Shakespeare Burning by Charisse Moritz

Shakespeare Burning

Shakespeare Burning
Author: Charisse Moritz
Genre: YA, Family, romance
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*I received a free copy of Shakespeare Burning. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased.*

About the book

First, my issue with the book cover is the title. Now I notice that neither word is capitalized, and it bothers me a little. Shake LeCasse is a guy with a lot of problems, the start of the book offers a view of a boy who is angry and lost. The more I read about Shake, the more sorry I felt for him. He is definitely a tortured soul, a lost kid who has lost his direction in life. I learn about his tragedy, survivor’s guilt in teenagers can be dramatic, but in his case, totally justified. In the detention, there’s two regular citizens whom he would rather stay away from.


Shake LeCasse, the varsity hockey- captain, star of the school. Now a broken boy who does not know how to piece himself back together. Shake has been through a traumatic incident, and he’s struggling a lot. He shuts himself off, becoming this self- destructive and honestly annoying. Well, that’s because I do not know his story until the middle of the book. By then my view of him relaxed, but Shake can be a little emo for me.

Cleo Lee likes to pick on him during detention. She should not have, but she cannot help herself. She’s the girl everyone avoids, the only thing she needs is the word “trouble” on her forehead. Cleo helps Shake many times, despite constantly telling herself to stay away. Everyone disapproves of their relationship, including herself. She is a secretive girl but has a kind heart despite the rough outer shell. As the story progresses, we see why.

Allie is also a regular at detention, if she’s a guy she would be the creepy guy who makes your skin crawl. In the book, she’s the girl who makes your skin crawl with all the sexual innuendos. Sometimes I wonder if she’s mad, but surely she’s a character that gives any school a more authentic feel. Aside from Allie, there are other characters who play an important role in Shake and Cleo’s life. There’s friends, teachers and the grandmother who does not know how to interact with teenage angst.


Shakespeare Burning is in the first person’s point of view, and in Shake’s and Cleo’s respectively. I think it works pretty well. Their voices are different enough to know who I am reading. As the story progresses, Cleo is helping with an agenda. What happens when Shake finds out? The story starts with Shake in pain, and we move to the past through his and her memory as they take small steps towards the future.


The book is for mature young adults, someone who can handle all the sexual references and drug problems the book offers. The world building is not perfect, but the focus is on their relationship and growth as a person. Shake and Cleo have to navigate high school, life, and love as they battle their inner demons. It is not a romantic humour or light read that makes you happy. This is a book that twists your guts before letting you go with a sigh of contentment.

Shakespeare Burning is a book that has lost, longing, and love. Will you like the tortured soul or hate the teenage angst? Click To Tweet

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