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by Michelle Ray

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: July 5th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-10162-2
Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

Ophelia lives to whine another day in this mediocre MTV treatment of Hamlet.

Ophelia’s been on again, off again with hot Prince Hamlet of Denmark since they were tweens. They have cautiously started up their relationship again a few short months after a tabloid published pictures of Hamlet with another girl. But just as Hamlet heads off for his second year at Wittenberg College, his father dies unexpectedly, throwing the whole country into an uproar. Hamlet starts acting strange, Ophelia worries about him, his mother Gertrude marries his uncle Claudius and, well, you know the rest. The only differences are that this time Ophelia fakes her own drowning and scores a guest spot on an Oprah-like talk show, and the final group demise takes place on a lacrosse field. At worst, this watered-down prose version that combines Ophelia’s first-person voice with police transcripts and scenes from the talk show is almost certain to offend Shakespeare purists; at best, it seems superfluous. Had Ray played more fast and loose with the original, the result might have been soapy, campy fun. But by staying so close to the actual plot and taking the language down to the lowest denominator (“Screw you, Horatio”), all she does is beg comparison with The Bard, a contest very few (if any) authors can hope to win.

Unnecessary. (Fiction. 14 & up)