Sunday, December 24, 2023

#BookReview: Teach the Torches to Burn (Remixed Classics, #7) by @MikalebRoehrig

Synopsis: In Teach the Torches to Burn, a breathlessly romantic remix of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet and seventh book in the Remixed Classics series, a queer teen boy discovers first love amid a bloody, centuries-old feud.

Verona, Italy. Seventeen-year-old aspiring artist Romeo dreams of a quiet life with someone who loves him just as he is. But as the heir to the Montague family, he is expected to give up his womanly artistic pursuits and uphold the family honor--particularly in their centuries-old blood feud with a rival family, the Capulets. Worse still, he is also expected to marry a well-bred girl approved by his parents and produce heirs. But the more Romeo is forced to mingle with eligible maidens, the harder it is to keep his deepest secret: He only feels attracted to other boys.

In an attempt to forget his troubles for just one night, Romeo joins his cousin in sneaking into a Capulet party. During a fateful encounter in the garden, he meets the kindest, most beautiful boy he's ever encountered, and is shocked to learn he's Valentine, the younger brother of one of his closest friends. He is even more shocked to discover that Valentine is just as enamored with Romeo as Romeo is with him.

So begins a tender romance that the boys must hide from their families and friends, each of them longing for a world where they could be together without fear. And as the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets escalates out of control, Romeo and Valentine find themselves in danger of losing each other forever--if not by society's scorn, then by the edge of a blade.


Rating: 4 Stars
My Review: Banter and queer romance. This was a wonderful remix of a classic. I have enjoyed the others in this series and this is one of my favorites so far.  It was a great remix of found family and romance. 


Praise for Teach the Torches to Burn: A Romeo & Juliet Remix:

The Boston Globe Best New Book of Summer 2023
Paste Magazine Most Anticipated LGBTQ YA Book of Summer 2023 

"Roehrig has done a splendid job of imaginatively revising Shakespeare’s perhaps most frequently retold text, creating an often-suspenseful story populated by 
vividly realized characters. Best of all, however, is his beautiful dramatization of Romeo and Valentine’s love for each other." ―Booklist, starred review 

Vivid, poetic prose and snappy banter bring to life this reimagining of Romeo and Juliet as a drama of burgeoning adulthood, queer romance, and found family. ... A lush and romantic escape." ―Kirkus Reviews

exquisite reimagining of Romeo and JulietTeach the Torches to Burn honors the source material while bringing new meaning to Shakespeare's work. Romeo, Valentine, Juliet, and the entirety of Roehrig's cast of characters are true gems, each sparkling with wit, determination, and most of all, love for one another. From thriller to horror to historical remix... is there anything Roehrig can't write?" ―Lillie Lainoff, bestselling author of One for All

"From Roehrig I always expect (and cherish) an insight as sharp as it is elegant, but Teach the Torches to Burn offers so much more. Roehrig masterfully rewrites the world's most famous love story into a brilliantly remixed tale that will serve as a blazing beacon of hope for a new generation of impossible loves." ―Ryan La Sala, bestselling author of The Honeys and Reverie

vibrant, thrilling, and heart-poundingly romantic take on Romeo & Juliet would make any Shakespeare fan proud, and any queer reader feel seen and loved. I never wanted to put it down!" ―Dahlia Adler, author of Cool for the Summer and editor of That Way Madness Lies 

Teach the Torches to Burn digs into what makes Shakespeare so addictive: raw emotional power. Roehrig absolutely kills it with this Romeo meets Romeo remix!" ―Adam Sass, award-winning author of The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers and Surrender Your Sons

"Read this 
gorgeous, queer retelling outside to create your own Shakespeare in the park." ―The Boston Globe

"The Remixed Classics series has provided banger after banger, and Caleb Roehrig’s take on 
Romeo & Juliet (but gay) is absolutely not an exception. From the medieval Italian setting to the page-turning thrill ride of this secret taboo romance, this is an incredibly compelling read whether or not you’re a Shakespeare devotee." ―Paste Magazine

Praise for Remixed Classics:

"Lee (the Sidekick Squad series) elegantly situates Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1882 Treasure Island against a richly embroidered Qing dynasty backdrop in this carefully crafted queer interpretation. ... Inspired by female pirate Zheng Yi Sao, this deeply immersive adventure features deftly interwoven Chinese and Vietnamese, luscious culinary descriptions, and well-rendered explorations of imperialism, treasure, found family, and love." ―Publishers Weeklystarred review, on A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee

"'Fun' doesn’t even begin to describe this rich and imaginative retelling of 
Treasure Island. ... It’s obvious that this book was a labor of love, which made it all the more enjoyable to read. Pirate stories don’t get much better than this." ―Hypable, on A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee

"Morrow’s ability to take the lingering stain of slavery on American history and use it as a catalyst for unbreakable love and resilience is 
flawless. That she has remixed a canonical text to do so only further illuminates the need to critically question who holds the pen in telling our nation’s story." ―Bookliststarred review, on So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

Impressive ... Via delicately written characterizations, each March woman exemplifies the notion that the wounds of bondage don’t disappear simply because freedom is at hand, and the racist catalyst of enslavement doesn’t disappear with the stroke of a pen, as a beloved story gains new meaning through the lens of enduring Black resilience, love, and hope." ―Publishers Weeklystarred review, on So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

Rousing ... Wholly original in its cultural perspective and its centering of strong female characters. ... By creating an almost all-female cast, Safi makes women the heart of her story at a time when they were seen as a 'bargaining chip.'" ―Shelf Awarenessstarred review

Travelers Along the Way, Safi has assembled the perfect team to steal my heart. This is the thoughtful, thought-provoking, and wildly fun retelling of Robin Hood you’ve been waiting for!" ―Kiersten White, New York Times-bestselling author of And I Darken, on Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix by Aminah Mae Safi

A gorgeously reclaimed Gothic. Atmospheric and incisive, What Souls Are Made Of cuts deep into the question of identity and the ghosts of legacy haunting these windswept moors. I’m a Tasha Suri fan for life." ―Chloe Gong, New York Times-bestselling author of These Violent Delights, on What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri

"This remix of 
Wuthering Heights is an epic piece of historical fiction, and a testament to Suri's incredible storytelling skills." ―Buzzfeed, on What Souls Are Made Of: A Wuthering Heights Remix by Tasha Suri

McLemore’s triumphant retelling is for anyone who read The Great Gatsby and thought, this book needs to be much gayer ... In this satisfying, emotional journey that celebrates love, family, friendship, identity, and forging one’s own path, McLemore captures the spirit of the original while adding nuance and depth, setting a new bar for what a great retelling can be." ―Bookliststarred review, on Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore

Compelling and satisfying for Gatsby fans, critics, and neophytes alike, avoiding and subverting tropes and giving the main quartet the happy endings they deserve. In this absolutely stunning work, McLemore delivers their signature lyrical prose and rich symbolism. ... Richy imagined, fiercely tender, and achingly beautiful. ―Kirkus Reviewsstarred review, on Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore

"Addressing invisibility, power, and passion, Bayron’s updated classic 
simmers with Gothic imagery, romance, and a robust exploration of what it means to be whole. A vibrant retelling." ―Kirkus Reviews, on My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix by Kalynn Bayron

"Part of the 
exquisite Remixed Classics series, this take on Jekyll & Hyde is more proof that Bayron is a must-read YA author." ―Buzzfeed, on My Dear Henry: A Jekyll & Hyde Remix by Kalynn Bayron

Praise for 
The Fell of Dark:

A 2021 ALA Rainbow Book List Selection

"A little bit M. T. Anderson's 
Thirsty, a little bit Buffy, this is a vampire story for a new generation of teens entering a world that they have no reason to be optimistic about." ―Booklist, starred review

Praise for 
Death Prefers Blondes:

Seventeen Magazine's Best YA Books of 2019 So Far
Cosmopolitan Magazine's YA Novels You'll Be Obsessed with in 2019
Buzzfeed YA Novels That You Need To Read During Pride Month
A Best YA Novel of 2019
Paste Magazine Best Young Adult Novel of 2019

Balancing Oceans 11–level heists, corporate espionage, and gender and sexual identity politics isn't easy, but Roehrig manages it with aplomb, skillfully threading in Hamlet references to boot. Clever, thrilling, and a wildly good time." ―Booklist, starred review

"Roehrig creates a vibrant Los Angeles setting, where Manning and her friends are able to flawlessly (for the most part) pull off clever heists, go to fabulous drag shows, and explore their sexualities fully and without much worry or judgment. 
He’s a great, fun writer who delivers with excellent pop culture references, a biting sense of humor, and a feel for emotional resonance." ―Entertainment Weekly

"A glitzy teen thriller." ―

"Margo Manning is a cute blonde heiress who spends her days doing ... heiress-y things in California. At night, she's a burglar with four drag queens. Need I say anything more?" ―

"Roehrig has given us not just one queer James Bond, but five, each with a unique relationship and pride in their own queerness. And that's not to mention the heists, fights, flirting, drag queens and death defying leaps. Both an outrageous page turned and a treatise on the joy of the queer family." ―LC Rosen, author of 
Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts)

Praise for 
White Rabbit:

Twisty plotting, suspenseful pacing, and vivid characters add up to a heart-pounding page turner that you'll stay up way too late to finish." ―Karen M. McManus, New York Times-bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying.

"An emerging talent, Caleb Roehrig gives us another exciting, addictive YA thriller with his second novel, White Rabbit. Roehrig kept me guessing until the very end. I can’t wait to see what he does next!" ―Kristin Cast, #1 New York Times-bestselling co-author of The House of Night series

"Cinematic, nail-biting, and so much freaking fun―destined to be a gay YA classic." ―Cale Dietrich, author of The Love Interest

"The perfect mystery to dive into." Teen Vogue

"In this 
thrilling sophomore outing from Roehrig (Last Seen Leaving), 16-year-old Rufus Holt sets out with his ex, Sebastian, after getting a phone call from his half-sister April, who is at a party, begging for help. ... Roehrig’s ... characters and family dynamics are heartbreakingly real. He nails the angst of spending time with an ex that you can’t help but love, as well as the heartache and confusion of coming out." ―Publishers Weekly

"Roehrig masterfully employs aspects of the mystery and thriller genres to create a gripping drama that also encompasses the realities of being a teen, including strained family dynamics and the courage required to come out. 
Readers will find this novel difficult, if not impossible, to put down." ―VOYA, starred review

"Roehrig deftly weaves together thrills, intrigue, and fast-paced action in this delectable murder mystery. The novel is unapologetically queer, allowing Rufus and Sebastian to explore their complicated relationship, even against the backdrop of the intensely emotional and melodramatic family dynamics .... Roehrig’s narrative is deliciously sensational on the surface but sensitive and heartfelt at its core." ―Booklist

This excellent mystery has strong and believable characters. ... Brief flashbacks of Rufus and Sebastian’s story help give context to and propel current action that unfolds in a well-timed manner. Their relationship is the core of this tale, and it’s portrayed intelligently and realistically with appropriate depth and compassion" ―School Library Journal

"Readers up for a sexy, gory, swoony, suspenseful murder mystery/romance mashup will enjoy this." BCCB, recommended title

Praise for Last Seen Leaving:

"A compelling mystery and characters with fully developed strengths and flaws make Roehrig's novel an important addition in the world of queer young adult fiction." ―
Publishers Weekly, starred review 

Debut novelist Roehrig peoples his sensationalistic, twisty mystery with credible characters, especially narrator Flynn, whose struggles with coming out will resonate with young gay teens in more mundane circumstances. ... Readers won't be able to put it down." ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

truly hair-raising, stand-out mystery thriller from debut author Roehrig will keep readers guessing, even until the end." ―Bookliststarred review 

"Flynn’s internal struggle to open up about his sexuality carries weight, and readers will be drawn into his emotional journey and his adventures in amateur sleuthing. . . . 
A fun mystery with a credible emotional pull." ―School Library Journal 

About the Author

Caleb Roehrig is a former actor and television producer who cannot seem to live in one place. Currently dividing his time between Chicago and Helsinki, he is an expert at writing on planes and recovering from jet lag. His young adult titles include Teach the Torches to Burn: A Romeo & Juliet Remix;the acclaimed thrillers Last Seen LeavingWhite Rabbit, Death Prefers Blondes, and The Fell of Dark; and The Poison Pen―a tie-in to the CW’s popular Riverdale television series―and the Archie Horror original novel A Werewolf in Riverdale. His short stories have appeared in anthologies such as His Hideous HeartOut Now, and Serendipity. Wherever he’s living at the moment, he’s there with his husband and an overabundance of books.

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