Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Release date: 23. December 2014.
Number of pages: 417 (e-book)
Genre: romance, new adult
Twelve-hour bus ride is a phenomenal experience – said no one ever.
As much as I love to be at the sea side, actual travelling is at least exhausting. Sharing two seats with sister, short lasting cell phone battery, shifting from one uncomfortable sitting position to another one, and so much sitting that you can’t feel lower parts of your body anymore. So much fun, huh? This year I decided to bring my e-reader with me since I had managed to make it work properly and purchased some of the books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. I never manage to sleep in bus, so this was a life-saver – no one cursed me or wanted to kill me for turning on my light (which was the case last year, tho).
So, the first book that caught my eye was Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven with its sequel Broken Juliet. I’ll be talking about these books as they’re one, because I’ve read them literally like one book and they make a whole story about Ethan and Cassie, two amazing actors whose chemistry on the scene makes huge impact on their real lives.
Cassie and Ethan met each other in drama school and we could say that that was a love at first sight. They denied it for a long time, but when they got leading roles in a play, Romeo and Juliet actually, they couldn’t hide the attraction and feelings that both of them had for the other – everything they felt for each other was weaved into their roles as well. But behind the curtains it wasn’t all hearts and flowers, which led to twice-heartbroken Cassie. Three years after they haven’t spoken at all, their fates cross again when they get leading roles on Broadway, playing lovers once again. That brings up some old memories and opens up still healing scars. Ethan tries to reach to Cassie, but she fears that he’ll break her heart again. Should she give a third chance to someone who wasted previous two?
“Sometimes people put up walls, not only to keep people out, but also to see who cares enough to tear them down. Understand?”
― Leisa Rayven, Bad Romeo
The story was told in Cassie’s point of view, switching between time periods, which is good because we have a chance to see perspectives of nineteen-year old and twenty-six-year-old Cassie. Even though this is a story about broken hearts and mending scars, Leisa Rayven with her witty writing style succeeds to make reader laugh when he least expects. She made an exceptional tension between the characters, and within the story itself with a cloud of mystery that makes a reader want to know what’s behind it. A little is unraveled by the ending of book one, and most answers are in book two, but the writer’s way of writing makes it unbearable not to know what happens in the end, so the reader can’t stop from reading both parts. That’s how I ended up reading all night long.
However, as much as I loved these books, there were things that bothered me. There were some parts near the ending in the first book and somewhere halfway through book two that were extremely and needlessly long, and they were making me feel like I was drowning, which is a bad thing. But those parts really weren’t often and when they are crossed, it’s easy to continue as nothing like that happened. Another thing that got on my nerves was character building of one of the main characters – a cliché of all clichés. Oh, I wish authors were a bit more creative when it comes to characters’ backstories.
“Everyone wears metaphorical masks during their lives. We all have different faces we show to work colleagues, or friends, or family. Sometimes we wear so many masks, we forget who we are underneath it all, but you have to find the courage to drop all the bullshit and reveal your true self.”
― Leisa Rayven, Broken Juliet
Cassie’s character was really an unique one that we have rarely a chance to read about. At the beginning we see a girl who is a pleaser of others, in need of their acceptance. She’s in a way an actress in her own life, not only on the scene and that bothers her. When she meets Ethan, he’s the first one that has seen her mask fall – in front of him she’s honest and brave, passionate, having her own opinion, knowing exactly what she wants and demanding it.
On the other side we have Ethan, who’s not really an unusual character. He’s pretty much a mentally tortured guy with daddy issues, and as you can see that’s the pattern that’s overused in many character buildings. Ethan is broken, scared of attaching to people because he was badly hurt before, very defective and unstable (sounds familiar, eh?). But, an unusual for that kind of characters is that he’s not a womanizer, he’s actually a loner and that kind of adds up to his humanity.
Ethan and Cassie are definitely an interesting couple. They both bring the best but also the worst out of each other. It could be also said that they are a kind of couple which can’t be together, but can’t keep hands off each other. Nevertheless, when Ethan broke Cassie’s heart for the second time in their senior year, their paths split out. Their separateness really affects both of them – three years they are apart and it seems like they exchanged their roles.
Cassie is insecure, broken, trying to get over Ethan. However, Ethan takes control over his irrational fear of being hurt, trying to become a person that Cassie deserves, putting both of them on a bitter-sweet journey.
“Let’s say people are books. Everyone who comes into our lives is given a glimpse of a few of our pages. If they like us, we show them more pages. If we like them, we want them to see the unedited parts. Some people may make notes in the margins. Leave their marks upon us and our story. But ultimately, the words that are printed—that represent us as a person—don’t change without our permission.”
― Leisa Rayven, Broken Juliet
I think that Leisa Rayven succeeded in explaining how, even when it’s a dysfunctional love, love can be stimulus for becoming a better version of ourselves for our loved ones. She shown us how it’s impossible to help somebody until they decide they want to do something about it themselves.
I’m amazed how the author succeeded to bring this emotional story, as Bad Romeo was her debut, and I’m certain that I’ll continue to follow her future works.
There’s something I have to add – I would not recommend this book to those younger than 16 and those who are bothered by explicit scenes, because they are a part of the books.
Also, I would like to add from time to time something new – a short playlist with songs that I find perfectly fitting for the story, its characters or situations. Of course, it would be great if you added your own suggestions in the comment section.
This is my choice of songs that I’d listen while reading Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet:
- Fragile – Kygo, Labrinth
- Beneath Your Beautiful – Labrinth, Emeli Sande
- Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars
- Say Something – A Great Big World, Christina Aguilera
- A Drop in the Ocean – Ron Dope
- Wild Horses – Birdy
- Faded – Alan Walker
- Just Give Me a Reason – P!nk, Nate Ruess
- Please Forgive Me — Bryan Adams
- History – One Direction
- The One – Kodaline
And you? Have you read Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet? Do you make playlists for some of the books you’ve read?
Till the next post,
Jana sends you hugs ♥