When You Were Mine by Rebecca Searle, published by Simon and Schuster April 2012
Rosaline has been best friends with Rob since they were little kids. Recently, something deeper and more electric has entered their friendship, and when Rob returns after the summer break and asks Rosaline on a sort-of date, it seems they are destined to become a couple, just as Rosaline always knew they would be. The next day at school, a mysterious, beautiful girl arrives: Rosaline's long-lost cousin, Juliet. And suddenly it looks as if Rosaline might be about to lose her best friend AND her new boyfriend…
As soon as I heard about 'When You Were Mine' I knew I wanted to read it. 'Romeo and Juliet' is one of my favourite plays so I was incredibly intrigued to see if Rebecca Searle could pull off a story about Romeo's first love Rosaline, whilst also transporting the action to a modern-day high school setting. Saying that, the best way to approach this book is to throw away all your preconceptions of Shakespeare's original so you can truly appreciate the clever twists that Searle adds to the story.
Rosaline Caplet is in love with her next door neighbour Rob Monteg. They've been best friends for years but lately there's been something more than friendship between them. However, just when Rose thinks she's snagged her perfect guy, her pretty cousin Juliet who she hasn't seen in ten years arrives on the scene and suddenly she's not the only one that Rob has eyes for.
What was great about this book was that instead of rooting for Juliet and Rob, I actually quite disliked Juliet and yet loved Rosaline, or Rose as she's known to her friends. Searle managed to breathe new life into her character and show us what happened before Juliet appeared in the picture. Rose's emotions were perfectly expressed and they ran the full gamult from the butterflies of a crush, to the pangs of first love, to heartbreak and utter devastation, as well as hope and strength.
Rose has two fabulous friends in the story, Charlie and Olivia. I liked Charlie in particular who is the kind of best friend you dream of having. She and Rose are always there for each other through thick and thin and she seems more like a sister to Rose than a friend. The message of the book was clear, that it's not always blood relatives but sometimes the people you know and the friends you make who can be closer to you than your own family.
The ending was one I was expecting but still found unbelievably tragic. Mixed in with the sadness however was new hope for the future and new beginnings.
'When You Were Mine' is a sweet, irrisistible read about the pangs of first love and learning to embrace the new. I would highly recommend it if you're looking for a contemporary romance with a twist.