Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Juliet Dove, Queen of Love

Juliet Dove, Queen of Love

Bruce Coville
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Harcourt, 2005   ISBN: 978-0152052171

Juliet Dove is a terribly shy girl and she has a novel way of dealing with her shyness. When she feels overwhelmed by it, she lashes out at those around her, hence her nickname “Killer.” One day two girls tease her about a boy and Juliet does her usual Killer routine. The girls get very angry with her and to get away from them Juliet runs away.

She ends up going inside a shop that she has never seen before, Elives’ Magic Supplies. The shop is full of fascinating and curious things, and the lady in shop shows Juliet a beautiful amulet. Juliet is sure that she could never afford to buy such a lovely thing, but then the woman gives it to Juliet as a gift, telling her to keep the amulet a secret.

When Juliet leaves the shop she finds that she is right back where she started, in the place where she encountered the two teasing girls not long ago. Juliet does not put the amulet on straight away, but when she does she cannot help feeling that there is something strange about it. Then bizarre things start to happen.

It begins when the boys in Juliet's class, one by one, all begin to show her a great deal of unwanted attention. It is as if she has bewitched them in some way, and Juliet does not like it at all. Then Juliet notices that she cannot tell anyone about the amulet. When she tries to talk about it she is rendered speechless. Did that woman in the magic shop put a spell on her to stop Juliet from saying anything about what took place there?

Just when Juliet really starts to feel desperate, helps arrives in the form of two talking rats. Sent by Mr. Elives from the magic shop, the rats do their best to help Juliet through her crisis. They explain that Mr. Elives had nothing to do with the amulet and has no idea who the woman who Juliet met in his shop was. He is pretty sure that the amulet is bad news and he wants Juliet to send it to him so that he can study it. At this point Juliet would gladly hand over the amulet. The problem is that the chain of the amulet has grown small and the clasp has disappeared. Juliet cannot take the amulet off.

Juliet, the two rats, Mr. Elives, Juliet’s sister and brother, and the local librarian all put their heads together to figure out what to do. Juliet is given instructions in the form of a poem and she knows that she needs to find, among other things, the key to the amulet. She also learns that the amulet once belonged to Helen of Troy, once thought to be the most beautiful woman in the world. With each passing day Juliet and her supporters learn that the “story” she is caught up in is the work of the gods, and that she is going to have to unravel their story before she can find out the truth about the amulet and free herself from its frustrating powers.

This unique book brings some of the stories of the Ancient Roman (or Greek) gods into today’s world. It would appear that at least one of the gods is not quite ready to retire after all. Because of her actions, Juliet is forced to confront her greatest fear, her shyness. In the process she discovers that there are many different kinds of love in this world. One kind, love of self, is one she never even knew existed, and finding out about it gives her the ability to face what frightens her the most. Bruce Coville manages to inject this book with words of wisdom while, at the same time, telling a gripping and often humorous story.

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