Hey everybody! I’m super excited to be on the tour for “The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life” by Dani Jansen. I knew as soon as I saw this book that I had to have it. You can find the rest of the tour stops here!
Title: The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life
Author: Dani Jansen
Published: September 22, 2020
Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Alison green, desperate valedictorian wannabe, agrees to produce her school’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. That’s her first big mistake. The second is accidentally saying yes to a date with her oldest friend, Jack, even though she’s crushing on Charlotte. Alison manages to stay positive, even when her best friend starts referring to the play as “Ye Olde Shakespearean Disaster.” Alison must cope with the misadventures that befall the play if she’s going to survive the year. She’ll also have to grapple with what it means to be “out” and what she might be willing to give up for love.
First of all, I have to say that I loved this book. I was just in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream a few years ago, and this book really nailed the details of the show, and also the craziness that goes into producing a Shakespearean work – spoiler alert, it not an easy task! I’ve also done some Stage Management work, and once again, that is SUPER difficult if you aren’t prepared for all of the work it entails! So super kudos to Dani for really nailing the chaos of producing a show!
I also really loved the characters. I have such a hard time finding books that depict Sapphic relationships (especially in the young adult genre). As a bisexual woman, this is something that is incredibly important to me, because representation matters! I think that Dani once again did such a good job with depicting a realistic young relationship between two girls who are still figuring out life. This made my heart so happy, and I wish I had had this book in high school.
The one, singular drawback that I had for this book is so minor that it hurts me to have to include it. I’m going to be as vague as possible, so as not to give any spoilers here. There is a certain aspect of the plot that was so intriguing to me, that I had never seen done before, and I LOVED the idea of it! I was so on board! However, it really only showed up in a couple of chapters, and it left be disappointed that there was such a wealth of opportunity here that just wasn’t utilized.
Overall, this book was STELLAR. I am in love with Dani Jansen’s writing. I am in love with these characters. I thought that The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life did a lot of things right, and it certainly made this queer, theater-loving heart happy!
For my playlist, I of course had to choose some of my favorite Sapphic songs that I feel really go along with the book: Only a Girl, by Gia Woods, and Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko. I also had to add Luck Be A Lady by Frank Sinatra – this one is on my “Finals Week” playlist, which is full of musical theater songs that deal with my stress…so it’s perfect for Alison! End Up Here by 5 Seconds of Summer really reminds me of how Alison reacts whenever Charlotte is around. And of course, rounding out the playlist is Do You Like Shakespeare by Miranda Cosgrove! This one not only deals with Shakespeare, but also with getting to know your crush: perfect for this novel!
About The Author
Dani Jansen is a teacher and writer who lives in Montreal. She should probably be embarrassed to admit that she has performed as a part of her school’s Glee Club for eight years. She should probably also be ashamed to tell people that she named her cats after punctuation symbols (Ampersand and Em-Dash, in case you’re curious)
How To Get The Book!
A finished copy of the book is being given away to TWO lucky winners! Enter here! (US and Canada only) Hurry! It ends September 15!