Wow I loved this book! I’m a huge, huge, huge Leonardo DiCaprio fan and I have seen the version of Romeo and Juliet he is in no less then 100 times. Every time I see it I take notice of the mention of Rosaline, but have never really though much about her. That is until this fantastic book came about. Simply put When You Were Mine is kind of ingenious! Serle took a classic story, gave it a new POV with some modern twists to it and made it into a new story entirely. I apologize for any spoilers, but you guys know the story of Romeo and Juliet so I have a feeling you know where this book is going.
Basically the book is about Rosaline, the girl in love with the boy next door, her best friend Rob. When Rob comes back from his summer away it looks like things between him and Rose are finally going to take off, that they are on the road to coupledom. Every one is thrilled with this new development, especially Rosaline. And then her cousin Juliet shows up and everything Rose thought was hers is taken away from her. As Rob and Juliet heat up the reason why Juliet hates Rose starts to come into focus and a whole new scandal rocks the world of these high school kids. When all is said and done, who will be left standing.
I think what made this story really stand out and work the way it did was the use of Rosaline and this quote sums it up perfectly:“They died together; they’ll always be remembered together. It’s decided, once and for all. He was hers. The rumors don’t matter; they’ll fade…People may remember it was suicide, but my name won’t be attached. It will just be two lovers, fused together forever.”
And that is exactly what happened. No one remembers Rosaline was even a part of the story. I mentioned to a friend and her exact words were, “That’s right, I forgot all about Rosaline.” And that right there is why this story was as good as it was for me. Rosaline is an unknown, a non-entity in Shakespeare’s play. And yet she seems to be the heart of it. By Serle taking notice of a barely mentioned character and giving her life, it really helped to take the reader on a truer journey. Now they were seeing what it was like to be the one left behind, how it feels when you have to deal with the aftermath. Like I said genius! And honestly, Rosaline was just plain likable. I thought Rob was obnoxious and Juliet, eh, don’t even get me started on her spoiled, selfish, self.
Basically Serle made her debut novel a must read and not just for Shakespeare fans. It’s a must read for the underdog, the girl stuck in the middle, the girl that is left to pick up the pieces of something she never wanted any part of. It’s a book for the fan of the girl that is left behind and must make a choice for herself and stop living in someone else’s shadow.