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This Must Be Love    by Tui T. Sutherland order for
This Must Be Love
by Tui T. Sutherland
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Four teenagers come together in a comical, yet touching look at life, love, and making it through high school. Hermia and Helena are best friends and pretty much opposites. Hermia is short, cute, and a newly reformed serial dater. She has recently come to the realization that she's in love with her best friend, Alex, although he's not responding very well to her subtle hints that she's interested in him. Helena is a tall, blonde poetess. She sees the world through 'love colored glasses' and is enchanted when handsome Dmitri begins to attend their school. From first glance, Helena knows that Dmitri is her soul mate.

The pairs of couples come into closer contact when they all become involved with the school production of Romeo and Juliet. Hermia, who wants desperately to be an actor, desires the role of Juliet. No one is prepared when the drama teacher decides on an all-male cast! With a load of misunderstanding and some serious competing for females and roles, the course of true love (and not-so-true love) runs even less smoothly than one might imagine. Will any of the couples end up together?

Though this is a hilarious modern-day re-telling of A Midsummer Night's Dream, you don't need to know a thing about Shakespeare to enjoy the book. The characters are all well detailed and although Hermia and Helena's names are quite similar, after the first few pages it's easy to keep their distinctive voices straight. The majority of the story is told through e-mail, instant message chats and diary entries, with some narrative from different points of view. This gives a unique flavor to the book, moves events along quickly, and keeps readers entranced.

The characters are intelligent with a wry sense of humor that will keep you on your toes. If you're tired of books that dumb down high school relationships and emotions, you'll find that This Must Be Love presents realistic people and situations. The entire fairy storyline of A Midsummer Night's Dream is incorporated through a funny interactive play called 'The Faerie's Quarrel', in which all of the misunderstandings and maneuvering come to light. This fabulous book is an absolute delight.

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