Friday, May 18, 2012

Book Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1442433132
ISBN-13: 978-1442433137
Series: No
Source: ARC provided by publisher
Cover: I think this cover captures the romantic aspect of this novel nicely, particularly the last couple of pages. It kind of looks like it was torn right from the words at the end. The only thing I wish is that the author's name was just a bit bigger.
First Sentence: "Shakespeare got it wrong."

Mini-Review: When You Were Mine is breathtakingly romantic and unforgettable.

In this intensely romantic, modern recounting of the greatest love story ever told, Romeo’s original intended—Juliet’s cousin Rosaline—tells her side of the tale. 
What’s in a name, Shakespeare? I’ll tell you: Everything.
Rosaline knows that she and Rob are destined to be together. Rose has been waiting for years for Rob to kiss her—and when he finally does, it’s perfect. But then Juliet moves back to town. Juliet, who used to be Rose’s best friend. Juliet, who now inexplicably hates her. Juliet, who is gorgeous, vindictive, and a little bit crazy… and who has set her sights on Rob. He doesn’t even stand a chance.
Rose is devastated over losing Rob to Juliet. This is not how the story was supposed to go. And when rumors start swirling about Juliet’s instability, her neediness, and her threats of suicide, Rose starts to fear not only for Rob’s heart, but also for his life. Because Shakespeare may have gotten the story wrong, but we all still know how it ends…


When You Were Mine manages to capture everything that made Romeo & Juliet unforgettable--the unstoppable feeling of love at first sight and tragic end that brings two feuding families together--and update it into an interesting retelling that will leave its reader breathless. Focusing on Rosaline, the girl Romeo said he was in love with before that fateful meeting with Juliet, we get to see an entirely new side to a well-known story that is every bit as encompassing as the one it was inspired by. Imaginative, inventive and wildly romantic, When You Were Mine is a beautiful contemporary.

I'm always interested in story's that retell a well known tale from a different angle so when I read about When You Were Mine being from Rosaline's point of view, I was instantly drawn to the book. The author set the novel in a rich community but Rosaline's family seems to be pretty middle class. That is to say, she doesn't have all the finest things but she isn't really wanting either. I genuinely liked Rosaline from the beginning. I think part of that is because I know how the story was going to go and she already had that sympathy thing going for her but I know that a lot of it was because of the person she is. She was insightful and seemed to see people for who they were better than everyone else except for Rob and Juliet.

What I found really interesting was that the author chose to make Rosaline and her friends the popular kids in their school. This is one of the first novels that I've read where we get to go into the inner workings of the mean girls but instead of them being judged by an outsider, we got to see them from one of their group. I'll definitely say that I enjoyed Rosaline’s group of friends. Charlie's fierceness, especially when it comes to protecting her friends, and Olivia's general goodness made them hard to resist. However, they were mean sometimes and I think that helped show that in this story, everyone played a part in how this story ends. I'm not saying that loved the bullying part of this group and these girls were selfish but they did care about each other which sort of balanced it out to me. I must also admit that I enjoyed a bit of the cattiness and it never got overboard for me which is definitely difficult to do.

Rob and Juliet's relationship was incredibly complicated and I love the whole back story that the author created for them. They are best friends and share everything together and it seems like Rob is finally seeing just how awesome Rosaline is...until Juliet shows up. The author really worked to build something real for Rob and Rose which made it that much harder to watch when it falls apart. I also think the author did a good job building something for Juliet and Rob too and though theirs was obviously a destructively love, I understood why they were together. Juliet was a character I loved to hate because she definitely knew what she was doing every step of the way. I was glad, however, that about halfway through the author humanized her so we finally got to see things from her point of view. Like Rose, I both loathed and pitied her and because of that pity, I was willing to forgive. It's a complicated line and I feel like it was handled really well. It also helped that the author give Rose an amazing connection with a new guy that I couldn't get enough of! The chemistry with Rob and Rose was sweet but Rose and her new man absolutely sizzle on the page.

Rosaline's voice is perfect and there are so many fun details about her and her friends that they all seemed real to me. The writing was absolutely beautiful and I thought the author did a really good job with the retelling. Though she did take some liberties with story--the back story in particular, I feel like they were all good liberties. Having Rosaline be related to Juliet and Rose and Rob being best friends really added a lot to the story. My only small complainant was that it felt like the pacing was off just a little bit. It felt like Juliet wasn't in it long enough and I would have liked to see a lot more of Rob and Juliet's relationship before everything ended. I also felt like the tone in the beginning, which read a little bit spiteful to me, didn't match with Rosaline's character who was actually very forgiving.

If you like Romeo & Juliet, I'd highly recommend this retelling. Wildly romatic with characters you aren't soon going to forget, When You Were Mine is addictive. It will break your heart and make it soar in the same page.

Favorite Lines:
Juliet wasn't some sweet innocent girl torn apart by destiny. She knew exactly what she was doing. The problem was, Shakespeare didn't. Romeo didn't belong with Juliet; he belonged with me...It was supposed to be us together forever...Maybe then they'd still be alive.
--Pg. 4 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
...I could easily list ten girls in our soon-to-be senior class who would have traded in their Gucci book bags to go to prom with Rob, but I think he's scared of the female species. 
--Pg. 48-9of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
We were once at Olivia's beach house in Malibu, and I got a piece of corn stuck in between my teeth so hard that my gums started to bleed. Charlie marched me out to Big Red and performed minor dental surgery.
--Pg. 18 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
They broke up because he called her "bro" at prom last year, and then they didn't speak for a week.
--Pg. 21 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
All the chairs in front of us feel like tiny markers on a spiderweb, and I'm amazed at how connected we all are, how point A leads to point B and then all the way to Z, each of us spinning out into infinity but still tied together through birthday parties and drunken dances.
--Pg. 39 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
Fun fact: Even teachers think Len is a leech.
--Pg. 58 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
It's a smile far better suited to the girl who beheaded my favorite Barbie than one who was my best friend in kindergarten.
--Pg. 121 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
Tonight stretched out before me like an ocean. It feels expansive, limitless. Like I could float in it forever.
--Pg. 140 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
He's holding her like she's a leaf, like she might just at any moment blow away in the wind.
--Pg. 150 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
"Could you cool it with the hysteria now?" he says. "'Cause that panic attack was really getting in the way of my Monday."
--Pg. 165 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
His fingers glide over the keys like the wind dancing on the beach. Pulling up the sand, twirling it, asking it to play.
--Pg. 236 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
That's the thing about free will: Every decision we make is a choice against something as much as it is for something else.
--Pg. 258 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
How do you mourn something that never really belonged to you?
--Pg. 299 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle
"So what happens now?" I ask./ He kisses my nose and I can see his dimples dancing. "Anything you want Rosaline," he says. "Absolutely anything."
--Pg. 331 of an ARC of "When You Were Mine" by Rebecca Serle


  1. This sounds like an amazing book. I'll be checking it out when I get the chance. Thanks for the review!

  2. i loved this boook
    awesome review
    it was cool for adding the quotes

  3. An awesome romance, a retelling, AND a stand-alone. I need to read this asap! :D Thanks for the great review, Amber!

  4. I Want to read this! >_< I love Romeo and Juliet and the twist in the story is just so awesome!

    Great review! =D


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