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What’s My Line Again?

Memorize your lines and try not to fall off the balcony while you read through Romeo and What’s Her Name from debut author Shani Petroff.

What’s My Line Again?

BOOK REPORT for Romeo and What’s Her Name by Shani Petroff

Cover Story: Passing Notes
BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Disney Channel Original Movie
Bonus Factors: Best Friends, Shakespeare
Relationship Status: Set Painter

Cover Story: Passing Notes

This cover brings to mind handwritten notes with doodles in the margins, or, in modern day terms, texting under your desk while your Spanish teacher is looking the other way. It’s cutesy and fun at the time, but you won’t really remember the contents of your convos come lunch.

The Deal:

Let’s set the scene: Emily has a pretty good life, but there’s one thing she’s never worked up the courage to ask for: a date with Wes Rosenthal, the cutest, sweetest, and all-around nice guy of their high school. When she learns that Wes plans on trying out as Romeo in a Shakespeare scene for English extra credit, Emily realizes this is the perfect opportunity to get close to her crush and possibly even have to kiss him (the director said so!).

But enter stage left: Amanda, resident Mean Girl and newly single, with her eye on Romeo, and, unfortunately for Emily, she can actually act. After Amanda wins the role of Juliet, Emily agrees to be her understudy in a desperate attempt to stay near Wes. Everyone knows the understudy never really has to perform…right?

BFF Charm: Yay

What is there to say about Emily? I want to call her a “typical” teenage girl, though I know that there is no such thing. A typical stereotype of a teenage girl, maybe? She’s not popular, but she’s not a social outcast. She’s got confidence enough to try out for the school play, but not enough to ask out a boy she likes. She’s responsible enough to hold a job, but she also does silly things like shopping cart Olympics in the parking lot. All in all, she seems like a great friend to have in high school, the kind your parents wouldn’t mind staying over for dinner. She may require a bit of hand-holding when the topic of her love life comes up, but she does reciprocate, so it’s not a one-sided friendship. Even though she felt a bit “typical”, I liked her.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

Emily has been in love with Wes since they were little, and I can totally see why; in fact, I’d have a crush on him too if I were in her shoes. He’s giving her some mixed messages, though, and it’s stressing Emily out—is he interested interested in her, or is he just being nice by offering her a ride home? Their interactions are light and sweet, and this took me back to my teenage days when I had an unrequited crush and over analyzed every moment. 

Talky Talk: Disney Channel Original Movie

This was a cute, very quick read. I could easily imagine this as one of those Disney Original Movies, like Zenon or Cadet Kelly, with an adorably perky cast and a zippy soundtrack playing over a montage here and there. Some parts are a little silly, some are refreshingly honest, and it all skims the surface of what we imagine high school life is like. You won’t be finding any gritty realism here, but that’s okay. We all need a little Disney Channel sometimes.

Bonus Factor: Best Friends

Emily’s besties are super supportive about her relationship woes, but, thankfully, that wasn’t the only thing they were there for. All three are involved in the play (Jill as the director, and Kate as the costume designer—where is my BFF who can sew? Emily is, at least, aware and properly grateful that she has such a talented friend) and we see them cheering each other on throughout. Plus, Jill immediately earned my BFF charm with this line:

“A cute guy who likes to read is, like, a major turn-on for Jill.”

Me too, Jill. Me too.

Bonus Factor: Shakespeare

Let’s just put it out there that Emily is not a Shakespeare stan. Math and science make a lot more sense to her than “thees” and “thous”, and her ignorance of Shakespeare’s language comes into play in a funny and embarrassing way. She also says that Romeo and Juliet are supposed to be one of the most romantic couples of all time, which definitely tells me that she’s never read—or at least comprehended—the whole play.

Casting Call:

Joey King as Emily

Timothee Chalamet as Wes

Relationship Status: Set Painter

I see you out there practicing your lines, Book. You’re cute the way you stumble through your monologue, but I think it’s charming. You could use a little more polish before you’re ready to really shine in the spotlight, but I’m glad we got to know each other a bit better while working on this project.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Swoon Reads. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. Romeo and What’s Her Name is available now.

Stephanie Johnston's photo About the Author: Stephanie is an avid reader who moonlights as a college Educational Advisor. Though she now calls Orlando home, she grew up all over the U.S. Aside from her obsession with YA books and book-related activities, Stephanie loves watching way too much television, reading organizational/DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.