Thursday, 26 April 2012

Book Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle.

Product details:
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release date:  April 26th 2012.
Paperback, 352 pages.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
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!


  1. EEEEEE LEANNA! I got a copy of the book today and I was a bit worried since I've been reading some mixed reviews on this book but your review made me so ecstatic to read it! I am really interested with how the story relates to Romeo & Juliet!

    Awesome awesome awesome review, Leanna! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 09:38

     Thanks, Celine!! I really loved it - hope you do too! :)

  3. Vivienne_dacosta26 April 2012 at 13:29

    Lovely to see you back Leanna! You have been missed. Fab review as always. 

  4. This is a new-to-me book and sounds fantastic. I love the idea of a modern retelling of R&J while focusing in on Rosaline. I always felt badly for her... What a brilliant idea!  It also sounds like a fun summer read. Thanks for the great review!

  5. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 14:20

     I think you would love this one!! There is a Galley Grab link for it. I think it'll expire soon, but you could try it!


  6. EEEEP. I got this book maybe a month ago and it's been so hard to pull away from this book, but YOUR REVIEW MAKES ME WANT TO READ IT SO BAD. Actually, I think I am going to read it now. SCREW it.

  7. This book is just amazing. Trying to convince English Dept that it is a fabulous addition to class to read alongside Romeo & Juliet. It will make the whole story far more relatable for the teens :D 

  8. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 16:15

     Yeah! Go read it and tell me what you think! I hope you love it!

  9. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 16:22

    I'd be interested to see if they'd go for it.  I think this is a great contemp YA but since it doesn't follow Romeo and Juliet to a tee I'm wondering if your plan will work with the department. It would certainly make the play more easy to relate to for today's teens but then there might be a slight worry that come exam time everyone would start writing about Juliet, the skank that stole Rob from Rosalie. lol!

    I loved Shakespeare in school, but then I also remember that I relied on SparkNotes to explain a lot of it to me at first! :D

  10. Ooooooo this sounds AWESOME! I've never heard of it before, thanks so much for such a thorough review Leanna! I love that we get a different take on the Romeo & Juliet story and from the perspective of a different character as well. So excited to read this!

  11. It would be so funny if they wrote that :D 
    I am really looking into making Classics more accessible for the pupils. Would you like to take part in Aug?

  12. Hm, this is certainly a different retelling of Romeo and Juliet! I don't really see R&J as a romantic love story but the way the book seems to portray them is...interesting. Although I don't know about the book itself, your review is fantastic. :) I would be curious to see a film version of this! 

  13. forloveandbooks26 April 2012 at 17:09

    This sounds like a really interesting one! I love that it focuses on Rosaline - which I've found a lot of people don't even realize existed! They just brush past that apparently *lol* (Or perhaps they just skimmed R&J in high school and don't really remember her?) 

    Either way? I love it! I always felt bad for Rosaline, and I'm excited to read this one! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  14. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 18:07

     What's happening in August? Drop me an email - I'll help if I can! x

  15. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 18:08

     It's such a good contemp. Can't wait to see what you think, Jenny!

  16. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 18:09

     The way the book portrays them, especially Juliet is very interesting. I was hating on her!! I can't wait to see it on the big screen!

  17. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 18:10

     Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I think a lot of people do forget about Rosaline but the good thing about this is that it can be read as a straightforward contemp - even if readers don't really know the story in great detail. :)

  18. Ahhhh Leanna! I really want this book and now Ive read your review I want it MORE. I want it NOW!  Rose sounds like an awesome character and I think I'd love to hate Juliet too. Not a huge fan of all these retellings, think they're a bit lazy but I like that this one doesn't really follow the plot

  19. daisychainbooks26 April 2012 at 21:25

     I'm not a fan of re-tellings either usually. Loved this though! :)

  20. Heather@The Flyleaf Review26 April 2012 at 21:59

    Yay, you're back:) I have been fascinated by the premise of this book since I first heard about it a few months back. To tell you the truth it's been a while since I read the play (like high school) so I don't quite remember Rosaline's character, but I just think its so cool that someone chose to write a book from this angle! (Kinda like the upcoming Tiger Lily written from the princess's pov:) Great review, can't wait to read it!

  21. Ooh this one sounds great! I'm really glad Rose has friends to support her -  it's nice to have people to rely on to look out for you! Haven't even read it yet but I can already tell a film version of this book could be potentially excellent. Great review, glad you enjoyed the book so much! :)

  22. Ooh, love your review Leanna. Juliet sounds like the kind of character I wouldn't think twice about strangling.  I love the fact that this is a take on R&J. I know it doesn't follow the book to a tee, but I'm sure that after reading this, many readers may possibly be interested in reading the original classic. I can't wait to read this one!

  23. You got this? You lucky thing... I loved the idea of it, but had no idea if Rebecca would make it work. Shame about Rob, but it still looks really good. Great review!

  24. Sounds like a sweet and romantic book. Super pretty cover! rights on YA are definitely being picked up like crazy. It seems every YA book that comes out already has been optioned.

  25. After receiving a copy last week and now reading my first review for this book.... you have me wanting to go jump in right now! It really sounds like the author brought out the emotions brilliantly and I just love the idea behind it. Although I'll make sure not to picture Rob looking anything remotely like Leonardio DiCaprio, because I want nothing to taint my love of that boy in his R&J/Titanic days ;D

    FANTASTIC review! Thanks for making me excited!

  26. Im hearing so many good things about this one! I cant wait to get my hands on a copy!! 

  27. daisychainbooks3 May 2012 at 22:08

     I know! It does seem like that lately! I think this one would make an awesome movie!!

  28. daisychainbooks3 May 2012 at 22:09

     Yay! Glad I got you excited for it!! :)

  29. I've been hearing some mixed things about this one, so I'm really glad that I have a copy so that I can read it soon and make up my mind. It sounds like it'd be a good one though.. 


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