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Roman and Jewel

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If Romeo and Juliet got the Hamilton treatment...who would play the leads? This is the story of a girl who thinks she has what it takes...and the world thinks so, too.

Jerzie Jhames will do anything to land the lead role in Broadway's hottest new show, Roman and Jewel, a Romeo and Juliet inspired hip-hopera featuring a diverse cast and modern twists on the play. But her hopes are crushed when she learns mega-star Cinny won the lead...and Jerzie is her understudy.

Falling for male lead Zeppelin Reid is a terrible idea--especially once Jerzie learns Cinny wants him for herself. Star-crossed love always ends badly. But when a video of Jerzie and Zepp practicing goes viral and the entire world weighs in on who should play Jewel, Jerzie learns that while the price of fame is high, friendship, family, and love are priceless.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published January 5, 2021

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Dana L. Davis

11 books247 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 231 reviews
Profile Image for jenny✨.
563 reviews803 followers
September 10, 2020
I’ve never had my heart broken, but I’d imagine this is how it feels: being utterly let down by a book you’d pinned so many of your 2020 hopes and dreams on.

First: I was promised a hip-hopera musical retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a diverse cast. That sounds badass. That sounds amazing. Hamilton meets West Side Story by way of YA fiction… that’s gotta be one of the BEST things I’ve heard in a long time.

But there’s hardly a musical. Only the barebones: the names of a few songs, a sentence here or there about the storyline. Instead, most of the book is dedicated to Jerzie and Zeppelin's love at first sight, and Cinny’s petty exploits—which is SUCH a shame, because the parts about the musical, though few, were pretty freakin’ awesome. (I am a big fan of Robert Christian Ruiz, AKA Lin-Manuel Miranda’s fictional avatar.)

Next: I was promised a story that was going to be vividly funny, honest, charming—and above all, romantic. Instead I was handed lacklustre dialogue, a haplessly lovesick protagonist, over-the-top gushing and swooning, and a love interest meant to be sweet/hot/intriguing but who I found honestly kinda insufferable.

And I’m not even going to touch Cinny, who is a total cliché of a pampered celeb-villainess. She has a , but I’m still annoyed with how shallow her character was made out to be.

What takes the cake (and killed all chance for a shippable romance) was one of the worst cases of instalove I’ve read in a long, long time. Like probably since 2011, when I could still stomach this stuff. Y’all, Jerzie and Zeppelin are a hot mess. She calls him her "anti-gravity" and "forever until eternity" within an hour of meeting him. And the mushy language only gets WORSE as the book progresses.


That being said, I thought Jerzie’s habit of touching her cheeks when she’s embarrassed was so goshdarn CUTE. And in the moments where Zepp’s out of the picture and Jerzie talks about her fierce love for musicals and New York, her dream to be on Broadway to move people, the way she felt when she first heard “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret... Those were some genuinely beautiful moments.

Some of the best bits, though, involve Jerzie’s brother, Judas (the Wall Street-obsessed, anti-capitalist goofball who’s got her back) and her Aunt Karla (kickass and no-nonsense and SO much fun). Aunt K’s filled with sage tidbits that I’ve hoarded, including:
• Age nineteen is really only about eleven in boy years
• The best way to deal with jealousy is to accept what’s yours and honour what’s theirs
• Names become amazing because they’re attached to amazing people—so don’t change your name, change your trajectory
• A boy/man is not a destiny, but a Broadway show DEFINITELY is

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re a fan of Nicola Yoon and insta-lovey fluff, you’ll probably like this more than I did. Meanwhile I’m just gonna sit here in my blanket burrito, ogling Roman and Jewel’s coverporn, mourning this book for all it could have been.

Thank you NetGalley and Inkyard Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!


netgalley just approved an ARC and i'm truly freaking out. TRULY. 4 days ago i was lusting after this hip hopera modern-day retelling of romeo and juliet, resigning myself to its 2021 pub date... today i've begun reading it


this is everything i never knew i needed AKA i just realized my life will be utterly incomplete until january 2021
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,077 reviews13.3k followers
February 9, 2021
This book started out so good with Jerzie being the understudy for Cinny, a famous singer, in the production of Roman and Jewel. Jerzie has to stand in for Cinny for a scene and has amazing chemistry with Zeppelin, the guy who plays Roman. The video goes viral and fans go crazy over Zeppelin and Jerzie's chemistry. I really enjoyed the scene of Jerzie and Zeppelin acting and singing and dancing together, but that was really the only scene we got of the actual play rehearsal. I really wanted much more of that atmosphere and it was just lost after that initial scene. Sure Jerzie talks about musicals a lot, but the rest of the book is Jerzie sitting around at rehearsals and not really doing a whole lot.

When it came to the romance, it heavily relied on insta-love and Jerzie being obsessed with Zeppelin. Jerzie reads very juvenile and throws away a lot of opportunities and trust just to be with Zeppelin. The villain of the story was very one-dimensional and so predictable that I wasn't shocked at all by anything they did. Everything that happened just felt one-dimensional and I didn't really feel invested in the characters, the romance, or the journey of the play. While the premise had potential and the beginning was engaging, this one just missed the mark for me.
Profile Image for Melanie (mells_view).
1,710 reviews332 followers
January 5, 2021
A modern theatrical Romeo and Juliet retelling, inside of a modern Romeo and Juliet retelling. Roman and Jewel is the updated HFN version of this story that I didn’t realize that I needed. Everyone knows that I’m a sucker for tragedy and angst, but Roman and Jewel provides a bit of both while still being a fun YA contemporary romance.

We meet Jerzie Jhames as a normal teen. Well a normal teen about to be in a Broadway production, who is an insanely talented singer, and has an incredible knowledge of music theory. What she doesn’t know is that her role in Roman and Jewel is going to bring her to the love of her life. Yes, this book has young instalove, BUT it is a Romeo and Juliet retelling, what were you expecting to happen here? While the love story and the obstacles in the way of Jerzie and her Roman run loosely parallel to the original story, the rest of Jerzie’s path from normal talented girl to IG celebrity and Broadway famous is it’s very own. There’s a modern day villain subplot, a bit of mystery, and so much growth from our heroine. She struggles with jealousy, first time love, making her family and herself proud, and the decisions of what life path she should ultimately take.

This book is honestly just sweet, and I enjoyed that there is representation in this book that feels real and natural. The theatre plot throughout the story isn’t as heavy as one may think, but I do love the world that was built, and the characters that we are given because of the world it’s set in. So if you’re not a big theatre/musical geek, you’ll still enjoy this read. I also loved that Jerzie was having her own coming of age during this read. She learned things about herself and her family, while falling in love and doing what she loves.

My only complaint is one that’s a bit spoiler-y, so I’m going to leave it vague. I didn’t like the way one of the characters was portrayed a bit poorly. That being said even though I have that complaint, by the end of the story I understood WHY the author made that move with certain characters, so while it made me sort of sad/upset in the moment I eventually appreciated it because it left room for growth and it truly shines through in the end as a connection between two of the characters we are following. One of those moments when you recognize your differences, but you see your similarities with someone as well. A good reminder that people are imperfect and characters are allowed to be as well. It makes them more well rounded.

All in all this was a great YA read. I’d highly recommend it if you like that “young girl gets her chance to live her dreams”, modern retellings, or just YA romance in general.

Profile Image for sam.
369 reviews542 followers
February 8, 2021
Huge thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Inkyard Press for sending me this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

this review is going to be a little short but i’ll have the full review up on my blog soon :)

I really wanted to like this book. I mean, the whole concept of it sounded so exciting when i first read the summary, which is why i was so excited to have gotten the arc for this book. Unfortunately, that excitement was short lived.

Personally, I felt that the summary was pretty misleading. I was expecting something completely different and while I didn’t totally hate what I got instead, I really wasn’t a huge fan.

I think the major reason for my rating would have to be the romance. It’s a book that has broadway as the backdrop so I was expecting a little bit more of a slow burn romance. I didn’t like the insta-love i was given instead. I mean yeah, i’m not a huge fan of that trope but if it’s not to annoying, i can usually get behind it. I couldn’t get behind this one. At all.

I liked the female lead in the first few chapters. But after the first few interactions with the love interest, i honestly felt exhausted reading about her. The fact that she basically declared him the love of her life within an hour of meeting him just seemed unrealistic to me. I didn’t really like the love interest either.

However, the side characters were great. I’m talking about Judas and Aunt Karla, obviously. Cinny and her repellant personality don’t exist in my mind. I also loved the Broadway references throughout the book and how passionately the main character talks about her love of the arts. I think that’s what really made the book for me.

I really wish I loved it though. There were just some stuff I couldn’t overlook.

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Profile Image for Dana L. Davis.
Author 11 books247 followers
June 29, 2020
*Slight spoiler alert* I wrote this!

I wrote it for all the musical theater lovers who have always dreamed big dreams. And Shakespeare lovers too. It’s just a tiny piece of my heart. And I’m happy to share it with all of you. ❤️

“We are the music makers...and we are the dreamers of dreams...”
Profile Image for Ms. Woc Reader.
493 reviews669 followers
January 5, 2021
Roman and Jewel was a fun read that didn't go quite as I expected. I thought Jerzie would end up taking over the role after Cinny had to leave the show and the fame would go to her head. And that's not exactly what happened.

Jerzie James is a talented teen who can sing, dance, and compose music. She's such a theatre geek and the obvious role for Jewel. However as a newcomer she just doesn't have the star power the producers think they need to sell this musical. But R&B superstar Cinny has the name. So she's cast as super star Cinny's understudy. Jerzie takes it so she'll be able to make a little money and get a chance to be behind the scenes of a Broadway show. Who knows what this opportunity could lead to? Plus the leading man Zeppelin just might be the boy of her dreams.

It's a fast paced book and a really cute romance for teens. Sometimes I pick up YA books that I feel are for everyone and sometimes I pick up YA that I feel is for adults. It's a little rarer lately when I pick up YA I think teen me or the teens I know would gush over. This has so many pop culture references they'll recognize and enjoy This is one of those love at first sight, fall hard and fast type of romance stories. They both adore music and they really have their hearts into this show. And you could clearly tell Dana L. Davis did her research when it came to Broadway.

I received an arc from Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for BeesBookHollow ♡.
171 reviews173 followers
January 19, 2021
🪴Earlier this month I had the great opportunity to read Roman and Jewel by Dana L. Davis. The reason I wanted to highlight this book was because it was purely focused on Black joy, excellence, success and perseverance throughout trials.

🪴In this book we meet Jherzie James, a teenager with dreams of being on Broadway. She’s studied music theory, eats sleeps and breathes musical soundtracks and has a killer voice to boot. When she auditions for Roman + Jewel and makes it in as an understudy she is thrown into a world of superstars and all of the mishaps that come with it. Cinny (international celebrity) is one of her role models and getting to work under her has been one of her dreams but she quickly learns that people aren’t all they seem to be in the media.

🪴While practicing as an understudy she meets Zeppelin Reid and they have an instant and powerful connection, but she knows there’s no way they could ever be anything while she’s not the lead. One day after practice a video of Jherzie and Zeppelin goes viral and she becomes famous overnight. Throughout the novel you get to follow Jherzie on an adventure of firsts; first love, first disappointment, and the first time she stood up for herself and what she deserved. The relationship between Zeppelin and Jherzie was really great to follow along with too and it had all of the fumbling and clumsy moments that teenage love often does.

🪴This book does feature themes of anxiety, depression, and suicide so please be aware of that. What I loved was the strong Black Family dynamic, the support, and following a Black lead that just got to experience life without an emphasis on any of her trauma at that point in time. As a lover of musicals and music in general it was so relatable to see Jherzie geeking out over Broadway greats and not having her Blackness invalidated. The book was sweet, well written, and messy at times. It was entertaining, empowering, and comforting. I can see myself re-reading this any time because every single character, even the supporting ones added something to the story and made it a wonderful production. Three cheers for Black joy today.
Profile Image for celine.
127 reviews
February 21, 2021
Broadway gets the Wattpad treatment in Roman and Jewel, and honestly? I'm here for it.

If you're a reader not into Broadway or fanfic esque stories, you may not like this at all. I, however, am a big fan of anything Broadway and also teenage love fluff, and this book checked alllll those boxes.

The story is one you've read before:

But on BROADWAY!! (sorry, I can't get over how great that is)

And it's Broadway done right! Instead of the horrendous Roomies, the author clearly understands and knows musical theater, from the references (Cabaret! Hailey Kilgore!), to the spaces (proper rehearsal timeline! at Studio 54!), and the way the cast acts. Which I really appreciated.

This book is for all the theater kids who want their wish-fulfillment fluffy romance. It's no masterpiece, But it's a whole lotta fun!!
Profile Image for Stacey-Lea.
180 reviews19 followers
March 9, 2021
If you’re looking for a fun time pick up Roman and Jewel.

This was a really strong YA contemporary romance. It has your usual young, lovesick protagonist who falls for the cute, mysterious and charming lead boy but with the added fun of the unique backdrop, Broadway.

Roman and Jewel isn’t just the title of the book but also the namesake of a Romeo and Juliet contemporary retelling Broadway production written a la Hamilton style. Wherein our protag Jerzie Jhames has been cast as a standby for the lead role at the mere age of 16/17. This added a new dynamic to the usual YA romcom read while still giving you the iconic New York setting. As an actor myself I really loved hearing about the rehearsals, running blocking and numbers, but there wasn’t too much, so don’t be afraid if this isn’t your vibe.

Now to acknowledge all the drama, and I do mean alllllll the drama. Everything was high stakes which is what made it so ridiculous but honestly so enjoyable. I read this in two days (and if I didn’t have work, it would have been all in one), it was just that easy and entertaining to read.

(I did read an arc provided by Edelweiss but I didn't get to it before release)
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews701 followers
December 24, 2020
I will legit read anything R+J related, but throw in some Hamilton and I’m beyond sold.

I really liked Jerzie. She’s talented and smart and her passion for music coupled with her love for Broadway musicals was one of the best things to read. Zeppelin had potential, but he’s tempered through Jerzie’s love struck slash obsessed eyes, so it didn’t seem like we really got to know him. Oh, and Aunt Karla stole every scene she was in.

Plot wise, all insta-love, barely any musical, and a very liberal splash of drama. Everything with Cinny could have been resolved with a 5 minute conversation and after the horrible things she did, the 2 page redemption arc felt trite and insincere.

Overall, it was a great idea and a quick read. I would have loved just a bit more to really flesh out the story, but this small slice of time was quite entertaining to read.

**Huge thanks to Inkyard Press for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for akacya ❦.
913 reviews137 followers
August 10, 2022
jerzie jhames is devastated when she’s passed up for the lead part of a new broadway show called roman and jewel in favor of a bigger name. however, jerzie is still part of the show as the standby. on her first day, she runs into the male lead and later accidentally goes viral. the two are drawn to each other, but with everything stacked against them, will their relationship work?

honestly, i was really surprised after finishing this to see the low average rating! after reading some reviews, though, i see a lot of people thought it’d be more centered on the play itself. i had no expectations on how focused on the show this book would be, so i’d say go into this book not expecting much of that. the plot does center a lot around the show, since many of the interactions/subplots happen as a result of that, but there’s not many scenes depicting the show itself!

anyway, i loved the main couple. though their relationship was pretty insta-lovey, i thought their interactions were really cute. plus, i loved them both individually too!
3 reviews6 followers
May 12, 2020
I can't even with this book! HOW DID THE AUTHOR THINK OF THIS BOOK!?! The plot is so smart. And the story, OMG the story of love, the mirroring story of what real love is and if you can believe in it and if it can happen that fast, is brilliant. Jerzie Jhames is a true heroine - she is talented and funny and a good person, but also real and therefore flawed in a way that draws you to her. She's unassuming yet pretty damn amazing, and the author strikes this balance perfectly. Zepplin is the babest babe that's ever been written. Aunt Karen! Can she come into my life and just talk to me every day? She is so fun.

If you like Broadway and/or Shakespeare, you're going to flip over this book. It does a phenomenal job of weaving this huge production going on, and what it is to be a star and also not a star, how that doesn't matter, and what does matter when it comes to art. All in all, it's a beautiful story of love and you will find yourself laughing and ooooh'ing from one page to the next.

Roman and Jewel made me want to go see a Broadway show, and fall in love again (with my love of course!), and it made me wish I could sing, and it made me feel good. It's all the things I love about stories and I'm so excited for this book to come out to the masses.
Profile Image for Maya Joelle.
Author 1 book88 followers
June 28, 2022
Okay, so first I have to say that I absolutely ADORED the setting and concept of this book! I'd like to read a good book set backstage on Broadway. But as for the actual story... meh. It was all right but insta-love isn't my thing (nor is attraction being solely based on how handsome someone is - goodness, the number of times Jerzie mentally categorized every. single. thing. about a guy's body?), and the redemption arc for one character felt very rushed, as did the whole "confession"/whodunit element.

Lastly, there was a *ton* of content I didn't prefer. Crude references, language, drugs, etc. So I don't particularly recommend this unless you love theater and can handle some adult content.
Profile Image for Caitlyn DeRouin.
361 reviews43 followers
January 13, 2021
Trigger Warnings: Death of a parent (mentioned), mentions of suicide (drowning), underage drinking, underage recreational drug use, age gap relationship (16 and 19), jokes about mental health, mentions of a car crash

You can read my full review here: https://teatimelit.com/2021/01/13/rev...

Roman and Jewel had been on my “most anticipated” book list for quite some time, and I was really excited that I was able to read an ARC in December. I loved the idea of a book centering on a new musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet with a Hamilton twist to it and what happens behind the scenes. I was thrilled to finally get my hands on it and was sadly disappointed as I read the book when it did not live up to my expectations. The book had a lot of potential, but for me, there are a few huge flaws.

The idea of the musical is what initially drew me to the story and that description sold me on the idea for this show. I was so excited to see it play out in the book, but apart from some audition scenes, maybe 4-5 short rehearsal scenes, and a backstage scene before opening night, that was it. In my opinion, those were the most interesting parts of the book, but they, unfortunately, were few and far between. Towards the second half of the book (maybe a bit earlier), Roman and Jewel shifted to a soap opera drama. Once this shift happens, the story is mainly focused on the, again underaged, dramatic relationship between Jerzie and Zeppelin and what Cinny does to try and break them apart. Let’s be real, I love drama. I love reading about or watching overdramatized fictional situations, but even this was too much for me. I can’t really get into it without spoiling things, but I will say that I found it to be completely over the top especially towards the end.

I was so excited for this book, and I, unfortunately, was really disappointed. I’m giving it 1.5 stars, but rounding up to 2 because I think the overall story had potential.
Profile Image for Elyse (ElyseReadsandSpeaks).
794 reviews43 followers
January 3, 2021
Another 2 star read for 2021. This is my third 2-star read and it's only January 3rd.

First, let me start off with the major positive: This was a very readable book. The writing was direct, to the point, not overly flowery dribble, and I thought it was paced well. I flew through this book because of the writing. So yes, I'd be curious to read something else from this author in the future.

So why the 2 stars? Because I couldn't get past how unbelievable it was.

Jerzie is a 16 year-old (almost 17 year-old) who is cast as a standby in a new musical on Broadway. The one part that is definitely believable is that although Jerzie was the best actor for the part of Jewel/Juliet, the production decided to cast Cinny, a big name in the music industry, because her name would sell tickets. Happens all the time in both theatre and film.

For me, this story started going off the rails at the get-go because Zeppelin (cast as Roman/Romeo) had immediate heart eyes for Jerzie and apparently didn't care about the fact that she was 16. I understand he wasn't that much older (I think he was 19 - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), but that is still a line between legal/illegal and I think a new name that was starring in a new play that was bound to be a big deal would actually care about having feelings for a minor. Nothing inappropriate happened, but the insta-love combined with the fact that Jerzie's technically a minor while Zeppelin is an adult did not compute for me.

The rehearsal process for the show seemed realistic enough for me. (And if you're familiar with the actor life in NY, this whole setting is easy to imagine at Ripley-Grier Studios. Seriously.) I actually found the rehearsal stuff and the show itself more interesting than the "love" between Jerzie and Zeppelin. I suppose that's part of the point because they're supposed to mirror Romeo and Juliet which was also love at first sight, but when you put that into a contemporary story that's supposed to feel realistic, it again does not compute.

Now. Onto Bay Ridge. There is a section in here that made me fully roll my eyes. I am familiar with Manhattan. I am familiar with Brooklyn. My family is actually originally from Bay Ridge so I know just how far away it is from Broadway. And the fact that Jerzie's aunt happened to have a meeting in a building that was directly across the street from Zeppelin's family's restaurant was too much for me. Come on. And choosing "Patti LuPone" as your alias? Also unbelievable since that name is also a big freaking deal. Listen, I know that it sounds like I'm nitpicking, but when you're reading detail after detail like this, it just becomes too much.

Now let's move on from here to Jerzie and Zeppelin's "date" - they spontaneously decide to not walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, but to join Zeppelin's friends in Washington Park where Jerzie then proceeds to get high. 16. She's 16. I know 16 year-olds dabble in drugs, but I couldn't look away from the fact that this 19 year-old soon-to-be star in a musical thought it was a good idea to let his 16 year-old date get high in public. So much yikes.

And then there's Cinny. Cinny sucks. Hardcore sucks. She's supposed to suck so job well done there, but the amicable chat between Cinny and Jerzie at the end was just nuts after all Cinny did. And I call bull on the Cosmo quiz - Cinny, you're totally a sociopath.

Okay I honestly don't think that was a brutal review. I liked the writing itself, but I think I outlined why I just couldn't get behind the story. All of that being said, because of how quickly I zipped through this one, I think I'd try this author again in the future.
Profile Image for Whitney.
549 reviews73 followers
December 17, 2020
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll admit that this is not the book I thought I’d be reading when I picked it up, but once I started I couldn’t stop! I literally flew through this read and enjoyed it for the most part. It’s definitely a YA novel so if reading young adult books isn’t your thing, you may want to skip this one. The teen drama is dramatic, fast, and a little all over the place, but then again wasn’t the original Romeo and Juliet the same way? Romeo and Juliet’s relationship was intense, immediate, electric and everything escalates so quickly and I think that Roman & Jewel captures that perfectly.

Despite the title of the book, this is really a story about Jerzie and Zeppelin, teenagers who are extremely passionate about Broadway and musicals. Jerzie’s been striving to be on Broadway for 10 years and on the summer on her 17th birthday she’s finally made it…sort of. Though she was told she’s perfect for the lead in the new Hamilton-esque Romeo and Juliet musical Roman & Jewel, she doesn’t have the big name that the higher ups think is necessary to garner attention for the show. She instead, she’s cast as the standby for superstar Cinny. By the time she’s supposed to begin coming to rehearsals the cast has already known one another for weeks and it seems like her dream isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Her first day is a whirlwind and to make it even crazier she literally runs into the lead actor for Roman, Zeppelin. She’s instantly drawn to him in a way that makes no sense, but then when does young love ever make sense. It turns out that he feels the exact same way, which is hard for her to believe. She’s determined to stay away from him because obviously everyone on set is in love with him too right? But Jerzie is the only one that Zeppelin wants to open up to. It’s actually pretty cute.

I do think the synopsis above is a little misleading. The conflict of the video link isn’t who should play Jewel. In reality, it’s about who the hell leaked the video and the drama caused by the superstar Cinny herself, who isn’t as likable as her fans, including Jerzie, may think. Obviously I won’t give any spoilers, but the bottom line is Cinny’s a bitch and Jerzie is a sweetheart. There’s also the little tidbit of Jerzie and Zeppelin coming together and trying to navigate this thing called love at first sight. Honestly is it a bit much at times? Sure. But sometimes overly dramatic, not always sensible, what in the world is going on situations are just what the doctor ordered okay. I will say that there’s an incident towards the end that is complete soap opera gold and I loved it okay.

There is a subplot about Zeppelin’s family history that may be triggering for some. It involves parental suicide and at one point Jerzie is afraid that Zeppelin may be contemplating suicide as well because of story events and what another character tells her. I just want to make sure you’re aware of it before going in, just in case.

Finally, let me admit that my favorite characters in this story were not Jerzie or Zeppelin. Nope that honor went Jerzie’s Aunt Karla. Sis was HILARIOUS. I just want to be friends with her because she had me laughing out loud the entire book.

All in all I think this is definitely worth the read and don’t Black YA readers deserve something that doesn’t take itself to seriously and is a good quick read? I think so. Be sure to give it a go when it gets released on January 7, 2021!
Profile Image for Delaney.
326 reviews22 followers
January 5, 2021
trigger warnings: mentions of suicide, police interactions (although it was nonviolent), mentions of car crash

I don't know what I was on yesterday, but whatever it was made me unable to write coherently. So I'm just re-writing this whole thing. Anyway...

Jerzie James is sixteen when she gets cast in her first Broadway role. And not just any Broadway role, in a new hip-hop musical retelling of Romeo and Juliet .Unfortunately, instead of getting the lead role of Jewel she was hoping for, she gets the understudy. Instead, Jewel is going to be played by R&B superstar Cinny. As sparks fly between Jerzie and Zepplin, the male lead of the show, conflict erupts between Cinny and Jerzie, and Jerzie is about to learn that nothing is simple in love and theater.

The thing I appreciated most about this book was that it was obviously written by a theater lover for theater lovers. I honestly enjoyed all the allusions to different musicals. That being said, I don't know how someone who was not familiar with theater would feel about it.

As a result of my being a theater fan, my favorite part of the book by far was the story behind the production of Roman and Jewel. I really enjoyed reading about the audition, the rehearsals, and the building of the show. Unfortunately, the book strayed away from this in favor of the insta-love, creepy-age-gap romance.

I was on board for the first couple of scenes between Jerzie and Zeppelin. I saw some chemistry, and their banter was really cute. I was really disappointed to find that the rest of their relationship wasn't written the same way. Part of it was just due to the writing feeling lackluster. The other part was that Zeppelin was 19, while Jerzie was 16. As a 19 year old, there is no way I would date a 16 year old. It doesn't matter that she was "going to be 17 soon." It was still too weird for me. Especially because their relationship moved so fast. It felt like they had only known each other a few weeks before they said I love you.

In general, the fast-paced relationship also just felt unrealistic. I get that it was trying to mirror Romeo and Juliet, but in this particular instance it wasn't believable.

The other main issue I had with the plot was that the second half of the book had so much drama it felt like a reality tv show. It was just too over the top for me.

Besides the parts about the show, my favorite parts were definitely Jerzie's family. I really loved Aunt Karla's character, and I really enjoyed the family interactions. Those were a high point of the book.

Sadly, that wasn't enough to pull me through. And overall, I can't really say I would recommend this book.

Thanks to the publisher for the ARC
Profile Image for Laiba.
103 reviews40 followers
Want to read
July 30, 2021
me: no, i HAVE to finish reading the books that are already in my tbr. my list is way too long, i need to shorten it before i start adding more!!!
this book: *exists*
Profile Image for Heather.
230 reviews5 followers
January 22, 2021
The instalove was WAY too much for my cold heart. I think a teen would *probably* really like it BUT I was totally feeling like a mom reading this.
Profile Image for Candy.
203 reviews6 followers
May 3, 2021
I liked the story of Jerzie and Zeppelin and how they connected so quickly. This was a cute and funny story.
Profile Image for Amber.
630 reviews26 followers
February 13, 2021
3.5 ⭐️

I almost didn't pick this up because of the synopsis. I tend to not really like stories about famous people or stories revolving around acting and such. But, I decided to give this a try anyways because I had been intrigued by the cover and the obvious ode to Romeo & Juliet. In the end I liked it more than I thought. Going into it with low expectations was probably a good thing.

I liked our main characters, especially Jerzie. I also liked our antagonist of the story and felt like everyone had layers. I also actually enjoyed the Broadway references and I think it boiled down to the fact that Jerzie's passion was infectious, because I am not a big musicals/Broadway person. Seeing everything through Jerzie's point of view was so fun and fresh. She had this super positive outlook and was vivacious.

Though there were things in here that were predictable and cliché, it is also a YA book. So, I can give it some passes for being very insta-love and having a plot that is fairly linear. I am trying to be better about viewing books from the lens of the intended audience. I have in the past rated a book lower because of the insta-love aspect, but if the chemistry is there then I am reassessing my stance on it. Jerzie and Zeppelin had plenty of cute moments in here and though as an adult you know it's just instant attraction (not love), they were still cute.

The only reason this isn't a higher rating or a solid four instead of 3.5 is because there was some things that didn't sit quite right with me even when I suspended some of my belief. There were times it felt like a teen book, but then had moments where you could just tell this was written by an adult and I don't know if a teen would connect with it. That happened a handful of times, otherwise it was an enjoyable read and I liked it more than I thought I would.

Profile Image for Cassie | Cassie’s Next Chapter.
366 reviews128 followers
December 2, 2020
I absolutely adore this book! 4.5 stars! This is the perfect YA romance on Broadway. Add in some Shakespeare and a funny aunt and I’m all in!

This isn't so much a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but a total redo, and it's so refreshing! I love the diversity and rapport of the characters. Their relationships are tense and strained, as well as warm and silly. Such a great mix!

Dana L Davis handles the topics of loss/grief/love/fame/friendship so beautifully, that it doesn't feel like a book with an agenda, but a fun yet touching story that somehow accomplishes all of that gracefully.

I appreciate the depth of the romance, and the promise for what's to come for each character. Although I would have gladly read more, I think the book ends at a perfect point in time with silver linings and promise. Believe me, you need this breath of fresh air!

Thanks so much to Inkyard Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
January 21, 2021
Dana L. Davis never disappoints. Though I'm not a big fan of musicals nor of Romeo and Juliet, this cute and clever take is just sweet and feel good and sometimes I need that in a book. 3.5 stars rounded up to four because the heroine Jherzie is a dark-skinned girl with natural hair who loves herself. Give me more of this in 2021.
Profile Image for Pine Reads Review.
452 reviews9 followers
January 4, 2021
“Cinny has every right to be upset. I am a standby. Her standby. And as a standby, I have my own script to follow. Out of sight. Out of mind. I’m not here to be a star. And I’m certainly not here to fall in love.”

After auditioning for the lead in Roman and Jewel, a modern hip-hopera reimagining of Romeo and Juliet, sixteen-year-old Jerzie Jhames thinks she’s finally getting her big break on Broadway. Until she finds out that fame-obsessed superstar Cinny has snagged the titular role instead, and Jerzie is stuck as her understudy. To make matters worse, Jerzie may have a small crush on the actor playing Roman: the unfairly handsome and talented Zeppelin Reid, whom Cinny has claimed for herself. But when a viral video catches Jerzie and Zepp rehearsing together, setting Cinny off in the process, these two star-crossed lovers may just have their careers—and hearts—on the line.

Broadway fans and Romeo and Juliet connoisseurs unite because Roman and Jewel is set to be your new obsession. With plenty of musical references, romantic motorcycle rides, and one endearing and ambitious heroine, Dana L. Davis delivers a show tunes-infused YA romance that only left me wishing that Roman and Jewel was a real thing—make it happen, Broadway! And while Jerzie and Zeppelin shine together, I have to mention my absolute favorite secondary character, the equally hilarious and kickbutt Aunt Karla, who is always there to offer spot-on advice or crack a joke or two. Exploring fame, family, and young love, Roman and Jewel is a swoony read about finding your voice and following your heart.

Content Warning: discussion of suicide, parental suicide

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @pinereadsreview and check out our website at www.pinereadsreview.com for reviews, interviews, blogs, podcast episodes, and more!
Profile Image for Natalya.
642 reviews11 followers
November 29, 2020
Thank you to NetGalley for give me an ARC of this book for my honest review.

First of all, I am not the target audience for this book. I understand this but I overall feel like I didn't get the book I was promised. As a theatre kid, I enjoyed the musical references and seeing the few rehersals shown. But we mostly got an underdeveloped romance and drama. I also feel like the author put too many Harry Potter references for no reason and explained too much most of the time, but didn't explain when it was needed. Example: she explained that Jerize's aunt's brother is her dad, but did not explain what a CD (as in Certificate of Deposit) where I feel like teens will know the dad thing much more than what a CD is.

Overall, I would recemmond this to teens in my libary who like these sorts of books (like The Sun is Also a Star or even the Selection) but not to everyone.

(Mild spoilers ahead)

This book was very frustrating to read starting around the 40% mark. The instalove was very real, the romance problematic and everything was just a catty mess. I would have just given it a 3 and say it was just not for me, but it got further away from the musical aspect and more into a sorta love triangle, intellectual property theft and arrest.
Profile Image for Jawahir  the Bookworm.
203 reviews38 followers
January 19, 2021
I would like to thank Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts expressed are my personal opinion.

Description Summary | All the musical references was heaven to a theatre lover like me but the over the top dramatics and lackluster character developments made this book a slightly above average read.

Score: 3.5 / 5

This was theatrical in every sense, in the main characters' developments and feelings, in the comical villain, and the over the top gushy romance with Disney movies cliches. Which to me is very different than what I expected it to be judging from the synopsis and cover.

I actually enjoyed it and by the second half of the book I was completely hooked. I read this book everywhere. I think the star for me was the author's writing, it was such an easy read and a great distraction book if you ever need one.

I expected a bit of a slow burn with more deep complexities being analyzed. The love at first sight trope was a bit much for me and the dramatics in the book was kind of distracting from the main big picture. What I did enjoy is all the musical references and laugh out loud moments.

Do I recommend? If you love over the top romance that is fast paced check this one out.

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Profile Image for Samantha (WLABB).
3,434 reviews234 followers
December 15, 2020
She had been working towards this moment her whole life, and finally, Jerzie was cast in a Broadway musical. Though she was only a backup for the lead actress, it was an opportunity with the promise of more. However, when she meets and falls for Zeppelin, the actor playing Roman, she finds her future could be in jeopardy.

I am always up for a re-telling, and Romeo and Juliet is such a classic to tackle. I thought Davis put a great spin on it and found myself entertained and engrossed in all the show drama.

Here's five things I liked about Roman and Jewel:

1. Jerzie had a great voice. She captured me from page one with her "what's in a name" soliloquy. Her love of theater bled into everything she said and did, and I was captivated by it.

2. Not only could I tell how much Jerzie loved theater, but it was obvious Davis adored it too. The references ran deep and were peppered throughout the story, and I had a great time ingested them all.

3. Being in the city and getting a behind the scenes look at a Broadway musical was fantastic. I got to see all of the moving parts come together as they brought this creation to life, and Davis did an incredible job making me feel as though I was a part of it.

4. There was no shortage of drama in this story, but it worked for me. I couldn't imagine anything associated with Shakespeare being drama free, therefore I embraced and enjoyed it.

5. There was some great exploration of themes such as family, friendship, and love, and those are themes I never tire of.

Overall: I found myself rooting for Jerzie as she struggled between following her heart or her dreams, and I know I wanted her to be able to do both.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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