Jane Yolen

Award-winning author of Owl Moon, the Pit Dragon trilogy, The Devil’s Arithmetic, 

                                                How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? 

Playing Juliet is cinematic, fast-paced, full of theater magic, misdirection, and Shakespeare. What could be better for any reader who ever wanted to act in a play? I couldn’t stop reading. (Oh and there’s an extra bonus in the back for teachers introducing the Bard to middle schoolers.)”

School Library Journal 

Gr 4-6–In this charming story featuring a relatable narrator and action-driven plot, Beth dreams of one day playing the female lead in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Trouble looms, however, when Beth’s beloved children’s theater threatens to close. While undoubtably appealing to any child looking to learn more about the theater in general, the book also offers a thorough immersion into the world of children’s theater. The emotional core of the story comes from Beth’s relationships with her best friend and her parents. The friendships portrayed are realistic and not overly dramatic. While Beth occasionally seems wise beyond her years, her concerns and fears feel real. Her superstitions surrounding the theater are relatable and provide an opportunity for Wetzel to discuss the history of theater. Additionally, family issues, such as Beth’s desire to please her parents and Beth’s friend’s experience of divorce and shared parenting, are portrayed authentically and will resonate with many readers. The epigraphs at the start of each chapter provide unique opportunities for foreshadowing. This feature both drives the plot forward and draws readers in. An explanation of the epigraphs at the book’s conclusion allows deeper understanding of these literary devices and enriches the text even further. VERDICT A solid story with surprising emotion, this novel is sure to appeal to theater lovers and neophytes alike.–Lauren Lancaster, Crafton Public Library, Pittsburgh, PA


When you are a (nearly) teenage aspiring actress, sometimes it feels like “all the world’s a stage,” but Beth Sondquist’s favorite stage is about to be repossessed. For 12 1/2-year-old Beth, acting at Oakfield Children’s Theater is her entire life. Though primarily cast in small roles, she dreams of someday playing Shakespeare’s most famous teen heroine: Juliet. But after eavesdropping on a conversation with the theater’s new owner, Beth learns that the 50-year-old children’s theater is to be converted into an adult performance space. To save her stage, Beth must help prove that children’s theater is more than mere playtime. For Wetzel, the theater serves as both muse and pulpit from which she fights the notion that children (and their theatrical pursuits) are less serious than grown-ups…the novel effectively captures the cadence and essence of preteen-speak and the intense, hyperbolic feeling of life onstage, when flubbing a line or missing an entrance is as catastrophic as being grounded…An earnest and creditable effort that will resonate with thespians both young and old. “

Miriam Spitzer Franklin

Author of Extraordinary

“Bravo! A standing ovation for PLAYING JULIET, an adventure-filled story that offers a look backstage into the fascinating world of children’s theater and introduces a protagonist who will steal your heart as she chases after her dreams.”