Romeo for Real

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

A modern take on the Shakespeare classic "Romeo & Juliet" told from the point of view of Romeo Montague. Romeo seems to have it all., star athlete, girlfriend, great friends, and great family. But Romeo has a secret. He thinks he's gay. At this point his girlfriend is the only person he has told. She is ok with it, because she is lesbian and they were using each other as a cover.

When Romeo, by chance, meets Julian at his ex-girlfriends party. His breath is taken away by Julian. Feelings stir inside for Julian. Feelings he had never felt for anyone before. The more time he spends with Julian, the more he feels for him and the more he wants to protect him. The more he falls in love with Julian, the more he feels he needs to be honest with family and friends. Seeking advice from his school counselor, he finds the courage to tell his family and his friends. One of Romeo's friends takes the news badly and ends their friendship. Romeo and Julian's story takes its tragic turn when Romeo's homophobic friend shows up with friends to beat the gay out of Romeo.

Read "Just Julian" for Julian's point of view. I will not spoil the outcome of this book. Read it for yourself and see how this tale of star-crossed lovers ends.
Was this review helpful?
I’m glad I read Just Julian before this story or I may have been completely lost. Although the couple is the same and the events are the same, this story is told from Romeo’s perspective and it’s completely different from Julian’s. And yet, the two stories together complement each other. Unfortunately, the author does not indicate which book should be read first, and in reality, he probably should have simply combined both POV’s and created one book.

I liked this story, in large part, I believe, because I knew what was going to happen already. I also like Romeo’s character more—at least I liked much of his character and perspective in this book, though I didn’t care for his early participation in gay bashing. I did, however, understand the peer pressure that led to it.

I think even Julian’s mother was easier to understand when viewed from Rome’s POV. His own parents were barely mentioned in Julian’s book and were perfect examples of unlikeable persons in this one. The vice principal, Mrs. Duke, was quite nasty to him in this story, and yet was a friend of Julian’s mother and an advocate for LBGTQ rights in that book, in which she also had a larger role. 

The friend base was a bit different and interactions among their friends included more on those secondary characters in this story. But like the other book, I found it odd that there was so much diversity in that high school—especially given the homophobic bullying and the parents’ attitudes.

All in all, I would recommend that if someone wants to read this, they should read Just Julian first as I believe the perspective is in better balance reading that before this one. But neither book is one I’d highly recommend to my friends in general. But those who enjoy YA stories might like this look at a little slice of life in this small town.
Was this review helpful?
This book describes the beginning and progression of Romeo's relationship with the openly gay Julian. Romeo must come to grips with his own sexuality, as well as realize that old friends and his parents may never accept him as his relationship with Julian progresses.. This is written as a twin to the book Julian, and they should be read together. Both are short books, so length will not stand in the reader's way.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a companion book to Just Julian. It runs the same time period as that book but it is from Rome's pov. In this book, Rome is trying to figure things out about himself. Is he gay or bi or whatever? He's confused about things and having to deal with homophobic friends and family he doesn't think he should come out, if he is gay. Then he meets Julian and things start to click with Rome. I bet this story is more true to life than I can imagine. Again, like in Just Julian, there is hand holding, kissing, and a lot of diversity. Also violence. But here we see both sides of the story. I loved reading both books and I think for those who are not a fan of reading these are pretty quick reads and pretty important stories.

Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for the arc of both books.
Was this review helpful?
Its a short story retelling of romeo and Juliet ( in this case romeo and Julian). At first i couldn't get past the first and second chapter because of the side characters ( and the main )behavior, but after that it was okay.i think the book would have been better if it was fleshed out a little bit
Fancy a little retelling of the Romeo and Juliet try this book.
Was this review helpful?
UGH I so wanted to love this. I wanted to find a fun twist on Romeo and Juliet, but this one fell way short. So much terrible angst. WAY to quick to love. No real feeling of it being a complete story. Everything seemed to happen and end so quickly.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this series. It was a modern retelling of one of my favorite books. I think it’s a unique way of telling a story in a new way to make it relatable to younger audiences. Would definitely be a good compare and contrast in a classroom and just a fun read.
Was this review helpful?
Rating: 2.0/5.0

The story about coming out of the closet. I thought that this was a Romeo & Juliet retelling story but other than the main characters names it is nothing like Romeo & Juliet. The story is mainly about Romeo coming out to his parents, friends and their reaction in accepting his sexual orientation.

Many of the negative reviews were given to this book because of the amount of homophobia it has. This is not the reason I am giving it low stars, because I still think in our real life there is so much more of homophobia than this short story depicted. My low rating is because I felt the characters were very shallow. They did not have much uniqueness. The situations and events were very superficial. Like the way, Romeo kissed Julian the first time just because he saw him in the room! There are cringy moments too. The second book has an Asian guy on the cover as Julian. In this book I don't even remember if it was mentioned that Julian was an Asian guy.

I have grabbed this book from NetGalley when it was available in the read now section and this is my honest non-biased review.
Was this review helpful?
Romeo for Real is a book that, with the classic story of Romeo and Juliet as its foundational text, has tremendous potential. Keeping in mind the fact that this book is "a hi/lo title intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged," it does, to an extent, meet its set guidelines. The narrative moves very quickly in its brief length, and it's clear that an effort was made to keep readers engaged; however, what this also means is that conflict arises and resolves at a breakneck pace, and people fight and forgive in a way that disregards how serious the conflict was. It's nice to think that people in conflict would listen to each and forgive each other with such ease, but even for a YA audience, I think it's unlikely. Similarly, the character development is nearly non-existent. There are good guys and bad guys, and the good guys are saints and the bad guys are seemingly unredeemable, one-note villains. My concern with the superficial nature of the story and its characters is that, if LGBTQIA+ reluctant or struggling readers read this book, I don't think they'll come away with a fair sense of the way people in conflict communicate with each other, nor how nuance drives so much of everyone's behavior, whether they know it or not. Books with LGBTQIA+ characters and stories don't have to be a panacea, but I think it undermines the audience--even or especially a reluctant one--when they are one dimensional.
Was this review helpful?
Trigger warning: homomisia, bimisia, transmisia, violence

4.5 ⭐️

"Please note that this is a hi/lo title intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged."
This is the note that was at the end of the summary for this book on NetGalley. I am putting it here because all the bad reviews I saw make no sense when you read that sentence. Yes, it is a fast-paced book with very little character development, because reluctant and struggling readers don't want a 300-pages book that moves slowly and spends a lot of time on each character. They want something that keeps them entertained because they aren't able or don't want to read 5-pages long descriptions.

That being said, this book had the perfect amount of fluff and realism. The boys were absolutely adorable together and I think it's good they had Julian out and proud while Romeo was struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. All through the book, you could see the silver lining at the end, the "it gets better".

It's not a Romeo & Juliet retelling per se, because their families don't even know each other. The author mainly took the "not able to be together" aspect and added a bit of queermisia (homomisia, bimisia, transmisia, etc.) in terms of hate. Don't go in expecting anything like the Shakespeare story apart from the names.

I loved that there was so much positivity for the whole LGBT+ spectrum. when Lyla tells Romeo he "might be bi, pan, ace, or queer. Or something else altogether!", my heart soared. Queer positivity above the usual gay/straight/bi boxes! What's not to like? Very little, actually.

What's not to like are the simple mistakes Romeo makes that can appear rude, when not downright homomisic. Of course, we can blame it on his upbringing, jerks of friends and very conservative parents. Some phrases like "my safe, normal, straight neighbourhood" and "Sami was... strange" and (the worst, in my opinion) "it wasn't a woman. Or even a man. It was a person" are offensive even when you consider where he's coming from. At least, though, he learns. And he's very open-minded. He quickly starts to use queer vocabulary and question what he thought he knew (like Lawrence being gay, but since his partner got pregnant, he could be bisexual, or his partner could be trans).

This is the kind of book I would recommend for people (especially gay folks who identify as men) who are struggling with their sexuality and aren't sure about coming out. Romeo's story isn't easy, and the last 20% of the book can be hard to read because he is a victim of hate, but the silver lining is there. And a lot of characters are actually queer positive and are happy for him. It's a cute, fluffy book about an important subject, a kind I which we had more of.
Was this review helpful?
I get that the author has a message here and that is to be who you are and take pride in that fact. 
I like that, but I didn’t enjoy the story or really the characters. It was too short to provide time for character development and identifying with their situations.
I found the dialog forced as  characters tried to talk cool, hip and 21st century.
This next criticism may be picky because I almost didn’t like Romeo from the beginning simply from his picture on the cover. 
I can’t recommend Romeo For Real.
Was this review helpful?
This was cute but unfortunately rather fast paced for me. I'm sure someone who is the more intended audience (someone who doesn't read that much and is a reluctant reader) would enjoy it a lot more than I did.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to like this book I truly did but not even halfway through I had to abandon it. There was no depth of character, no true storyline and the gay bashing was just well it left me with a bad taste in my mouth. 

I get the character was young and just finding himself but there was no real connection to him. I was very disappointed and well as I said couldn't get through the book. I was really sad about it.
Was this review helpful?
This is a short story, and by short I mean 90 pages short story. It is a story about a football player who is on the peak of his career yet he finds himself restless and kinda lost. He even has friends who are fun to hang out with but inside he is just alone. They break rules, teases others and crack jokes, but Romeo feels guilty more than fun. Something does not feels right to Romeo or Rome as his friends call him.

He wants to understand more about himself. He is just not truly happy from inside and wants to be happy. Then one day, he stumbles upon a boy in a party who seemed to accelerate his heart just by being himself. The openly gay boy and Romeo ends up kissing each other but this scares Romeo. He ran away from the party even without asking for name. 

Now Romeo is confused more than he was earlier about himself and more than that he wanted to kiss Julian more. He is not ready to accept himself and finds himself stuck within himself. Finally, he gathers his courage and decides to accept himself, but will others accept him or he will be just content to be himself?

At first, Romeo seemed to hide this truth below layers of lies but eventually he comes to accept himself. The threats, japes and even violence seemed easier to bear and fight against once he completely accepted himself.

The writing style is plain and simple. There was a hollowness in the story regarding emotions. The story is good and the struggle is real but still the lack of details fails to bound the readers to story. The development of characters do not seemed complete. The other characters were left without any description. The author only focussed on comimg out of Romeo. Even his background information is incomplete which drastically affects the story. The struggles of coming out and accepting yourself has been captured perfetly but would've been better if more background story about Romeo and Rosie, his parents and his school life would've been appreciated.

Note: I was given this e-arc copy by the publisher and Netgalley for my honest review and I want to thank them.
Was this review helpful?
This book...sigh. It has no substance. It's very choppy and not even detailed. I get the author wanted to do a Romeo and Juliet but gay and while he had the right idea it wasn't though out. He needed more for this story to really go somewhere.

Also anyone else find the fact the author uses Rome instead of Romeo throughout the story? I found this annoying. I understand that Romeo doens't like his name so he goes by 'Rome' but at the end of the day you need to use the full character name unless it's someone calling the character by their nickname.
Was this review helpful?
'Romeo for Real' is short, fast paced and easy to follow  - which is perfectly fine as the book is aimed at encouraging 'reluctant readers'. It is also informative for YA readers who aren't at all knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ matters.

The authors portrayal of the various characters in this story seems fairly realistic (though too short to give all that much depth) and it's an enjoyable enough read which also raises important issues. Good enough to recommend to teens as a source material from which to launch a discussion of gender and sexuality. 

However, I'm not entirely sure about the authors decision to try an make this into a 'Romeo and Juliet' rewrite. Whether the intent was to make Shakespeare more relevant and accessible for modern teenagers, or to bring the timeless quality of love between members of families/groups who are enemies/rivals to the problems of LGBTQ+ teens, I don't know.......but whatever was intended, I'm really not convinced that it is pulled off effectively  and I can't say that I feel it was either necessary or a good idea. Perhaps 'translating' the basic premise of the original play into more modern terms would help a group of teens labelled reluctant readers to grasp what's going on in the Shakespeare  - but adding this text (albeit short) into a reading list only increases the load and could, frankly, be confusing anyway. If the entire point is to encourage teens to read, because they struggle or lack interest, what is gained by adding in parallel details from a Shakespearian work that they may well not know or understand?
Was this review helpful?
The author of Romeo for Real and its companion, Just Julian, works really hard to present a story that is inclusive of as many LGBTQ identities as possible. For that, the story is commendable. However, owing partially to the fact that each was only 168 pages it felt like a lot was thrown into the story much too soon. It was inorganic how quickly and easily the two fell in love, proposed marriage, and the way everybody was able to overcome deep-seated biases and resolve deeply-rooted issues within themselves as well as between one another for the perfect happily-ever-after ending. If both books were one as a dual-perspective, it might have helped slightly, but ultimately, it felt contrived and too perfect. Young adults readers who are going through some of the issues within the book in real life might not appreciate the sugar-coating. That being said, I would still recommend the book to teens looking for LGBTQ fiction, and allow them to judge for themselves. I definitely did cheer for certain characters at certain times.
Was this review helpful?
After reading Just Julian it was important for me to read Romeo for Real so that I could see the story from Romeo's point of view.  I understand how scary it is to grow up where everyone around you seems to spew venom about a group of people without even bothering to get to know them.  Romeo can't be who he wants to be because of the fear of rejection from everyone he looks up to, yet does nothing to stop the abuse and harassment that his friends and even him take part in bullying and abusing others.  Only when he finds love does he find the courage to be who he is in spite of everyone else.  I would have hoped that his character would have been a better role model especially for the subject matter and importance of this topic.  I understand where the author was going with this story, I just hoped for more.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to like this, but the characters all seemed pretty flat. There isn't enough time spent on character development, and there certainly isn't enough time spent on relationship development. I get that Romeo and Julian's kissing without saying more than a few words to each other is based on Romeo and Juliet, but it just reads as being too ridiculous. And they don't even have a conversation before they're kissing again!

I was also expecting the story to end in tragedy, which would have been disappointing in its own way. But the ending here is too perfect to be at all believable.
Was this review helpful?
I like the concept but the execution didn't quite make it. The characters felt one dimensional.  I also felt like the author spent more time telling the reader what happened rather than showing what happened.
Was this review helpful?