Dateline: Hampstead, London, 1851
We are all familiar with Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. We also remember the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues. Finally, I’d be willing to bet that many of you know the Bard’s famous play was set in Verona, Italy. However, here are a few facts that might surprise you. Shakespeare’s telling was the culmination of several previous versions by various other authors. The original lovers were Giuletta Tolomei and Romeo Marescotti. There was, indeed, bad blood between the families, and the tale was set in Siena, not Verona. In a new telling, Anne Fortier’s Juliet alternates between a 20th-century pairing of Guiletta and Romeo and their 15th-century alter egos.
Julie Jacobs’ father perishes in an unexplained fire. Two years later, her mother dies in a suspicious auto accident. Fearing harm to toddler Julie and her twin sister Janice, their Aunt Rose whisks the children from Italy to the United States. Together with her live-in assistant Umberto, she raises the girls but for years avoids discussing anything related to the twins’ parents and their untimely demise.
Jem stays away from people. She is a loner and she likes it that way. Then she meets Spider one day under a bridge in London. As much as she tries, he won't leave her alone. She rarely makes eye contact with people and for good reason. When Jem looks into people's eyes she can see the day they are going to die. She looks into Spider's eyes. This is the basis for the story Numbers by Rachel Ward (audiobook version).
Despite Jem's efforts, she and Spider form a friendship, which eventually evolves into something more when they decide to run away together. This happens after a trip to the London Eye. Jem looks into the eyes of the people waiting in line to board the attraction and she realizes that they all have the same death date...that very day. Jem suddenly realizes that something catastrophic is going to happen and that she and Spider have to get away immediately. While they are running away a tragic event occurs. Jem and Spider are safe...but are they? The surveillance cameras capture their escape and suddenly they are wanted by authorities for questioning. Jem and Spider steal a car and head west across England. As they continue to outrun the authorities, their relationship grows.
Fast paced and gritty ...this audio will keep you on the edge of your seat. The reader is adept at the various accents found throughout England. The story is touching and engaging. Jem and Spider provide such compelling characters that you can't help rooting for them.
The ending was stunning and completey unexpected...at least by me!!!
This is Week 10 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is a page-turning story of star-crossed teenage love with a Southern gothic twist and a side of magic.
In the town of Gatlin, South Carolina, everyone knows everybody's business and nothing exciting ever happens, unless you count the annual re-enactment of a local Civil War battle. Unbeknownst to the residents of Gatlin (at least most residents) beneath the thick Southern accents and Spanish moss lurks a whole other magical world, one of hidden underground libraries, voodoo and deadly family curses.
Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate bridge the gap between these two worlds - two worlds that were never meant to meet.