Book review: Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker
Waking Romeo was the time-travelling literary mash-up we didn’t know we were missing. Drawing on the classic literature of both Romeo and Juliet, and Wuthering Heights it’s a delight. Achingly sad at times, funny and with a deep heart, this is a wonderful read.
Book review by: Steph Huddleston
Author: Kathryn Barker
Publication date: March 2021
Sub-genres: Romance, time-travel, dystopian fiction
Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Romeo and Juliet survived? What if they’d been born in a different time and place? What if Juliet met someone else? Waking Romeo is a love letter to classic literature and questions everything you thought you knew about these characters.
A reimagining set on an epic scale, readers join Jules (AKA Juliet) in the year 2083. Time travel is possible, but only forwards, and only for a select few. But rather than making humanity better, many have been left behind. Included one girl and her ill-fated, now comatose boyfriend, Romeo.
As Jules wrestles with her tattered life, she reckons with forces beyond just estranged families. Mysterious time traveller Ellis has arrived with a mission that will make her question everything. Wake Romeo. According to Ellis, doing so is vitally important to the survival of all of human history. But can she trust him? And can Jules truly rewrite her story?
What We thought about Waking Romeo?
Waking Romeo is the time-travelling literary mash-up we didn’t know we were missing. Drawing on the classic literature of both Romeo and Juliet, and Wuthering Heights is a delight. It is achingly sad at times, funny and with a deep heart. All in all, wonderful read.
If you’ve been searching for escapism and a story filled with hope, this is one to reach for. The turns the story took were unexpected and the character development far deeper than I expected from the quirky premise. It’s certainly a fresh take on the at times drab familiarity of Romeo and Juliet.
The book also touches on a lot of heavier topics that contemporary audiences will find relevant. These include ableism, racism, death, life-limiting conditions, loss of a child and discussions around suicide. Many of these topics are in the original source material which Waking Romeo draws on. But it is encouraging to see that this book addresses these serious topics appropriately for contemporary audiences.
The time travel elements make readers work to orient themselves on occasion. But for the most part, this is executed successfully.
Who is Waking Romeo perfect for?
Fans of classic literature will find a lot of gems in this one. Filled with dreamy references Waking Romeo is an example of art inspiring art. Marketed as Young Adult fiction, we’d say this book is appropriate for teens over the age of 16 or young at heart adults looking for a fun read.
This Book Contains:
Found families, BIPOC characters, characters with disabilities, romance, time-travel adventures, loss of child and suicide.