Selfors (To Catch a Mermaid) injects an angst-ridden 17-year-old Manhattan actress into Shakespeare's star-crossed romance, yielding hilarious and often very clever results. Mimi loathes her role as Juliet, but she feels pressured to continue acting in order to save her family's theater. When she is magically transported into Shakespeare's play, she instantly connects with Juliet, who is being pressured to marry Paris to save her family's name, and she becomes determined to give Juliet a "happy ending." There are plenty of twists as Mimi meddles with Shakespeare's characters (she begins a romance with smooth-talking Benvolio, for example). The author even plays off traditional plot points, providing original versions of the infamous balcony scene and the potion that mimics death. Readers will have fun with the characters, from a womanizing teen heartthrob who inadvertently travels back with Mimi (and reworks a pop song with Mercutio) to a spirited Juliet, who starts a rumor about a boil on her bottom to try to discourage Paris. Mimi herself is an honest, savvy narrator; she relates much of Shakespeare's plot to readers, and occasionally addresses them directly (e.g., "Turn the page for the grand finale"). The book ends a bit quickly, but after so much drama, readers will welcome the neat, happy conclusion. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Mimi Wallingford is a high school senior living under the burden of a family legacy-she is the great-granddaughter of Adelaide Wallingford, matriarch of an acting dynasty. Mimi wants to move in other directions, but her mother insists that Mimi persist in carrying on the family tradition and keep their eponymous theater afloat. Mimi is so stressed out that she has begun having panic attacks, impeding her ability to perform the title role in their theater's current run of Romeo and Juliet. It is during one of these panic attacks that Mimi is magically transported to sixteenth century Verona, into the midst of the Capulet/Montague feud, and takes it upon herself to free Juliet from her horrible mother and her forced wedding to Paris. Also transported is Mimi's loathsome leading man, a teen pop idol. Romance and suspense ensue, and all's well that ends well, both for Mimi's life and for Juliet's. Selfors combines a number of successful conventions of young adult literature-controlling mothers, arrogant boy with a heart of gold-to end up with a fun romp. The ending is a little pat-Mimi's mother comes around way too suddenly-but it will certainly satisfy readers. The book will appeal to fans of historical fiction, time travel, adventure, and love stories. It also spans a large age range; "twelve and up" really does apply here. The clever cover will make this one jump off displays, and it will be easy to booktalk. Reviewer: Alice F. Stern
Gr 8 Up- Mimi Wallingford's famous theater family includes a renowned Shakespearean actress. The teen herself has performed since the age of three, and is constantly reminded by her mother that the family's reputation (and the financial stability of the Wallingford Theater) rests upon her shoulders. Mimi, however, would rather major in pre-med at UCLA than study acting. When she is cast as Juliet opposite teen-idol Troy's Romeo, the two are transported to medieval Verona via a magical Shakespeare charm where they meet the real Juliet, an unpretentious, freckle-faced girl of 13. As Mimi begins to see the parallels between the situation with her mother and Juliet's being pressured by Lady Capulet to marry Paris and save the family's fortunes, she resolves to help Juliet escape. Troy and Mimi get involved in a series of misadventures as she attempts to give Romeo and Juliet a happy ending and return to Manhattan. The book's premise has considerable potential, but it is not entirely realized in the uneasy mix of chick-lit humor and Shakespeare's story. Mimi's present-day situation is not believable, and her controlling mother is too exaggerated a character. However, the humor and the attractive cover might win this title some fans, so this would be worth purchasing where Shakespearean adaptations such as Tui T. Sutherland's This Must Be Love (HarperCollins, 2004) have been popular.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
What at first seems to be another you-don't-really-want-to-be-a-star plot breaks out into an almost-historical, almost time-travel fantasy surrounding Romeo and Juliet. Mimi doesn't want to be the scion of her acting family, propping up their fabled New York theater. She runs from her last performance as Juliet and finds herself in an odd version of 1594 Verona, accompanied by her insufferable pop-star leading man, Troy. Selfors uses the fantasy to illustrate the backstory to Romeo and Juliet, complete with feuding families and the filth of the times. Mimi decides to save Juliet from her fate, but her interference in Shakespeare's plot causes unexpected events and plenty of real danger for both Mimi and Troy. Most of the characters from the original appear, allowing Selfors to introduce her audience to the play, much like Caroline Cooney did for Macbeth with Enter Three Witches (2007). Absorbing, exciting and useful for teachers, too. (Fiction. YA)
“*Starred Review* Selfors injects an angst-ridden 17-year-old Manhattan actress into Shakespeare's star-crossed romance, yielding hilarious and often very clever results. . . There are plenty of twists as Mimi meddles with Shakespeare's characters (she begins a romance with smooth-talking Benvolio, for example). The author even plays off traditional plot points, providing original versions of the infamous balcony scene and the potion that mimics death. Readers will have fun with the characters.” Publishers Weekly