As soon as I saw the title of this book, I knew I needed to read it! Today is my spot on the book tour for The Year Shakespeare Ruined My life hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. This book was a fast and fun read and I’m excited to talk about it. So keep on reading to read all of my thoughts!
A big thanks to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc to read and review.
The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen
Genre: Young Adult LGBTQ+ Contemporary
Publishing Date: September 22, 2020
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.
I never did anything with theater after first grade, but it’s always been something that interests me. Even if it’s more watching the plays than acting in them, so I was really excited that this book would be focused on a school play. The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life is a lighthearted story at times, but it’s also filled with lessons that I think the younger audience of this genre will really learn from.
Our main character Alison wants to be valedictorian and is doing everything she can to make that happen. Even if that means helping to produce a play and never doing that before. This was a really interesting project to read about. It had moments that made me laugh, but I also felt bad for her at times. The teachers just kind of left her to it without really any support. I would’ve given up pretty quickly. It doesn’t go smoothly, but she doesn’t give up and let’s say it gets messy.
I think at times Alison definitely made things more complicated for herself than they needed to be, but I think that’s one of the lessons in this book as well. Communication is so important. If she had just opened her mouth to be honest a few times, things would’ve have been so much easier for her. But when you’re a teenager that can be easier said than done at times. I definitely felt awkward for her at times.
This book is definitely diverse and I loved the side characters. They added some extra elements to this story and if I’m honest, I would love a book for most of them. I also have to mention the romance side of this story. Alison’s love story in this book is cute. I loved seeing her explore that side of herself, but that it didn’t take over the whole plot. Besides communication and honesty being really important The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life also addresses doing things outside of our comfort zone and what we see as being successful. The essay the Alison writes at the end of the book was really touching and I loved how that was how we ended this story.
When I signed up, I also chose the option to share some of my favorite quotes from this book. It is an ARC, so some wording may be different in the final version, but these are a few that I liked:
“I was “Average Teenager” from any highschool movie produced in the past five decades.”
“It was like watching someone smash their head repeatedly against a brick wall – oddly fascinating, but you also worried about them.”
“The art room smelled pleasantly of dried paint, a scent I associated with kindergarten and sunny afternoon naps.”
“Sometimes the hardest thing to learn is how to be okay with things as they are.”
During the book tour for The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life a lot of amazing bloggers and bookstagrammers are participating. Click here for the full tour schedule, so you can see all of the posts during this tour.
Giveaway (US/Canada Only)
During this book tour, there’s a chance to win two finished copies of The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life. This giveaway ends on September 15th. Click here to enter.
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).
I really enjoyed The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for books by this author in the future. If you’re looking for a fun contemporary book that will make you laugh and teach you a few lessons, definitely pick this one up!