By: Simon and Schuster UK
What if your love story didn't have a happy ending? What if you were the girl Romeo loved – before he met Juliet?
Meet Rosaline. She’s in love with her best friend Rob and, when they finally kiss, she knows it’s meant to be.
But then her cousin Juliet moves back to town. Beautiful, intriguing, and a little bit crazy Juliet – all the boys love her, and Rob doesn’t stand a chance.
Like her namesake, Rose is about to find out that while being written out of your own story might feel like the biggest tragedy of all, being alone isn't the worst fate in the world.
Because the greatest love story ever told might not be the right one, but we all know how it ends.
This is Romeo and Juliet, 90210. And by that, of course I mean the peerless original series, and not the remake. Brenda, Kelly and Donna - sorry, Rosaline, Charlie and Olivia are the Queen Bees at their high school. Charlie's the beautiful and bitchy one, Olivia's the sweet but ditzy one and Rose is the normal, down-to-earth one:
Olivia said, "It's the theory of collective hotness. One pretty girl alone is okay-looking, but, like, five pretty girls together, even if one of them is not that pretty, look way hotter."
I swear she looked right at me when she said "one of them."
The three girls drive around Southern California in a red Jeep, drinking sparkling water, dating surfer boys and generally having the kind of life 16-year-old me would kill for. To make things even more perfect, Rose's lifelong best friend, Rob, looks like he's finally reciprocating the crush she has on him. But then cousin Juliet comes back to town...
Juliet is introduced like a classic high school villainess; you know the one, who was head cheerleader and homecoming queen at her old school and has totally come to take the crown away from our main characters. If Juliet's plan was to take down Charlie, I would have been cheering her on, but alas, she's got a vendetta against Rose, who really doesn't deserve to be ditched for another girl.
When You Were Mine walks the line between being fun summer fluff and having a more serious side. These are the boyfriend dramas of pretty rich people, but Rose's voice is well done and I found her to be likeable and sympathetic. I think it was a smart move on the author's part to make Rob and Rose childhood friends, so Rose is not just pining after some guy; she's hurt and humiliated that her best friend has treated her this way. Teenage humiliation - I remember it well and could relate.
Luckily those are my favourite kind of books to devour in summer, so I wasn't disappointed. This is an easy-breezy read that I finished in a couple of sittings. It makes use of a fair few clichés and archetypes (of course Len is really a genius in slacker clothing! Of course Juliet is secretly hurting and vulnerable!) but it has a relateable main character, some funny lines, a few swoony kisses and even some moments of real depth at the end. What more do you want to bring to the beach?