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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas


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Every Book Has a Silver Lining: Ronit and Jamil

Christina Huang
In this weekly review, Every Book has a Silver Lining, staff reporter Christina Huang takes a look at books to find their silver lining.

Set in modern times, Ronit & Jamil, a Romeo and Juliet retelling by Pamela L. Laskin found itself in the middle of the Israel-Palestine conflict—and lowly rated reviews. Separated by the Israeli West Bank Barrier, Ronit and Jamil, an Israeli girl and Palestinian boy, tell their story from the moment they first met.

As a verse novel, almost every page acts as a chapter with alternating perspectives. For some, the parallels between each chapter were incredibly entertaining, as readers often got to see the same(or a similar) scenario being played out in each viewpoint. However, some readers critiqued the time they spent on each page, attempting to decipher whose point of view each chapter—identical in character voice—was about.

Yet in the eyes of others, the similarities in character voice seemed to be purposeful, adding another layer of depth to show that although raised differently and

Staying true to the original Romeo and Juliet, their interest begins the moment they lay eyes on each other. Further, just like Romeo and Juliet, the couple’s immediate devotion to each other is questioned. Their interest, for many readers, came across as very surface-level, making their eagerness to throw everything away—especially at this point in their lives—unbelievable.

On the other hand, the amount of time between chapters is left uncertain, and ages considered, their initial interest isn’t entirely inconceivable. Nonetheless, their plans seem to entail nothing permanent or lasting, hinting at infatuation rather than love.

In the eyes of some readers, the conflict itself was glossed over and certain details were neglected, failing to bring attention to the rare subject in literary fiction. Being told from both viewpoints created it into an opportunity to expand on the conflict, but instead, many felt that the conflict was dismissed, none of Ronit or Jamil’s doubts about each other being discussed thoroughly before it was brushed aside, no chance to even truly discuss the topics amongst themselves.

The format may have made reading more difficult for some readers as well. As well as quoting Romeo and Juliet at times, the book adds somewhat frequent superscripts. However, especially for online readers, going back to decipher each and every one proved to be difficult for some.

The story being in verse, for some readers, didn’t seem necessary. Forming a deep bond between reader and character can be difficult, even more so when the character isn’t given the opportunity to truly be known. With this considered, many called it out as a poor stylistic choice. Nonetheless, Ronit & Jamil provided a fresh, creative take on a popular tragedy that stuck out to some readers as an eye-opening story that exposed them to the tension that may be dismissed in the everyday lives of readers and Young Adult fiction.

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About the Contributor
Christina Huang
Christina Huang, Staff Reporter/Interactive Media Editor
Christina Huang is a sophomore in her first year officially with Wingspan. She enjoys reading, writing, playing the piano and viola, and finding/creating wallpapers for her phone which she will likely never use. She’s looking forward to the opportunity to better her writing and find the good in scorned books this year through her book blog: Every Book Has a Silver Lining. Contact Christina:

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