Just Juliet (#1) by Charlotte Reagan

Published: 17th September 2016 Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Inkitt
Pages: 224
Format: eBook
Genre: Young Adult
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Juliet represents the road less travelled. Will Lena take it? 

Lena Newman is 17, her best friend’s a cheerleader, her boyfriend’s a football player, and as far as everyone is concerned, her life is sorted. But that’s before she befriends the new girl. Juliet is confident, slightly damaged, drop-dead gorgeous and a lesbian. 

Lena realizes that her interest goes beyond just friendship. She sets off on a path of self-discovery where the loyalty of those closest to her will be tested. 

I am in love with this book. It’s not perfect but it makes you feel warm and fuzzy and as a person who doesn’t like super romancey stuff, this is a sweet and adorable romance and it makes you all squishy inside.

The story takes place over the final year of high school for Lena and her friends. From the first day of school through the weeks and months Reagan progresses the story through the year, often jumping time. It doesn’t feel rushed but it keeps a good pace, the whirlwind of new friends and a budding romance pulls you along comfortably.

I liked how Reagan uses Juliet and a focal point from the get go. She’s the thing that’s caught Lena’s eye and it starts the story with intrigue and interest. From there we enter Lena’s world and discover her friends and her family and her discovery about who she really is.

Lena’s exploration about her own attraction and sexuality is slow and believable, having gone through 17 years of thinking one way it’s a lot to process when you start thinking another. I enjoyed this slowness between Lena and Juliet, it’s a great progression from friend to girlfriend and with self discovery thrown in the mix it’s bound to take some time. I liked that Reagan allowed Lena time to be confused and to be uncertain, and having a confidant to explore her feelings.

There are some excellent characters to fall in love with. Lakyn, Scott and Juliet are great, complex characters and people who Lena feels a connection with, something with Reagan brings across in her writing. I often felt that Juliet, Lakyn and Scott were more developed characters than Lena’s existing friends. Even though I understand we focus on them a lot more and have time to develop their characters, having these other friends as a featured part of the story meant they had a role to play in Lena’s life. Best friend Lacey is a full enough character, her personality is a curious choice but Reagan makes it work. But there are side characters in Georgia and Kiki who get almost no personality or story. They are portrayed as being slightly disinterested in Lena’s life I think to save them having to be fleshed out, but Reagan gives us Georgia, who we get an almost throwaway sentence that she is a teen mum and I found myself wanting to know more about her, where is this baby boy? How is she coping and wouldn’t her friends be more interested in how her kid is? I wanted her story as well. I don’t need it in a new book, though I wouldn’t say no, but I just wanted her more fleshed out because Reagan gave her such a big story. Compared to Kiki who gets no real drawcard or any depth and so I wanted nothing from her but honestly, I often forgot about them both.

Characters I did love were Lakyn and Scott. I loved those boys so much and from the moment they’re introduced I felt connected to them. Their fun relationship is adorable to see and while Lena and Juliet were wonderful as well, there is a delightful charm about those boys that made me smile.

There are a few tough topics briefly discussed such as drug use, and a brief discussion about suicide, but it isn’t the focus of the story and instead helps to expand on characters and their lives. Reagan is also clear on how talking is important and seeking professional help has changed things for the better so nothing is glorified but neither is it dismissed.

A small thing I loved was the chapter headings. They are done in the wonderful style of phrases and sentences which not only relate to the chapter events, but are also said by characters. It was a clever change from an overall title, or basic numerals. Another things Reagan did really well was the ending. In an epilogue but not an epilogue way she manages to wrap up all these characters lives in a lovely way that feels true to the people we’ve come to know.

I’m really glad I picked this book up because not only does it have wonderfully real characters, but it has diversity and challenges that are relatable to everyone, even if they aren’t teenagers.

You can purchase Just Juliet via the following

 Amazon | Amazon Aust | Wordery | Book Bub

Angus & Robertson | Book Depository

 Fishpond | B&N | Publisher | Audible

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: JJ: Blog Reviews – Charlotte Reagan
  2. Ally
    Sep 27, 2018 @ 21:34:30

    Just Juliet sounds amazing! ❤

    Like

    Reply

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