estranged cousin, Juliet, and her family move back to town, and Rob is instantly smitten. The cousins were close before their families had a falling out for reasons Rose later discovers, and Rose is devastated by Juliet's betrayal. Serle's debut mirrors the plotting of the original play, but events are filtered through Rose's perspective, with Rob and Juliet kept at a distance. Tapping into familiar Shakespearian devices, Serle places Rob and Juliet in a school production of Macbeth; Rose's role as a stagehand enables her to eavesdrop on their stormy interactions. Though Rob and Juliet are disappointingly one-dimensional, Rose's pain and growth feel legitimate, and her love interest, Len, is distinctive. But it's Rose's longtime friendship with girlfriends Charlie and Olivia that form the heart of the story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (May)
From the Publisher
"By turns heart-stoppingly romantic and heart-poundingly exciting, When You Were Mine is a book you'll want to make yours." --Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus, bestselling authors of The Nanny Diaries

“I swooned. I cried. I loved, loved, loved this delicious novel.” –Sarah Mlynowski, author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) and Gimme a Call

“A powerful story about the thrill of first love and the devastation of first heartbreak.” –Leila Sales, author of Mostly Good Girls and Past Perfect

“I cried, I swooned, I pumped my fist in triumph! When You Were Mine is as heartbreaking as it is inspiring, with enough sizzling romance and compelling drama to make Shakespeare jealous.” –Sarah (aka Poshdeluxe), founder of Forever Young Adult

“A sweet, fun, and utterly irresistible read." –Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist

“A whirlwind of drama, intrigue, political scandal, and romance worthy of the Bard himself. Serle infuses plenty of realism and heart into her tale….She has made such an appealing character that the story goes from being another retelling of R&J to Rosaline’s story, told at long last.” --VOYA

“This emotionally authentic debut novel about a fragile first love keeps the pages turning….Serle gets the nuances just right. The optimism of new love, the concerned friends after Rose’s heartbreak and the dynamics of a triangle—not just the love triangle between Rose, Rob and Juliet, but also the triangle of female best friends.” --Shelf Awareness

VOYA - Matthew Weaver
Before Romeo ever set eyes on Juliet, he was hopelessly devoted to Rosaline. When You Were Mine casts Shakespeare's unseen figure as our modern-day heroine, finding the initial stirrings of romance with longtime childhood friend, Rob, as summer ends and high school starts. But Rosaline's long-lost cousin, Juliet, turns up in town carrying secrets galore and immediately makes a play for Rob. Before long, Ros is watching from the sidelines and wondering just which couple is truly star crossed. Fortunately, she is bolstered by an appealing pair of best friends, Charlie and Olivia, who have their own high school imbroglios to keep them busy. It is a whirlwind of drama, intrigue, political scandal, and romance worthy of the Bard himself. Serle infuses plenty of realism and heart into her tale. While Rob and Juliet are wrapped up in each other, we grow to genuinely like the characters, particularly Ros and the boy she used to share piano lessons with, Len. It is hard not to root for a guy who knows a girl's favorite flower, especially as he is coaxing her through heartbreak. What would it have been like to watch Romeo and Juliet's doomed relationship unfold? Serle shows us, but she has made such an appealing character that the story goes from being another retelling of R&J to Rosaline's story, told at long last. Reviewer: Matthew Weaver
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 8 Up—Serle's modern-day retelling (Simon Pulse, 2012) of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is told from the perspective of the slighted Rosaline. Rosaline and Rob have been best friends since childhood and are finally pursuing a romantic relationship. As things start to fall into place for the couple, Juliet moves back to town and manipulates her way into Rob's heart. Juliet is portrayed as needy and broken, but her motives are underdeveloped and, therefore, not believable. While this is an interesting twist on the classic love story, those drawn to this plot may be dissuaded by the slow narrative arch. The story moves towards the climax with sometimes unnecessary detail to the mundane. Sarah Grace does a solid job of portraying Rosaline, but some characters come across as trite and annoying. Teens may be drawn to this title because a film version is in the works. However, there are better retellings available, such as Juliet Immortal (Delacorte, 2011) by Stacey Jay and Letters to Juliet (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2006) by Lise Ceil Friedman.—Rebecca Flannery, Lyman Memorial High School, Lebanon, CT
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—"Shakespeare got it wrong," or so claims Rosaline in this Malibu-Barbie reworking of Romeo and Juliet. Rosaline's estranged cousin, stunning Juliet Caplet, moves back to upscale San Bellaro, captivating Rose's lifelong pal and just-new boyfriend and revealing scandals at the heart of their families' longstanding feud. In the process, readers meet Rosaline's rather vapid best friends, witness the school misfit's steadfastness, and see firsthand how their soap-opera lives intersect. Using the play's five-act structure (with added epilogue), the author borrows just enough plot details from the Bard's original to allow readers to make connections. However, in her attempt to modernize the classic tragedy, Serle serves up stereotypes often associated with the California lifestyle: parental affairs, drunkenness, casual sex, and vulgar language. When coupled with Rob and Juliet's car plunging over a seaside cliff, readers are left with only TV melodrama and without Shakespeare's brilliant poetry. While the protagonist does change as the story unfolds in Serle's well-paced scenes, the book is too predictable to warrant much fanfare, and libraries would better serve their readers by promoting Lisa Klein's Ophelia (Bloomsbury, 2006) and Caroline B. Cooney's Enter Three Witches (Scholastic, 2007). In this incarnation, it wasn't Shakespeare but Serle who, sadly, "got it wrong."—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, The Naples Players, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Romeo and Juliet is recast as a love triangle set at a tony Southern California private school. Rosaline the narrator points out in the prologue that "before Juliet ever came into the picture," there was Rosaline, whom Romeo had initially gone to the ill-fated party to see. "Romeo didn't belong with Juliet; he belonged with me." Here Romeo is Rob Monteg, the boy next door, and now, at the beginning of senior year, Rose Caplet hopes her oldest, best friend may be on his way to becoming her boyfriend. It seems, well, fated--but then her cousin Juliet, daughter of her estranged uncle and aunt, moves back to town and captivates Rob. Serle gives Rose two staunch, beautiful, rich, label-conscious friends, with whom she sits at the top of the high-school food chain. She also gives Rose an antagonist, class outcast Len, who, predictably, becomes more and more attractive as the year progresses and Rob and Juliet play tongue-hockey in public. Readers who try to draw correspondences with the play will find themselves frustrated; is Len Mercutio? Tybalt? They will also find the tawdry truth behind the Caplet-Monteg feud unconvincing. There might have been an interesting story about friendship under here, but it was buried by the high-concept superstructure. Take an archetypal story out of Renaissance Verona and couch it in relentlessly ordinary present-tense prose, and all that's left is banal chick lit. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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Read an Excerpt

When You Were Mine


Shakespeare got it wrong. His most famous work, and he completely missed the mark. You know the one I’m talking about. Star-crossed lovers. Ill-fated romance. Torn apart by family and circumstance. It’s the perfect love story. To have someone who loves you so much they would actually die for you.

But the thing people never remember about Romeo and Juliet is that it’s not a love story; it’s a drama. In fact, Romeo and Juliet isn’t even the original title of the play. It was called The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. Tragedy. Everyone dies for this love that, in my opinion, wasn’t all that solid from the get-go. I mean, their families hated each other, so even if they did survive, every holiday and birthday until the end of time would be a royal pain. Not to mention that they had absolutely no friends in common, so forget double dates. No, it would be Romeo and Juliet all alone, forever. And maybe that seems romantic at fourteen, or whatever, but it’s totally not realistic. I mean, I can’t think of a less romantic ending to a story. And the truth is, it wasn’t supposed to end that way.

If you read closely, you’ll realize that there was someone before Juliet ever came into the picture. Someone who Romeo loved very much. Her name was Rosaline. And Romeo went to the party that first night, the night everything began, to see her. Everyone always thinks Romeo and Juliet were so helpless to fate, that they were at the mercy of their love for each other. Not true. Juliet wasn’t some sweet, innocent girl torn apart by destiny. She knew exactly what she was doing. The problem was, Shakespeare didn’t. Romeo didn’t belong with Juliet; he belonged with me. It was supposed to be us together forever, and it would have been if she hadn’t come along and stolen him away. Maybe then all of this could have been avoided. Maybe then they’d still be alive.

What if the greatest love story ever told was the wrong one?

Meet the Author

Rebecca Serle is a full-time writer, which means she gets to wear pajamas to work. She went to the University of Southern California, then got her MFA from the New School in NYC. (She likes New York much more than LA, but don’t tell anyone that.) Rebecca loves shiny hair, coffee, yoga, and pretending to be British. She, too, experienced heartbreak once. It worked out okay, though, because she turned the experience into this book. When You Were Mine is her first novel. Find out more at rebeccaserle.com.

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