Romiette and Julio

Romiette and Julio

Romiette is African-American and Julio is Latino and they have fallen in love. The relationship is threatened by those who do not feel comfortable with interracial dating. They find themselves going against the Devildogs, a gang that wants to destroy their acceptance of each other and chooses to do so with violence. This story will ring true to any teen whose parent disapproves of the boyfriend or girlfriend they have chosen. Will true love prevail?

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Sixteen-year-old Romiette Cappelle attends high school in Cincinatti. She is the only daughter of a local news anchor and his wife, Lady Brianna, who owns a boutique that features African clothing, art and jewelry. Sixteen-year-old Julio Montague is angry over having recently moved from his beloved Corpus Christi, Texas, where he swam and sailed in the Gulf of Mexico to the gray, cold city of Cincinnati.

Ironically, Julio's parents had fled Texas because of gang pressure on their only son. But there are gangs in Cincinnati and Julio soon finds himself eyed by the Devil Dogs. The intimidation by the gang ratchets up, however, once they discover that Hispanic Julio and Romiette, who is black have fallen in love.

Initially, this modern retelling of Romeo and Juliette seemed intriguing, but it soon became strained. Narration by the amazing Sisi Aisha Johnson kept me in the story. Had I been reading with my eyes instead of my ears, I would most likely have abandoned the book. Some of the parallels to Romeo and Juliet were beautifully done, others were forced. There were just too many plot holes and too much naivete in the main characters for me to swallow. Ultimately, I just didn't buy the gang's actions. I also didn't buy into the whole bobbing on the lake scenario - jumping from the boat seconds before it's fried by a lightning strike, surviving in frigid, early spring lake water, surviving the hypothermia once on land. The resolution and the gang intimidation seemed too pat, too Afterschool Special to me.

This one was not for me.

320 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0689842092

Reviewed by:  Brenda Kahn, Librarian, New Jersey, USA

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