Just Julian

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

In a nutshell, I thought this story had lots of potential that was not quite achieved. And to be honest, the number of LGBTQ+ characters for one small town seemed way out of proportion to the general population.

Perhaps because the underlying theme is YA and I don’t read many books featuring teens, or perhaps because of the very obvious play on the Romeo and Juliet theme, or perhaps the author’s writing style or his desire to pack every diverse LGBTQ character known to mankind into one short story, somehow it didn’t ring true to reality. It was okay, and I liked many parts of it, but it was a bit overdone in some of the dramatics and characterizations.

Julian Capulet is nineteen, but hasn’t finished school yet. He’s taking online courses because the bullying and physical abuse he suffered at school became impossible for him to overcome, but there’s one course left, and he can’t focus long enough to finish. When he gets stressed or depressed, he retreats to his room and paints. Well, it appears he paints—he throws paints on canvas in dramatic brush strokes. His mother seems to have a part time job and is an advocate—an OTT advocate—for LGBTQ rights. His friends are all apparently somewhere on the LGBTQ spectrum: gay, bi, lesbian, trans, nonbinary, asexual, demisexual, and more. Given that so many teens in this story identify as non-heterosexual, the focus in the latter part of the story on the need to increase awareness of LBGTQ teens in the schools and stop homophobic bullying seems superfluous.

When Julian meets Romeo (yes, Romeo!) at a party and their attraction seems mutual, he’s at first distrusting since Romeo has been with the group of boys who’ve bullied him. But Romeo claims he’s different, and he and Julian become a couple. Julian’s mother very liberally lets Romeo stay overnight. Later in the story when we meet Romeo’s mother (Mrs. Montague) it’s evident that she’s not happy with the relationship.

Of course, there’s no smooth sailing for either young man because just when they think they are free to be themselves, Romeo’s former buddies show up and attack the couple (see blurb for more detail). As the story ends, the two have decided to fight for their rights by participating in a school rally organized by Julian’s mother (of course) and the mother of Julian’s trans friend. I suspect their relationship-building will continue in the next story as this ends on a HFN.
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This book describes the beginning and progression of Julian's relationship with a supposedly straight boy named Romeo. Julian comes from a background where he has people who are very accepting of his sexuality. Romeo must accept his sexuality while facing the fact that others will not. This is written as a twin to the book Romeo, and they should be read together, really. Both are short books, so length will not stand in the reader's way.
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This book, with it's accompanying book Romeo For Real, is geared toward the young adult who is not that into reading. These books are easy to read and won't take a long time (only around 168 pages). There isn't a lot to the world building or in-depth back stories for the characters but it was a really good story about Julian who is gay and has had a lot of problems with gay-bashing in his past. Then he meets Romeo, and yes, Romeo Montague, from Shakespeare.  Julian's last name is...Capulet. This book is the pov of Julian; his thoughts and actions about the time when he and Romeo meet. It is very sweet and has some hand holding. There is some violence and talk of sex and lots of diversity.  I think all these issues were handled very well. 

I enjoyed reading this book and would like to thank Netgalley.com for the arc of this book and Romeo For Real.
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This story is Julian's POV. After reading Romeo for real  Just Julian  comes next or in any order you like because that was not specified.
This one was better than the last Romeo for real, Here we see how Julian was able to deal with Romeo's closeted behavior and his crapp friends.
There are trigger warnings for the books(homophobia and bullying) and so i will advise people to read at their own discretion.
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Just Julian is a refreshing Young Adult book by Markus Harwood-Jones.
Set among the premise of Romeo and Juliet, this story tackles the affects of bullying, many of the struggles of young gay and lesbian people, unrequited love, as well as having transgender and gender-fluid characters. 
Julian left school after the bullying got too bad. After trying to kill himself, still depressed, he isolated himself and avoided his friends. Now he's just trying to survive the worst of his depression, feeling like he's one small slip from falling back into the deep depression again. 
Forcing himself to face his friends, he meets Romeo at a party and is unable to forget about their kiss. 
Romeo, meanwhile, is firmly hiding in the closet while he runs around with the homophobic bullies. Julian likes the Romeo that he gets to see, but struggles with Romeo's inability to do the right thing. 
In the end, Julian's feelings about living change and he's happy to be alive. And, hopefully, he can help others who have been bullied.
In Just Julian, Markus Harwood-Jones has created a wonderful tale that should be read by all teens. Bullies need to learn the true harm they do to others, and they need to learn to tolerate people who are different from them. And for those who are being bullied and feel so different and useless, there is a great message in this story.
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The companion piece to 'Romeo for Real', ''Just Julian' (also written by Markus Harwood-Jones) gives the perspective of the other main character In the story, Julian Capulet , 

I would definitely say that this is the stronger of the two books - and if you read both I would  definitely suggest that you start with 'Just Julian', which seems better developed, with the characters coming across as more believable and more fully realised.

Also, this side of the story has a more positive attitude towards LGBTQ+ people. Romeo's story does contain more homophobic language, attitudes and behaviour as others have pointed out, but personally I can see that this is in fact necessary to the tale, for Romeo's story to be realistic and fully understood by seeing the environment he grew  up in, the family/friends he grew up around and the effect that can have upon young people who are beginning to explore and understand their sexuality and gender. 

It might not be comfortable to read about what either boy has lived with, admittedly could be triggering for some who have been victims of homophobic bullying (also note mention of suicidal ideation in 'Just Julian'), however this is a realistic depiction of something which happens all too often in real life and the consequences for real people.

The stories together shine a light upon  real problems and encourage people to think, talk, seek solutions and come together to stand against problematic behaviours and attitudes, as we see as Romeo learns more about the local LGBTQ+ community. If these issues are never highlighted and put in the spotlight, we can't expect anything to change, So I certainly don't consider the depiction of the issues in these stories to be negative at all. Teenagers need us to be open with them, to not only talk freely about subjects such as sexuality and gender, but also to acknowledge the variety of attitudes which exist, dangers which lurk, people's potential, the unfortunate human tendency towards violence and the existing level of bigotry and hate crime in this world. 

Ignorance is not actually bliss, It's unfortunately often dangerous - and we need to recognise the difference between writing about something for the purpose of realistic potrayals of our society (with a hope for furthering understanding and betterment ) and condoning said attitudes, words and actions. That said, on its own , the story of Romeo does need clarification . .....hence my recommendation that both stories be read together in order to get the full picture. Perhaps it might be an idea to have them in the same volume, but certainly if used in a classroom setting both books should be used and much opportunity given for discussion around the books. 

As for the 'Romeo and Juliet' aspect, I still don't feel that it is either particularly well done, or indeed at all necessary,
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I had a hard time getting through this book. I found myself really liking the writing, but disliking the story. It's not that it was cliche, and the stuff about depression and anxiety was quite good, but there was just something about the pacing and the main character I really disliked.
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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.
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This wasn't bad 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. I'm glad it and it's companion novel are books.
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So... this is maybe a 2.5 for me. As a hopeless romantic with cynical tendencies, I can now say that I preferred Rome's version, because Julian's felt a little less about the romance and more about the political stuff going on in his life, about accepting himself wholly and supporting whatever he believes in. He's a victim of bullying, of going through hell and back and fighting his panics about being so open and vulnerable. I believe in that line about one person being more in love than the other, so part of me didn't like knowing that Rome was more in love with Julian that he, him.

I did think it was interesting that he wasn't gay like Rome, but the slight drama that Paris added felt a little unnecessary. Like, the only thing she seemed to bring to the story was by being a 'better option' for him. Because this wasn't so romantic, I thought things could've been done a little differently. Part of me wishes the companion books had been combined because they both concentrate on such different perspectives, and I don't know if I'm a fan of the brush-overs. There were parts in Rome's story that were abbreviated that got the full attention in this story, and vise versa, and though I think it's cool, it still only works if you actually read both books. If you don't, then it just seems half done.

Overall, I don't think I'd recommend this. I thought they were both okay reads, but I personally feel like this story would've been better off if I hadn't gone in thinking it was a YA romance.
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The author of Just Julian and its companion, Romeo for Real, 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.
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This was a very important and relevant book.  Julian has to overcome so many obstacles just to live his truth.  Depression, bullying, abuse and trying to find all the reasons to love yourself when the World can't see your beauty is just heartbreaking.  Without his supportive mother, cousin and friends I don't know how his journey would have ended.  His passion is his art and he pours all of him into it giving him an outlet many people in the real world don't have themselves.  When he meets Romeo he begins to see the world differently.  With new hope and happiness love always finds a way to heal even the most broken heart.  Their story of being who they are in spite of the prejudice and ignorance surrounding them is inspiring and uplifting.  I loved Julian and his Romeo.
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Didn’t particularly enjoy this title. Too many cliches and generalizations and overall just not pleasant to read.
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Based off of the first book in the series,  I couldn't even read this.   I wanted them to be good, but they need so much work.
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**I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**
**And since this is an ARC my feedback could change by the time the book is finalized on publication**
**It is 2.5 stars**

Thank you Netgalley and James Lorimer & Company for letting me review this book!! ^_^

Before Thoughts:
I'm glad that my request was granted. We have characters who will resemble Romeo and Juliet (As far their names go). But I'm really hoping there won't be tragedies in this one. 

And I think part of me requested this since my current musical obsession right now is Bare: A Pop Opera. 

Which has some similarities such as: It portrays 2 gay characters who end up having to hide their love for one another. And not to mention the main character's love interest is seen as being straight and could be judged at anytime as well for liking a guy. It also features some Romeo and Juliet referencing as well. 
However Bare: A Pop Opera features some Romeo and Juliet levels of tragedy as well. Whereas this book will likely be light-hearted and sweet. 

Or I at least hope this book will have some cute light-hearted moments that I usually enjoy seeing with this genre. 

Read on: 05/26/18
To be Published on: 08/01/18

We have story that starts with Julian awaking from a nightmare of him when he was bullied at school. And since the bullying he has done online classes and has become distant from those close in his life. (For the most part)

He gets invited to his bff's party and from there meets Romeo.

It's a conflict of insta-love between a jock and an openly gay teen. So you have the LGBTQIA community vs. Homophobic bunch of jocks. 

(I don't expect it to go into better detail because it's a short book, but if it's still in the process of editing maybe it could try to develop itself better and combine this book with Romeo's POV.)

11:23 am
Okay so they do touch about issues of the LGBTQIA bullying in problems at schools, but I feel like it's not well executed as it could be. 

He is openly gay, has anxiety, and has nightmares about bullying he has endured. He also feels somewhat introvert.

He's jock who hasn't quite come out yet and hangs around homophobic jocks. He blushes frequently too. (To learn more about his character you probably want to read the other book that features his POV.)

Final Thoughts:
I really didn't like the instalove. Even if the original Romeo and Juliet has instalove. 

There were awkward or strange things in this book like:
- Instead of saying 'oh my god' or 'Oh my goodness'. They said goddess. I'm sure they were trying to make the phrase cool, but it came off as awkward whenever it was used in the dialogue.
- The last names of Romeo and Julian. They are literally the same names of the Shakespeare characters. Which was so awkward. Because I expected the first names to be the only similar things to the original play, but the author went further than that. 
- I plan to read the book with Romeo's POV, but tbh I wonder if maybe this story would be better if the author had just combined both the books. 

But I liked this about the book:
-The friends to the characters are supportive which was nice. But they were also not as well developed as I would've liked them to be. (Heck even the main characters aren't as well developed as they should be either.)
-I like that the author attempted to touch on the problems the LGBTQIA community faces in school, but it wasn't well executed unfortunately. 

I wanted to like this book, but it let my expectations down.

Recommends to:
If you want to be letdown real easy don't read this book!! But if the book gets proper editing before final publication then maybe it'll have a chance of you enjoying it. 

Hope you enjoyed my review!! Thanks for reading!! ^_^
And go catch that good book!! ^_^

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i was not a fan. It started off slow and remained slow. The POV seemed kind of odd and i found it hard to read. the story idea was cute though
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I had read this book after reading “Romeo for real” and i found this book to be a little more enjoyable then the first one. I really like the cover.

I think that these to books should be combined as one. To make it a duel POV instead of having it has two books. 

I felt like this had a lot of potential but it fell flat.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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This had great intentions, but poor execution. I wish the characters had been more fleshed out and had been given more time to blossom and develop. (My review is the same for the partner novel, Romeo for Real.)
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I read this after reading Romeo For Real. Again I enjoy reading LGBTQIPK+ visibility especially in classical remakes. I enjoyed reading this, would have preferred it longer or the two books in one volume.
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I read this right after finishing “Romeo for Real” (same characters). I liked this one better, perhaps because I’d already become familiarized with the characters from “Romeo for Real,” or because I like Julian better. I do feel that things still moved too fast, but I also thought that there was more in terms of character background and development in this one. Again, I liked the modernization of Romeo & Juliet in LGBT form. I think that “Just Julian” and “Romeo for Real” should be edited together, with chapters alternating between Julian and Romeo’s perspectives, because it would be much more cohesive and the character development and backgrounds would be better off for it.
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