Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Review: Life After Juliet

ISBN: 1633753239
Pages: 304
Source: Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Initial Reaction: 
Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people... 
Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.
As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world...and happy endings aren't always guaranteed.
The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.
I haven't read Shannon Lee Alexander's debut Love and Other Unknown Variables and from what I've read, the two stories are intertwined. However, I was able to dive into this story without any trouble and I ended up really enjoying it.  Becca Hanson has become a ghost after her best friend died and has escaped into the world of books. When her school decides to put on a rendition of Romeo and Juliet, Becca finds herself signing up to be part of the stage crew. Not only is Romeo and Juliet a cheesy love story with a tragic ending, but it was also Charlotte's favorite play. Before she knows it, Becca is interacting with people and even reciting lines on stage. 

Life After Juliet is a story about making new friends and moving on past grief. At first, I was a bit hesitant going into the story because I've been in a crazy slump for the past couple of months and I didn't want to be bogged down by all the emotions. While this book definitely leaned on some heavy elements, it was so uplifting to be able to experience Becca's journey and how she changes her life after Charlotte's death.

As far as the characters themselves, it's hard to pick a favorite. Becca's love for reading is her safe haven and shield from the world. It was so interesting to see her grow from hiding behind her pages and counting the days in pages to experiencing all that high school has to offer. Her interactions with Max and his group of techies as well as the drammies was so much fun. I absolutely adored the development of the characters and the plot line as opening night for the show approaches

. I didn't even address Max and Becca's relationship and I don't have a word to describe it. Both of them have experienced the grief of losing someone and both have dealt with their grief in different ways. Seeing them grow together and build a friendship that turns to something more just made everything so heartwarming.

I didn't want grief to play a big part in this story because I was afraid it would turn the novel into a bit of a downer but grief plays such a vital role in the plot. Becca sees everything as with and without Charlotte and the story reveals how she takes that filter off to view life through the eyes of a normal teen. Life After Juliet has its deep moments but there are several moments of teenage fun and angst sprinkled in that makes it an overall well rounded read. 

3.5 out of 5 stars

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