Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

Published by Aladdin

Summary:  Mattie is generally a behind-the-scenes kind of girl, but when her favorite teacher Mr. Torres announces that the eighth grade play will be Romeo and Juliet, she decides to join her two best friends in auditioning.  She proves to have more talent than she’s given herself credit for.  Originally cast as Paris, she gets moved into a starring role when the boy playing Romeo drops out.  She slowly comes to terms with the fact that she has a crush on Gemma, the girl playing Juliet, and struggles with revealing her feelings to both Gemma and her best friends.  After some awkward rehearsals (those kissing scenes!), the play goes off without a hitch, and the final pages at a school dance reveal that Mattie and Gemma aren’t the only ones thinking about romance.  277 pages; grades 5-8.

Pros:  A sweet and funny school story with a coming-out twist.  Mattie is a sympathetic character who is fortunate enough to have supportive friends and family.  Theater fans will enjoy the narrative about putting on a play and might even be tempted to try some Shakespeare.

Cons:  The cover makes the girls look like they’re about 11, but the content is a little more mature.

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