By: Leisa Rayven
Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet feature a modern day love story that really does showcase how linked love and hate can really be. I have decided to write a joint review as I feel the flow on affect between the two books allows for this to take place.
The book focuses on Cassandra Taylor and Ethan Holt both first year students at the prestigious drama school The Grove. This is where they encounter their undeniable chemistry and experience. It is the beginning of a love story fulfilled with so much passion and intensity.
We meet Cassandra (Cassie) an innocent, wide-eyed insecure girl from Washington who uses her acceptance into The Grove to embark on an individual journey of growth and self-discovery. Ethan Holt is young man with so many insecurities they seem to block his emotional maturity. Both of their traits combined provide an explosive journey of severe heartache and undeniably scars that will last a life time.
“We stand there for a few seconds, just breathing, and as we gaze into each other’s eyes, the air between us solidifies, connecting us like two parts of the same person.”
The books are written from Cassie’s perspective and they go backwards and forwards from past to present detailing the relationship between the two. Straight away, in Bad Romeo, we are aware that Ethan and Cassie are no longer together and what the past segments of the book do is detail their journey to their demise and ultimately shows the reader reasons why Cassie and Ethan are not together now.
Bad Romeo also shows Ethan’s determination to get Cassie back, it has been three years and he says that he has changed. As the book progresses we realise the blame of their demise lies solely with Ethan and this is why Cassie is so hesitant to get her heart involved with him again.
“I want things to be different. If you want me to apologise, I’ll do it until I lose my fucking voice. I just want things to be right between us. Talk to me. Help me fix this.”
Reading about their past allows us to witness a great love story that turns into tragedy; we experience the doubt, the heartache and the aftermath, right there along with Cassie and Ethan.
Towards the end of Bad Romeo we see Cassie slowly soften towards Ethan and a sliver of hope reveals itself. We are left hanging; will they ever get there happily ever after?
“In all your emails, why didn’t you ever say you loved me?”
“You never said it in any of them.”
Cassie, I did say it. All the time.”
“Of all the things I should have told you, that’s at the top of the goddamn list. But whether I said it in the emails or not, you have to know that I – I really do – “
Broken Juliet then picks up exactly where Bad Romeo ended. Literally, it’s like it was a short commercial break of your favourite show. We see a new side to the dynamic of Ethan and Cassie’s relationship. And as we are still taken backwards and forwards between the past and present, we continue our understanding of the reasons behind their breakup. It is with fresh eyes and the elimination of a heavy heart that we are able to process all that is Cassie and Ethan.
“Invite me in, I promise, I’m here to stay this time.”
In Broken Juliet, Ethan’s heart is open, vulnerable and ready for Cassie to take it. The book follows him on his quest to prove his sincerity to Cassie. To show the reader how much Ethan has changed, the past scenes are detailed with such emotion; that one cannot help but be immersed in the story line. Not only are we empathetic to Cassie and her bleeding and broken heart but we receive so much insight into Ethan’s inner thoughts, we can’t help but feel sadness and sorrow towards his insecurities and how much they influence him.
The book also shows a side to Cassie that was not been explored in Bad Romeo; how badly her life and her personality changed after her break up with Ethan.
“I had nothing to do with creating his trust issues, yet he’s the sole reason for all of mine.”
Once again Cassie is on a journey of self-discovery to work out how her heart and emotions can let go of the past and start fresh with Ethan. Cassie is willing but vulnerable. It seems that she and Ethan have now reversed roles and she is the one dealing with uncertainty. Regardless, she decides to listen to her heart and her head and take things slow with Ethan. Holding out hope that they both get their happily ever after
We just stand there for a while. Breathing each other in.
Still not fixed but far less broken.
As they tread new territory together, we witness their relationship blossom from hurt, repentant and anger into true, heartfelt, and undeniable love. The story and the characters contribute to an epic tale of love. The love that hurts; makes you scream, shout and want to curl up in the foetal position and cry for days. To the love that makes you so happy, you’re in a constant state of euphoria and bliss.
Ethan and Cassie are meant to be together and like any couple, their struggle was apparent but their capacity to forgive, love, change and compromise is what resonates with the reader. A love story like theirs makes you believe in soul mates and happy ever afters; even through the hard times.
“It’s the subtle shudder when you hear the other person’s name. The times when you
think about their smile and find it impossible to keep a straight face. It’s those small,
precious moments you wish they were with you, because nothing means anything
until you share it with them. More than passion and love alone, it’s that internal
alchemy that makes them apart of you.”