My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I listened to this on audiobook, and I think that really made a difference to the story, hearing an entire cast of characters reading the dialogue. There was so much acting and expression put into every sentence that it made the story really come alive!
This is the tale of Juliet, who is a shy young teen with a literary and artistic family. When a mysterious woman gives her an enchanted amulet, every boy in town starts to fall in love with her. It’s up to Juliet and her new rodent friends from the Magic Shop to unravel the mystery of the amulet, and get Juliet out of the ancient love story she is doomed to relive.
First of all, I love stories that bring in the old Greek gods into modern settings (because of Percy Jackson). Secondly, I love stories with wise-cracking rats or mice. And thirdly, I love stories with strong family relationships with both a mother and father present and involved and actually parenting (instead of dead, divorced, or absent).
Juliet is a beautifully complex character who is NOT your stereotypical “shy person.” She is shy, but that is not ALL she is. And her painful shyness sometimes makes her react in unexpected ways. Like most shy people, she is terribly misunderstood, and her relationships with others are strained because of that. It was wonderful to see her growing and dealing with her fears. She’s incredibly intelligent and witty and altogether delightful!
My favorite character by far was Mr. Toe, the imaginary friend of Juliet’s baby sister, Clarice. When asked if he is a pinky toe, Clarice responds that he is a big. The many references to the invisible Mr. Toe made me laugh my head off! It was the perfect addition to this quirky and magical story. Mr. Toe likes to write letters. Mr. Toe only shakes hands with the neighbor boy and no one else. Mr. Toe will eat the vegetables that Clarice doesn’t like. As for his appearance (other than being a toe) Mr. Toe stands a foot tall, but whether or not he has eyes is an enigma. haha! Oh, it’s so adorable!
My second favorite characters are the rat duo, Jerome and Roxanne. Those two have the snappiest dialogue and great little one-liners! I love how courageous and full of fun they are, and how sensitive they are to Juliet’s needs. They stick by her through thick and thin, and show some street smarts within the world of magic too. Their origin story is weird and wacky, and they are hilarious!
I like the writing; it’s humorous and filled with great dialogue! The plot moves along wonderfully, with a supporting cast of interesting characters. There are several levels to the story happening at once, so it gives the plot some depth. It’s just good writing!