Roman and Jewel gives the story of Romeo and Juliet a new direction as it embarks on a musical and diverse journey.
Davis has taken Romeo and Juliet and given it new life with this story. Firstly, the story is labeled a hip-hopera adaptation, giving this classic tale what the publisher calls “the Hamilton treatment.” Honestly, it was terrific. The musical Roman and Jewel takes place in the background, but every scene and how the story influences the actual plotline makes an engaging read.
To be honest, I would love to see this play brought to life on stage; it was that good. There are thousands of Romeo and Juliet, but the way Davis has gone about bringing to life a classic made it fresh. The play that Jerzie is working on may be the retelling, but the story itself is about a girl who is coming face to face with stardom and everything that comes with it.
However, as much as I thought the storytelling was, I wanted more. Not in a bad way though. The pacing was well thought out, but the story, it felt like there needed to be more substance. Okay, substance is a bad word because this novel was extraordinary, and it had the substance, but I wanted more story to it. The story resolves all the tension with a neat little bow that takes away some of the realism that Davis put into the layers of her storytelling.
My biggest wish is that the story had been longer because it was so good, and I felt like I blew through it too quickly. Not that that is a bad thing; honestly, that just shows you how much I loved this novel.
Jerzie is a girl with fantastic talent and brains, and what is even more impressive is the fact that she is a black girl. Honestly, it is great to see African American authors bring their identities and culture into books because they step away from the stereotypes that have plagued literature for decades.
Jerzie can sing, she can dance, and she can write music. All in all, Jerzie worked hard to be as unique as she is, and even more impressive is how supportive her family is. At only 16 years old, she can compose with the greats, and her hard work pays off for her.
Zeppelin is also a great character. First, it is remarkable that her star-crossed love is not the stereotypical white boy with all the looks. He comes from Italy and has an emotional connection to opera, one that connects to his mother. However, Davis could have spent a little more time developing the dynamics between Jerzie and Zeppelin. They have the chemistry to work with one another, but, as mentioned above, I wanted more from it.
Ultimately, Roman and Jewel were terrific. The foundation of the novel is incredible, and the approach Davis took in their storytelling is compelling. However, honestly, her hip-hopera deserves to see the stage lights, and when it does, I’ll be first in line to see that.
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|Pub Date: January 5, 2021||Page Count: 336pp||Age Range: 13 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-1-3350-7062-3||Publisher: Inkyard Press||List Price: $18.99|