Romeo and/or Juliet: A chooseable-path Adventure
Ryan North

Riverhead Books 

At first I found Ryan North’s interactive game using Shakespeare’s love story, Romeo and Juliet, a hilarious idea.

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“. . . modern overtones which could appeal to a teen reader . . .”

But soon, after repeatedly shifting back and forth through various scenarios, the idea became tiring and redundant.

North substitutes “and/or” for “and,” as in the original title, adds humorous and dark illustrations and prompts the reader to select a “chooseable-path” for the main character and plots. In one ending, Juliet obeys her parents and marries Count Tom Paris and bears children. In another scenario, Romeo and Juliet marry and live happily every after. North adds cartoons that make jest of their “teen pregnancy.” 

The author also directs the reader to define the personality of the characters. In one scenario, Juliet is bored in the palace so she spends time lifting weights and becomes quite buffed.  

In Shakespeare’s writings, Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt.  As a reader, you can select for Tybalt to haunt the happily married Romero and Julie while at the same time weeding the family garden. There are many different paths to take in playing this game, but one that won’t work is turning pages like you usually would when reading most books.  If one selects to proceed in a straight sequence, North will prompt you back to the starting point while chastising your action. In this book, he writes, you make the choices: Either you go for the spoiler right off, or proceed to play. 

Alas, after flipping multiple pages, I lost complete interest and just jumped to the different endings, which of course is a choice. In yet another ending, for example, Juliet becomes pregnant and Romeo “gets fat and awesome too.” 

The book scenarios have modern overtones which could appeal to a teen reader. But readers would benefit by having some knowledge about Shakespeare, and his now-classic love story. 


Reviewer: Kate Padilla