December 16, 2021

#BookReview: Roman and Jewel by @danaldavis

Synopsis: If Romeo and Juliet got the Hamilton treatment...who would play the leads? This is the story of a girl who thinks she has what it takes...and the world thinks so, too.

Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway's hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead...and Jerzie is her understudy.

Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea--especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself. Star-crossed love always ends badly. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.


Rating: 4 Stars
My Review:  
I loved this retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Dana Davis did a brilliant job of making a classic tale modern and relatable. I instantly fell in love with the characters even the ones we're supposed to hate. Jerzie Jhames is an aspiring Broadway star who goes for the role of her dreams to star in a Broadway retelling of Romeo and Juliet only to be cast as un understudy instead of the lead. She's devastated to find out she lost the role to pop star Cinny simply because of her fame, not talent. Head head high she walks into rehearsal and has a chance meeting with Romeo himself, Zeppelin. Could this be live at first sight? Are they the reincarnation of Romeo and Juliet? I loved the drama behind the scenes of the production and cried along with Jerzie through her heartbreak. (And cheered for her during the cat fight). This was one of those books that I just couldn't put down and read in one sitting. The HEA ending felt like a perfect way to end the story, I just wish we could have seen a tiny bit more of Zeppelin and his family working on their healing. I can't wait to read more from this author. 

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—Jerzie Jhames may be a new name on the Broadway scene, but she is a shoo-in for the lead role of Jewel in Robert Christian Ruiz's new Romeo and Juliet—inspired hip hopera. Unfortunately, megastar Cinny is cast instead as a means to garner interest in the musical from her widespread fanbase. Jerzie is relegated to the sidelines, cast as Cinny's standby despite being a better fit for Jewel. On her first day working with the cast, Jerzie falls instantly for Zeppelin, the gorgeous, mysterious guy who plays Roman. It seems like Zeppelin reciprocates her feelings—but then why do Cinny and Lorin, another cast member, each seem to be dating Zeppelin? And who is this Ava person that Jerzie keeps hearing about? Jerzie and Zeppelin's love story mirrors Romeo and Juliet in over-the-top, obvious ways: Jerzie's family forbids her from seeing him, Zeppelin comes to woo her via her balcony, and a climactic scene involves a suspected suicide attempt. Also overt is Ruiz's similarity to a real-life three-named Latino composer who brought hip hop to Broadway, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Jerzie's Aunt Karla and brother Judas are refreshingly realistic characters in this otherwise clumsy romance novel, rife with generic archetypal characterizations. Supporting characters are diverse with LGBTQ+ representation; Jerzie is Black and Zeppelin is white and Italian American. VERDICT Broadway lovers and musicians may enjoy the references to popular musicals and details about music composition. An additional purchase for libraries seeking to expand their romance offerings.—Shira Pilarski, formerly at Farmington Community Lib., MI


“An entirely showstopping story of star-crossed love on the modern stage.”—Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, authors of If I’m Being Honest

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