Roman and Jewel - Review
Updated: Jan 6, 2021
*I received this E-Arc from Inkyard Press. All reviews are my own.*
I will never understand how Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's worst plays, yet in the 21st Century, it is required reading in all English classes around. Who made this tragedy famous??? Anyway, I can't criticize it too much. If there weren't a Romeo and Juliet, there wouldn't be the new inspired novel, Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis.
Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway's hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead...and Jerzie is her understudy.
Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea--especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself. Star-crossed love always ends badly. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral, and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.
First, let's clear some things: Roman and Jewel IS NOT a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. If you're expecting a Leonardo DiCaprio version of the story, then you're going to have a rude awakening. Roman and Jewel is the name of a hip-hopera play the main character, Jerzie Jhames, is cast in. The readers barely see how the showcase turns out because it takes place during rehearsals and is not the story's focal point. Some soft examples mimic teenage love and rivalry in both features but don't expect death to be the final act.
Now that that warning advisory is out of the way, we can talk about the book. I expected more from the story. I figured there would be Broadway cattiness, devious plots to overthrow the leading lady, and a battle to see the best Juliet. Instead, I got a refreshing idea that there doesn't have to be a brutal competition to prove worth. Reading how Jerzie Jhames decided to take the high road and accept her position as a standby showed me that there isn't a stereotype with the competition. She was just happy to be a part of the production. Her entire world is about Broadway, and she gets giddy with excitement when she's in the zone, which makes her adorably goofy.
She gets goofier when she meets Zeppelin. I think their chemistry is cute. Never mind that Jerzie is 16 and Zeppelin is 19 and "in love." Robert Kelly, aka R. Kelly, is in jail for one of these reasons, and entertainment keeps glorifying inappropriate-aged teenage romance as "true love." Even though I don't think they are going to last (trust issues are a huge factor in the story), I believe they have the potential to grow together.
I rate Roman and Jewel 3-stars. I can see young teenagers being inspired by Jerzie's character and falling in love with Zeppelin. 15-year-olds would love it.
Roman and Jewel debuts on January 5, 2021.