On the surface, Romeo has it all: success on the basketball court, a group of good friends, the companionship of the beautiful Rosie. Deep down, he knows something is wrong: All he feels for Rosie is friendship, and all he feels for his friends' intolerance is guilt. Everything changes when he meets the openly gay Julian at a party and finds himself sharing a kiss with him. In spite of their obvious attraction, Romeo now feels less sure of himself than ever, and leaves without even telling Julian his name.
With Rosie's support, Romeo begins exploring his sexuality — and ends up running into Julian again. Realizing how little he knows about other sexual orientations and gender identities, Romeo begins to see the world in a whole new light, and he and Julian begin to fall in love. But his homophobic friends and family can't accept him as gay. After a violent confrontation with one of his old friends, Romeo becomes determined to prove that his love for Julian is real and right.
Romeo for Real will give readers the courage to take pride in who they are and whom they love.
MARKUS HARWOOD-JONES is a writer, visual artist and documentary filmmaker. He is the author of the short story collections Confessions of a Teenage Transsexual Whore and Everything & All at Once. His feature film, Mosaic, tells the story of his journey across Canada and the United States to learn more about the trans community. He lives in Toronto.
"This was an approachable read for upper middle to high school readers. The dramatics are engaging enough, and the writing should be easy for students in the age range to adapt to and understand."
"...these novels [Just Julian and Romeo for Real] provide much-needed representation for those whom society marginalizes."
"Romeo for Real is short, fast paced and easy to follow. It is also informative for YA readers who aren't at all knowledgeable about LGBTQ+ matters."
"These [Real Love modern romances, written at a fourth grade reading level, effectively tie in contemporary themes like bullying and social media while presenting relatable characters embracing their sexuality."
"The romance stories in Lorimer's Real Love series reflect the diverse world that teens live in — at a reading level for emerging readers."
"I bet this story is more true to life than I can imagine...I loved reading both books [Romeo for Real and Just Julian] and I think for those who are not fans of reading these are pretty quick reads and pretty important stories."
"I applaud Harwood-Jones' concept ... The love story is cute and will likely appeal to some readers looking for a swift queer love-at-first-sight tale ..."
"Together, Romeo and Julian find that as long as they are together, their love can conquer all."