Star-Crossed Lovers: YA Books Inspired by Romeo and Juliet

From feuding families to balcony scenes, these novels draw on the best of the Bard.

romeo and juliet
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  • Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

Though many students groan when they see Shakespeare on their high school reading lists, they should be excited. Shakespeare's works are dramatic, hilarious, and clever—it's no wonder they've stood the test of time, nor is it surprising that his work has inspired so many contemporary novels, not to mention movies (10 Things I Hate About You, anyone?).

Of course, Shakespeare's most famous work is Romeo and Juliet, and as such, it's inspired an incredible amount of contemporary novels, not to mention movies. Below are just a few of our favorite stories that make us feel like we're in fair Verona.

when you were mine, a ya book inspired by romeo and juliet

When You Were Mine

By Rebecca Serle

Rosaline is head over heels for Rob. Everything seems perfect until Juliet moves back to town. Now gorgeous, unstable Juliet has her sights set on Rob, and Rosaline fears losing him altogether.

zombie boy giving humn girl yellow flower

Warm Bodies

By Isaac Marion

The feud between the Montagues and the Capulets is embodied by the undead versus the living in this zombie romance. When R decides not to eat Julie and instead saves her from his fellow zombies, an unlikely relationship begins.

crushing on a capulet, a ya book based on romeo and juliet

Crushing on a Capulet

By Tony Abbott

A magical library hurls best friends Devin and Frankie right into the middle of the action of Romeo and Juliet. When they learn that Romeo and Juliet have fallen in love despite the ongoing feud between their families, Devin and Frankie decide to help the doomed lovers avoid their tragic end.

romeo's ex, a ya book based on romeo and juliet

Romeo's Ex

By Lisa Fiedler

Romeo’s Ex retells the action of Shakespeare’s play from the perspective of Rosaline, the girl Romeo loved before Juliet. Rosaline falls for Benvolio while the feuding reaches a new intensity, and the couple schemes to bring peace to the Montagues and the Capulets.

the juliet club, a ya book inspired by romeo and juliet

The Juliet Club

By Suzanne Harper

Kate Sanderson enrolls in a summer Shakespeare course in Verona, the Italian setting of Romeo and Juliet, hoping she’ll recover from a recent heartbreak while she’s there. But studying Romeo and Juliet means it’s hard for Kate to escape romance altogether.