Needing a fun summer read? Look no further!

Julieta and the Romeos is a contemporary young adult novel that triggers warm fuzzies and personal reflection as we follow Jules on a journey to discover who she is and what she wants out of life. (It’s so much more than choosing a good partner!)

Maria Andreu creates a relatable and real protagonist in Julieta. “Jules” enjoys journaling, poetry, and writing but lacks the confidence to realize her own talent. When she enters a summer writing program, she doubts her skills and longs for the approval of her instructor. Maria highlights our need for the occasional self-esteem boost. It resonates with my need to get validation for my writing skills within a jungle of author rejections!

The most enjoyable aspect of Julieta and the Romeos is guessing which “Romeo” Jules will choose. Will it be Lucas, her childhood BFF, who knows and understands her hopes and fears and can relate to her Argentinian culture? Will it be her best friend’s twin brother, Ryan, whom she discovers shares a similar passion for writing and understands her life goals? Or will it be Calvin, her abuela’s neighbor and handyman, who lives life on the edge with a sense of adventure?

Initially, I found myself on Team Lucas, but then I flipped to the unpredictability of Team Calvin while then being drawn into the mystery of Team Ryan. In the end… who will Jules choose? I’ll never tell!



I had the fantastic opportunity to ask author Maria Andreu a few questions about Julieta and the Romeos and her writing process.  



Me: Have you ever been in a similar situation as Jules, faced with a tough decision as to which partner was a better fit rather than simply the cutest or funniest?
Maria:  I haven’t so much been in a love quadrangle like Jules, or even a love triangle, but I have given some thought to how our choice of mate does affect the course of our lives in some way. If we pick a more adventurous mate, we have more opportunity for adventure, for example. Is that what we want? It opens up some opportunities and restricts others. Every choice we make in life does that. And, of course, we affect our partners, too, so I think about who I want to be in relationship, how I want to show up to make his life the best it can be. But it would be fun to have a summer like Jules has in JULIETA AND THE ROMEOS!
Me: How much of Jules and her parent’s immigration experience came from your own? 
Maria:  I’m very interested in this question of the immigrant experience being something that reverberates down the generations. I think we sometimes tend to think of it as an event. But it’s something you’re always reacting to, for several generations. My experience is a little like Jules’ in that I was the child of immigrants, and I watched my mom hustle to build and maintain a business (she’s been going strong for twenty-seven years now!). But I’m unlike Jules in that I came over as a kid, and didn’t speak English, so it feels very immediate to me in a way it might not to Jules, who has always lived here. But I was interested in asking this question of: how is being an immigrant, even the child of immigrants, a thing that guides how you think and live in the world? It’s a fascinating thing I’m still uncovering for myself and my family.
Me: Did you feel that Jules’ writing experience provided a voice for your own writing journey or frustrations?
Maria:  Yes, writing this book definitely felt like a big playground for “write what you know.” I gave Jules the high school writing program I’d have loved to have, but I also let her give voice to many of my own doubts and wants. I hope it resonates not just to readers who want to be writers, but to everyone who has a big dream and wonders if they have what it takes to achieve it. Short answer: you do!
Thank you, Maria, for graciously agreeing to an interview and for sharing Julieta and the Romeos with us!
Other books by Maria Andreu include Love in English and The Secret Side of Empty.
Thanks for visiting Pat’s Chat! 
My middle-grade Grymballia series is now available for direct order and shipping through my website! 

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