Celebrating Shakespeare's birthday with the authors of Anyone But You, Kim Askew and Amy Helmes!

Happy Birthday to Shakespeare!

Shakespeare's 450th birthday is coming up this Saturday, April 26th (he was born in 1564). Last year I had a blast celebrating Shakespeare's birthday with a couple of posts! One of them was with authors, Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. This year I signed up to celebrate with them again and also spotlight their newest Shakespearean retelling, Anyone But You. You can read their guest post below, as well as enter the giveaway to win your own copy, and then check out my 4-star review here.

Anyone But You: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (Twisted Lit #3)Anyone But You:
A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
(Twisted Lit #3)
by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
YA Contemporary Romance
Paperback222 Pages
December 2nd, 2013 by Merit Press                  


Two Italian restaurants, both alike in dignity, in Chicago’s Little Italy where we lay our scene... After her family’s struggling eatery, Cap’s, falls prey to another of the Monte clan’s vicious and destructive pranks, sixteen-year-old Gigi Caputo finds herself courting danger during a clandestine encounter with Roman Monte, the very boy whose relatives have brought her family such grief. When the daughter and son of these two warring factions fall for each other, their quest to mend this bitter family feud turns out to be a recipe for disaster. Their story is irrevocably linked to the summer of 1933, when two twelve-year-olds, Benny and Nick, hop the turnstile at the Chicago World’s Fair. While enjoying some of the fair’s legendary amusements, Nick has a “love at first sight” encounter with Stella, a young girl who unintentionally causes a lasting rift between the two boyhood pals. Deftly winding its way through past and present day, this modern take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet has much to do with hate — but more with love.

Other Books in the Twisted Lit Series
Tempestuous: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's The Tempest (Twisted Lit, #1) Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth (Twisted Lit, #2)
(Click on the covers for my reviews.)

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare!
by “Twisted Lit” Authors Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Our Love/Hate Relationship With Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is arguably the most famous love story of all time, and for good reason. However, we’d also argue that nobody’s perfect… not even Shakespeare. As much as we adore the Bard’s epic tale of teen passion gone awry, there a few things that just never sat right with us, especially when we set about writing our modern YA spin on the play, Anyone But You. So, without further ado, here are the things we love (and the things we love to hate) about R&J.

Things We Love...

1. Mercutio. Sure, he occasionally acts like a horn dog, but he’s first rate as best mates go and clearly the smartest bloke on the block. If we were going to fall head over heels in love with anyone in this play, it’s definitely this guy. (It’s too bad he -- spoiler alert! -- dies. We’d love to have seen a Mercutio spin-off!)

2. The Meet-Cute. It’s the bustling Capulet masquerade shindig and party-crasher Romeo spies Juliet across a crowded room. He approaches her, they touch hands, and he charmingly convinces her to let him steal a kiss. Then, she steals one back, and … okay, so Shakespeare tells it way better, but the whole thing makes us tingly just talking about it!

3. The Angst. We all know how it ends, and yet every single time, it kills us. (Okay, bad choice of words). Still, there’s no better play to turn to when you’re in the mood for a big, messy, weepy breakdown.

4. Iconic Goodness. So many gorgeous lines from the play have entered our common vernacular, and certain scenes — like that balcony conversation and the tragic double-suicide — are forever seared in your memory once you’ve seen your first R&J production.

5. The Adaptations. From the definitive (in our eyes) 1968 Zeffirelli classic, to Baz Luhrmann’s edgy update starring the perfectly-cast Leonardo DiCaprio, very few movie versions of this play fall flat.

Things We Hate...

1. Insta-love. These two meet at a loud, crowded party and by the end of the night they’re all “let’s get married?” Yes, we’re believers in love at first sight, but still...it’s hard not to want to grab them by the shoulders and suggest they dial it back a notch.

2. Juliet, Child Bride. She may have been considered “fair game” in 14th century Verona, but by today’s standards, it’s kind of hard to think of any 13-year-old at the center of such an emotionally intense relationship, let alone tying the knot and, uh...you know.

3. Friar Lawrence. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, this guy ought to own his own asphalt business. He was so busy pushing his agenda to unite the families that he kinda sorta used these kids as pawns. Whatever, holy man.

4. Romeo’s Rebound. Can we all just take a moment to remember how Romeo was all, “Boo-hoo, I’m so lost without Rosaline” exactly ten hot minutes before he came face-to-face with Juliet? You could almost get whiplash watching this guy fall in and out of love.

5. The Feud. Shakespeare builds a whole tragedy based on the fact that these families hate each other’s guts, but never tells us why. (Way to leave us hanging on that one, Bill!) We were so curious about the origins of the Capulet/Montague family feud that we used it as our inspiration in Anyone But You, our Twisted Lit spin on Romeo and Juliet.

About the Authors

Amy Helmes and Kim Askew are the authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit from Merit Press. For Amy and Kim’s own take on Romeo and Juliet, check out their most recent novel, Anyone But You, which USA Today called “heartbreakingly lovely.” For more about the books in their Twisted Lit series, including their spins on The Tempest and Macbeth, check out twistedlitbooks.com. You can also follow them on twitter at @kaskew and @amyhelmes.


Hardcover of Anyone But You (INT as long as the Book Depository ships to you)
Ends April 30th

Due to shipping costs, this giveaway is only open to entrants that Amazon or the Book Depository can ship to. Please note that you must be at least 13 years old to enter. Please ensure that you correctly enter your email (and check your junk mail folder if I'm not on your contact list) so that I have a way to contact you. You can read my giveaway policy on my policies page. Void where prohibited by law. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.
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  1. Thanks for posting about this!

  2. What a really fun idea!

  3. I love retellings of Romeo and Juliet so I think this is one I need to add to my TBR pile for sure!

  4. I am glad you like the series...I do NOT like Romeo and Juliet...I might be in the outs with the world, because it runs along with P&P for me. Just didn't like. I think your review is awesome though :)

  5. Desnica Kumar4/23/14, 8:29 PM

    I've been meaning to read Exposure from the Twisted Lit series and this sounds like its great too. Especially seeing as the authors love Mercutio - I would've loved a Mercutio spin off too - and hate insta-love and Romeo's fickleness! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  6. Happy birthday to Shakespeare and what a lovely post and giveaway!

  7. Happy Bday to Shakespeare! Tempestuous is coming up on my reading list and I am very much looking forward to it! This one sounds sooo good, too! And I love the cover. (I have cover issues, if you can't tell already!)

  8. This is a cool way to recognize the old Shakespeare. Let's just say that I like modern versions of his stories WAY better than I like actual Shakespeare.

  9. This sounds super cute! Thanks for the review!

  10. This is an awesome idea. I never would have thought to do a Pinterest scavenger hunt, thanks for sharing!

  11. It is! These authors are really fun!

  12. Aren't those author pictures fun??!!

  13. This is my favorite book so far from this series.

  14. I really loved doing this last year so I was happy to do it again!

  15. Lol! This isn't my favorite cover, but it definitely fits the story and this was definitely an enjoyable book.

  16. Lol! I like his tales, but don't necessarily like reading them. :)

  17. This was a great one! There is some tragedy, but I could handle it.

  18. I don't necessarily like Romeo and Juliet either. Really it's a rather depressing story. This one, thankfully, is much less depressing.

  19. It was cute, but it had plenty of depth too.

  20. I think it's a fabulous idea too and very fun!!


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