Title: Falling For Hamlet
Author: Michelle Ray
Amount of Pages: 348
Release Date: July 5, 2011
Geared Towards: Teens
From: Publisher (Review Copy)
Extra Info: This is a modern adaption of Hamlet
Summary (From B.O.B): Meet Ophelia, high school senior, daughter of the Danish king's most trusted adviser, and longtime girlfriend of Prince Hamlet. She lives in a glamorous life and has a royal social circle, and her beautiful face is splashed across magazines and TV screens. But all this comes with a price-her life is ruled not only by Hamlet's fame and his overbearing royal family but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go.
After the sudden and suspicious death of his father, the king, Hamlet spirals dangerously toward madness, and Ophelia finds herself torn, with no one to turn to. All she wants is to live a normal life. But will that ever be possible when her boyfriend is royalty?
In this stunning contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view, debut author Michelle Ray brilliantly weaves togehter old and new-and introduces some surprises along the way.
Wdebo's Review: I discovered this book last year when I started reading Hamlet for my AP Lit class. When I was given the opportunity to review this book, I could not wait and jumped at the opportunity. Though I found this book enjoyable and did like the concept but it was nothing too memorable.
I really enjoyed how this book is from Ophelia's point of view. The thing that annoyed me about Hamlet was the weakeness in the female characters, especially Ophelia. She is always relying on the men in her life and falls apart because of them. But with the Ophelia in Falling For Hamlet, she has adopted a modern teenage air to her which is very refreshing. Though she is weak at times, she is still willing to stand up for herself and throw out a few sarcastic phrases while she's at it.
I also liked reading from Ophelia's point of view because in the Shakespeare's version it just sort of glosses over Ophelia's actions after she slips into madness and suddenly throws out that she commits suicide. With Falling For Hamlet all the action is explained and it just felt much more satisfying for me (Even though it was modernized, and probably not what Shakespeare was going for...oh wells....).
Each chapter is divided into three parts: Ophelia's description of the story, a police questioning and also her appearance on a talk show. I liked the division, it creates three different ways of looking at the story, but I wished the order could have been reveresed at time, instead of having it be, TV appearance, story then questioning. If it was switched up, it could have added some variety to the story.
The writing itself was good, but it just felt kind of average. I was interested but not so immersed in it that I could not put it down. Towards the last hundred pages, I was just having so much trouble motivating myself to finish it. Though when I started reading it, the last few hundred pages went by pretty fast. Right after finishing it though, instead of feeling sad that it was over, I felt relieved that it was finally over.
Though the characters were entertaining, they did not have much depth to them. They were pretty one-dimensional, as opposed to ol' Willy's version of the characters. In the Shakespeare version there were just so many ambiguities and conflicting beliefs surrounding each of the characters. Even though I personally dislike Hamlet, that was one of the elements about the play that I admired, his ability to create such complex characters. But with Ray's verison, what you see was what you get, the characters themselves were not that interesting to read about, very generic YA characters.
Cafe Cover Chat: I really like the cover, the black and white picture of Ophelia and Hamlet and the bright color of the throne really creates a sharp contrast between the two. It pulls the viewer's sight to the throne, showing just how magnetic becoming royalty is. (B+)
All in all, though it was not the best written book out there, Falling For Hamlet creates a fresh approach for modern teens to look at the timeless classic Hamlet.