Since Shakespeare’s time, there have been several retellings of Romeo and Juliet. These retellings vary in degree on how loose the adaptations are. Some use a different set of characters or outcomes, while others set the story in another time period, and some even feature different rivalling forces.
But with so many different adaptations, it can be hard to filter out which books are the best. Lucky for you, that’s why we’re here!
From a modern rendition to one filled with pirates, here are our favourite retellings of the infamous star-crossed duo.
Still Star-crossed by Melinda Taub
First on our list is Melinda Taub’s Still Star-crossed. Set a few weeks after the ending of Romeo and Juliet, we see the Montagues and Capulets still at odds with each other thanks to the efforts of an unknown person working in the shadows.
In an attempt to prevent a potential civil war, Prince Escalus devises a plan to merge the two houses into one: marriage between Juliet’s cousin, Rosaline and Romeo’s cousin, Benvolio.
Unsurprisingly enough, the couple disagree and instead choose to work together to capture the mysterious person who is sowing seeds of hatred between the two families. But as their investigation progresses, the two discover more about each other and gradually fall in love.
While not everyone is a fan of the original story, we highly recommend Melinda Taub’s interpretation of what happened after the events in Romeo and Juliet. Not only will you be at the edge of your seat the entire time due to the plot twists, but you’ll also fall in love with the characters. We guarantee it.
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
Ever wondered how different Romeo and Juliet would be if it were set in the 21st century? Would Romeo bother with poetry to win over Juliet or resort to using emojis? Would family feuds still be a thing? Well, lucky for you, Jenn Bennett’s Starry Eyes paints a vivid picture of just that—complete with the Californian versions of the Montagues and Capulets!
Zorie and Lennon were best friends on their way to becoming something more but one homecoming dance later, the two became each other’s worst enemy. To make matters worse, their families hate each other’s guts. However, when a group camping trip went south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in California’s Wilderness.
With nothing but the clothes on their back and each other, they must find their way back to civilisation, face off against the dangers of the wild and worst of all, talk to each other.
Filled with cute banter and snarky remarks, Starry Eyes is a modern take on what Romeo and Juliet would be like if they existed today.
Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North
Up to this point, you might be wondering, “Where are the pirates you promised us?”
Don’t worry, we’ve saved the best for last! Introducing Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North, the perfect book for those who enjoy choosing their own version of the classic story. Yes, in this choose-your-own-path book, you get to decide where the story goes every time you read!
Filled with beautiful illustrations, wacky narrations and a wide variety of endings such as Romeo getting the girl and a giant metal suit that fires flaming arrows out of its palm, or Juliet becoming the head of a major world religion, this book will keep you entertained for a very long time. Unless of course, you make the exact same choices for your next playthrough. (But who does that…)
That sums up our list of the best retellings of Romeo and Juliet and so as Juliet said in Romeo and Juliet:
“Good night, good night! Parting is such a sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.”