Happy Friday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for THE YEAR SHAKESPEARE RUINED MY LIFE! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Dani Jensen to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so so excited to for you to find out more about it, PLUS enter for a chance to win a print copy!
The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life by Dani Jansen
Published on September 22, 2020 by Second Story Press
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA, Queer
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Alison Green, desperate valedictorian-wannabe, agrees to produce her school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. That's her first big mistake. The second is accidentally saying Yes to a date with her oldest friend, Jack, even though she's crushing on Charlotte. Alison manages to stay positive, even when her best friend starts referring to the play as "Ye Olde Shakespearean Disaster." Alison must cope with the misadventures that befall the play if she's going to survive the year. She'll also have to grapple with what it means to be "out" and what she might be willing to give up for love.
If you could trade lives with any YA character for a day, who would it be and why? What about a week? A month, year, or forever?
For just a day, I’d trade places with someone living in a fantasy, I think. I could probably survive a fantasy novel for just about a day. I’d probably trade places with Lyra in His Dark Materials because the world Pullman has created is majestic. It’s also dangerous, so I would want to come home after a day. As for a week, I think I’d like to trade places with Georgia Nicolson. Rennison’s writing always gets me laughing, so I think it would be a bit of a vacation to live life like Georgia. After a week, I might be done with the drama, though. I’d also trade lives with Willowdean from Dumplin’ because she figures things out for herself so much earlier than I did! I wish I hadn’t spent so many years hating my body. Ultimately, though, I wouldn’t trade lives with any YA character forever because being a teenager is hard. I did my time and I’m happy I learned what I did. I’m ready for my adult-ish life.
What would you do if you spent the day with Alison? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
If I was a teenager again and I was friends with Alison, we’d be hanging out in the theatre. I was definitely a theatre kid. I started out mostly on stage, but happily migrated to the behind-the-scenes stuff by the time I was a senior. Alison needs to learn to relax, so after rehearsal, I’d take her to do something fun like watching a roller derby game. I can totally imagine Alison’s best friend, Becca, being a roller derby player! We could cheer Becca on and eat pizza.
If Alison were to hang out with characters from other YA books, who would they be and why?
Alison would appreciate Liz Lighty’s drive and determination (You Should See Me in a Crown). They both know what they want and are willing to do things that make them uncomfortable to reach their goals. Alison is more privileged than Liz, so the stakes are very different.
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
I didn’t use some of the drama games I researched in the book, but I did end up using them in my classes. So I’m not sure if that counts?
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life?
My favourite scene is when Alison and Charlotte play the mirror game at rehearsal. As a former theatre kid and a current drama teacher, I fully recognize how awkward warmups can be, especially for teens. I remember being paired up with people I found intimidating, or even people I had a crush on, and how intense those moments felt. I don’t think I ever had a reciprocated moment with someone, so it was nice to write a scene where the energy is not just one-sided. Also, YA can be fast-paced, which I love, but it was nice to slow things down, to pay attention to the little things, just as the game intends.
Were there alternate endings you considered, or did you always know where the story was headed?
Dani Jansen is a teacher and writer who lives in Montreal. She should probably be embarrassed to admit that she has performed as part of her school’s Glee Club for eight years. She should probably also be ashamed to tell people that she named her cats after punctuation symbols (Ampersand and Em-Dash, in case you’re curious).
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Have you added this amazing book to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!