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The Juliet Spell

Cover of The Juliet Spell

The Juliet Spell

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I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it--even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn't get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren't any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I'd cast the next best--a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William's younger brother.

Good thing he's sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and--ahem--maybe a little bit hot. But he's from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him--cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed....


I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it--even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn't get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren't any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I'd cast the next best--a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William's younger brother.

Good thing he's sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and--ahem--maybe a little bit hot. But he's from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him--cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed....
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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    "Miranda Hoberman."

    That was me. My turn. My chance. My audition. Now. With all the cool I could muster, which felt like exactly none, I left my seat and climbed up onto the stage.

    Down in the front row, Mr. Gillinger glared at me, looked at my audition sheet and glared at me again.

    "You're reading for Juliet?" he drawled in his deep voice.

    "Yes," I gulped.

    "Very well, go ahead."

    Bobby Ruspoli grinned, sizing me up. He was already Romeo, and everyone knew it. It just hadn't been announced, yet. Mr. Gillinger would post his name along with the rest of the cast on the theater office door tomorrow or the next day. But we all knew he was Romeo before the play was ever announced, the way people in drama know who's going to get what, when the fix is in. So with that weight off his mind, handsome Bobby was checking out every girl who might be his Juliet.

    As if I wasn't nervous enough. As if I hadn't been studying this part every day since it had been announced that we were doing Romeo and Juliet. As if I hadn't spent the last week lying awake nights worrying and thinking about how to do this moment better, I had to have Bobby checking out my boobs and butt. As if2--

    "Begin," Mr. Gillinger commanded.

    Bobby shrugged, inhaled, the way he'd seen real actors do in some of the acting DVDs we'd watched in class, and announced:

    "He jests at scars that never felt a wound."

    Then he looked up, like I was hanging from one of the Fresnel lamps that were glaring down on us, instead of standing right in front of him, shaking.

    "But soft! What light is this that through yonder window breaks?

    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

    Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,

    Who is already sick and pale with grief

    That thou her maid art far more fair than she..."

    He rattled off the next nineteen lines of the speech exactly the way he had done them all afternoon, racing down to:

    "O that I were a glove upon thy hand, that I might touch that cheek."

    My turn. My line: "Ay me!"

    I know, it sounds lame. But I said it like I wanted to die. Because that's how Juliet feels right then. But had it been too much?

    Bobby went on, "She speaks."

    Out in the auditorium, someone giggled.

    Bobby continued.

    "Oh, speak again, bright angel, for thou art

    As glorious to this night, being o'er my head,

    As is a winged messenger of heaven

    Unto the white upturned wond'ring eyes

    Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him,

    When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds

    And sails upon the bosom of the air."

    Me again. My first real line in the scene. The one everybody knows--usually wrong: "O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?"

    You probably thought Juliet was asking where Romeo is, right? Wrong. She has no idea he's anywhere around. He's just been thrown out of the party her father was giving. He's gone. She's asking why the guy's name has to be Romeo, and the next lines make that clear.

    "Deny thy father and refuse thy name;

    Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,

    And I'll no longer be a Capulet."

    "Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this?" Bobby asked the invisible balcony where Juliet was supposed to be standing.

    Me:

    "'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;

    Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.

    What's a Montague?--"

    "Thank you," Mr. Gillinger said. Like he was saying "Thank you for shutting up now, please."

    "Auh?" I said. I was kind of surprised. That was an awfully short audition.

    "Let's see. Next. Vivian Brandstedt. Also Juliet,...

About the Author-
  • Douglas Rees has written a wide range of titles for young readers, including humor, historical fiction, and picture books. He holds several awards, including the Nutmeg State Award for young adult fiction. When he isn't writing for kids, he works with them as a young adult librarian. He lives in the San Francisco Bay area with his wife, Jo, who is the model for the outgoing, lycanthropic librarian in the Vampire High novels.
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The Juliet Spell
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Douglas Rees
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