Book Reviews, YA book reviews

Waking Romeo by Kathryn Barker – ARC Review

My Rating ~ Five Stars

RELEASE DATE:  2 March 2021

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Pages: 386


What if Juliet Capulet met someone who made her doubt true love? What if Wuthering Heights was a message to a time traveller? A cosmic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet and homage to two literary classics in a compelling novel about fate, love and time travel from an award-winning author.


It’s the end of the world. Literally. Time travel is possible, but only forwards. And only a handful of families choose to remain in the ‘now’, living off the scraps that were left behind. Among these are eighteen-year-old Juliet and the love of her life, Romeo. But things are far from rosy for Jules. Romeo is in a coma and she’s estranged from her friends and family, dealing with the very real fallout of their wild romance. Then a handsome time traveller, Ellis, arrives with an important mission that makes Jules question everything she knows about life and love. Can Jules wake Romeo and rewrite her future?



Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a copy of this book, AND a gorgeous parcel, including the biggest chocolate frog I’ve ever seen 😄, in exchange for an honest review!

Jules had whirlwind romance with Romeo, that ended the way the well known story did….except Romeo is in a coma and Jules sits by his bedside every day, waiting for him to wake up.  When humanity invented time travelling pods, that could only travel forwards in time, we messed it up as spectacularly as you would imagine.  The world in the far future is a wasteland and Ellis, together with some other friends, are the only ones with the technology to travel forwards AND backwards in time.  With the help of their AI, Frogs, they might be able to save the world.  The most recent mission?  Wake Romeo.  But that might be harder than it sounds.

This book was an incredibly wild ride and I absolutely loved it! The characters were brilliant and the modern/futuristic take on the old classics had me captivated.  I love books about time travel.  I even love the way you sometimes feel like you’re disappearing up your own nostril, and scrambling your brain, while reading them 😂  and this was one of the better ones I’ve read.  There were so many time jumps, impossible meetings, twists and aha moments.  Half the time I lost track of which year we were in, but I didn’t even care, I loved the story so much I just couldn’t put it down.  The growth of Juliet’s character, from lovestruck girl to someone awake to the silliness of instant love, was brilliantly done and I adored Ellis as a character in every part of the book.  Alongside this complex time travel story, issues of racism, mental illness, disabilities and more were all explored.

The story of Romeo and Juliet took centre stage as the retelling, but Wuthering Heights also played a large part.  I am much more familiar with the former, so I’m sure lovers of Wuthering Heights would identify even more of the cleverly interwoven aspects from that book.

I’d highly recommend picking this one up if you love time travel stories!

Image from my Instagram account

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