Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release date: April 26th 2012.
Paperback, 352 pages.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.
Rosaline has been best friends with Rob since they were little kids. Recently, something deeper and more electric has entered their friendship, and when Rob returns after the summer break and asks Rosaline on a sort-of date, it seems they are destined to become a couple, just as Rosaline always knew they would be. The next day at school, a mysterious, beautiful girl arrives: Rosaline's long-lost cousin, Juliet. And suddenly it looks as if Rosaline might be about to lose her best friend AND her new boyfriend…
A modern day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, Rebecca Serle’s When You Were Mine tells the story of Romeo’s first love, Rosaline. If you think Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is the greatest love story ever told, then this book might just make you think again!
Rob and Rosaline have been best friends forever, but lately, Rosaline has been seeing her friend in a different light, a light that makes him looks all kinds of cute, and makes her want to kiss him. When Rob walks back into Rose’s life after a summer spent apart, it’s clear that he feels the same way about her, and the two are soon on their way to becoming more than just good friends. Everything is falling into place. This is the way things are meant to be. Everybody, including Rose’s friends Charlie and Olivia have been rooting for her and Rob to get together for what seems like forever. And now it’s finally happening.
Then Rose’s cousin Juliet comes back to town. Rose hasn’t seen her for ten years, not since their dad’s fell out. Since then the families have been estranged, and it’s clear that when Juliet returns she doesn’t want to be friends with Rose. She just wants Rob, and nothing, not even the fact that he and Rose are together, or the fact that Rose is her cousin, will stop her from pursuing him.
A great addition to any contemporary fiction shelf, When You Were Mine is an addictive, fast-paced read filled with great characters and witty dialogue. All the initial heart-surging hope then crushing disappointment that comes with first love gone badly wrong is beautifully portrayed through the character of Rose, a girl who not only loses her boyfriend, but also her best friend when Juliet decides to steal him out from under her nose. Both Rob and Juliet are painted as the villains of the piece, although I have to say that Juliet was really the character I loved to hate here. Oh, she made me seethe at times! Rob is really no better. He treats Rose badly and is a weak character who fails time and time again to do the right thing by his former best friend.
Thankfully, while Rob lets Rose down badly, her girlfriends don’t. Charlie and Olivia couldn’t be more different, but they both stick with Rose through thick and thin – even when she tries to push them away. Charlie was the character I connected with most throughout the book. She’s got a tough exterior, but she’s the kind of girl who comes through for her friends no matter what. Charlie is the best kind of person to have around in life.
When You Were Mine is a revisionist Romeo and Juliet and so it doesn’t follow the famous play to a tee. It’s important for anyone who has pre-conceived notions of how Rosaline acted in the play and how she treated Romeo to remember this. This isn’t the Rosaline of the play. This Rose is very into Rob. He’s the thing she wants above all else, and Juliet takes him away from her. But it’s what happens next for Rosaline that’s really interesting…
Clever, witty and insightful, When You Were Mine is a great contemporary read and is firmly on my list of recent favourite reads. The movie rights have been snapped up too, and this is one I really can't wait to see on the big screen!