The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life
Author: Dani Jansen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary ~ LGBTQ+
Imprint: Second Story Press
On-Sale: September 22, 2020
Pages: 304 pages
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Alison Green, desperate valedictorian-wannabe, agrees to produce her school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That’s her first big mistake. The second is accidentally saying Yes to a date with her oldest friend, Jack, even though she’s crushing on Charlotte. Alison manages to stay positive, even when her best friend starts referring to the play as “Ye Olde Shakespearean Disaster.” Alison must cope with the misadventures that befall the play if she’s going to survive the year. She’ll also have to grapple with what it means to be “out” and what she might be willing to give up for love.
About The Author
Dani Jansen is a teacher and writer who lives in Montreal. She should probably be embarrassed to admit that she has performed as part of her school’s Glee Club for eight years. She should probably also be ashamed to tell people that she named her cats after punctuation symbols (Ampersand and Em-Dash, in case you’re curious).
Much thanks to TBR and Beyond Book Tours for sending me a copy for review and for inviting me to be a part of this tour. This review is voluntary and opinions are fully my own. Also, all quotes are taken from the ARC and may or may not appear in the final published copy.
Simplicity Is The Way To Go
As a self-confessed theater nerd, I never want to miss opportunities like this, where I am exposed to stories revolving around another thing that I love. Just by the title alone, I knew that this read will be about organizing a play, and with that alone, I was sold.
In this story, we dive into the life of Alison. In her quest to reach valedictorian, she ended becoming the producer for her school’s presentation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream – without having any prior experience! I loved this concept, as I, too, had to produce and direct Romeo & Juliet in 10th grade.
This book is a truly fun read – and if you’re looking for something light and fluffy this is the read for you. The author does not bombard their readers with heavy drama and just normal teenage problems like friendship and crushes.
It also touches the story of being a teen lesbian. She is out to people close to her but not to the entire school. And now that she is crushing on someone, she is contemplating the concept of being “out” and labeling her sexuality.
Another thing I have to admit, she can be frustrating at times with the decisions that she makes. But at the end of the day, I had to credit it to the fact that she is still young – and we all did stuff that we regret at that age, too.
My concern in this story is that it seems to follow this formula on creating characters, so it felt like they are just flat and cliche. The books is also slower in pacing and I think that it could’ve given a better story if the F/F romance was allowed to flourish a little early on.
Final Thoughts: For Lovers of Fluff
Overall, this is a quick and fun read perfect for the younger YA audience and anyone looking to have a break from heavy reads.
My Book Rating Breakdown
Significant Other: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆
Final Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (3.5/5)
My Favorite Quotes
The thing about best friends is that they know how you’re feeling just by looking at your face even when you think you’re doing a good job of hiding your emotions.
Yes, everybody has to wonder if the person they like likes them back. But when you’re gay, you have to first wonder whether or not that person even likes your gender.
“I was “Average Teenager” from any highschool movie produced in the past five decades.”
“Sometimes the hardest thing to learn is how to be okay with things as they are.”
Enter for a chance to win Two Finished Copies of The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life. The giveaway ends on September 15th!