Saturday, 15 April 2017

Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin - Book Review

This is a spoiler free review.

Ronit & Jamil
Written by Pamela L. Laskin
Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Poetry
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 21, 2017
Pages: 192
Source: Library
Places to Get this Book: Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

Recommended Age: 13 and up!


Pamela L. Laskin’s beautiful and lyrical novel in verse delivers a fresh and captivating retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet that transports the star-crossed lovers to the modern-day Israel-Palestine conflict.

Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.

The teenage lovers fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can only be kept secret for so long. Ronit and Jamil must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.


I read this book really quickly and I am really disappointed with it which wasn't fair cause I was really looking forward to it. I mean, this is the kind of story that we've been waiting for but it didn't deliver what it promised. It promised a beautiful lyrical book which was a Romeo and Juliet retelling about love that would defy everything else. While it was lyrical and was a Romeo and Juliet retelling, it really didn't have what it promised.


The cover is gorgeous and really shows the separation that is between both sides. I also love how they didn't make them white so that POC appreciation on the cover is on point and I am all for that. I partially judged this book for its gorgeous cover.


It gives us a little bit of background on the conflict in the Middle East but not really enough if you don't already know the issue and what is going on.

Then there are the characters.


Ronit is an Israeli girl and Jamil is a Palestinian boy which means they aren't supposed to interact according to their families. They could have been intriguing characters if they were given a little bit more depth and thoughts other than of each other and what would happen if they were together [which for the record is basically all they think about]. Their thoughts and feelings are also very simplistic when they should have been more complex.

I do think that if they were characters in a full length novel, I would have been able to like them a bit more.


They do mention family a little bit in this book, for instance what the family would do/think if they knew about Ronit and Jamil's relationship and how they do react once they figure out who exactly their child is talking to. But they don't really display family in a good light which is something that I was also not pleased with.


The plot is rather generic and similar to the plot of the original story, Romeo and Juliet, in which they meet [or rather see each other across the room] and then they are automatically 'in love' [which is something I never quite understood]. The plot is simple, with both characters wanting to escape their prejudiced lives and go somewhere where they can be together and not be judged.

The plot could have given the Israeli/Palestinian issue a little bit more page-time in order for readers to clearly get the gist of it and understand where these characters are coming from. That was another complaint I had with it. I really wanted the issue to be showcased properly and while it was there, it wasn't well explained.


The relationship of this book was very much the main focus which was a little awkward. There wasn't much depth to the romance at all which is sometimes okay if the rest of the plot has depth and is more important than the romance but in this story the romance is the main focus. It also seems like the romance isn't about actual love and is more infatuation.


The lyrical writing was one of the things that I actually liked about the book. It was refreshing to see a Young Adult book written in poetry, which is something you don't see often.


I gave this a low rating because of the lack of depth it gives the characters and the overall plotline. It has such an interesting premise and it could have been a lot better than it was. I don't recommend it myself but try it because you may like it yourself. I like the poetry style and I enjoy that it is about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict but that is about it. I am sorry to say that I didn't enjoy this book.

Quotes from the Book:

None at this time.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Crowns

1 comment:

  1. I agree, the whole "love story" was a whirl of confusion.