Ronit & Jamil by Pamela L. Laskin
Release: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Ronit, an Israeli girl, lives on one side of the fence. Jamil, a Palestinian boy, lives on the other side. Only miles apart but separated by generations of conflict—much more than just the concrete blockade between them. Their fathers, however, work in a distrusting but mutually beneficial business arrangement, a relationship that brings Ronit and Jamil together. And lightning strikes. The kind of lightning that transcends barrier fences, war, and hatred.
The teenage lovers fall desperately into the throes of forbidden love, one that would create an irreparable rift between their families if it were discovered. But a love this big can only be kept secret for so long. Ronit and Jamil must face the fateful choice to save their lives or their loves, as it may not be possible to save both.
I truly love retellings. I love seeing one author take inspiration and rework it for their own. That being said, this story had so much potential and I feel like it didn’t hit it’s target.
Ronit meets Jamil when their fathers do business together. They immediately have an attraction for each other and exchange numbers so they can communicate and eventually arrange meetings so they can be together. Their families eventually find out and try to prevent their continued gatherings but fail. They want to be together and they struggle to find a way to do that in a way that won’t hurt their families.
The writing is done well, the story is told swiftly, if not a little too fast, but I think this hit the mark because it takes place during the Israel/Palestinian feud.
I was interested in reading this because I thought it would showcase their love and their struggle to love during this time while also showing the feud itself but it seemed to be an afterthought, swept under the rug as they focused on how they loved each other and spent their time together.
I was a little disappointed that it was in verse because it didn’t really help the story. It was more confusing as I read it because of the alternating POVs. Occasionally, I wasn’t sure whose perspective I was seeing.
Pamela L. Laskin had the opportunity to show the real conflict with Ronit & Jamil and I feel like she didn’t succeed, only showcasing a love affair between two teenagers who give up everything based on a chance meeting.