I requested this book from NetGalley because the title is from my favorite Shakespeare quote (“This above all: to thine ownself be true.”). The quote is actually from Hamlet, but this story focuses on a high school drama class’ performance of Romeo and Juliet.
The main character, Piper, comes from a very conservative religious family and she’s the daughter of an evangelical pastor. Despite knowing it’s not allowed, she tries out for the play anyway and gets the lead role…as Romeo. She quarrels with herself over it because she’s been taught that being gay is wrong, and wouldn’t it make her gay to play Romeo since Juliet is a girl too?
Piper has a lot of growth over the course of the book and really becomes her own person. She stands up for what she believes in and defends her new friends, even though that means defying her father nd everything that she’s been taught. She even finds love. The friendships in the book were well done and felt like they’d be accurate for high school kids (disagreements, rumors, getting to know new people, etc.).
Religion is mentioned a lot in the book since her father’s a pastor, but it’s not anti-religion. Piper remains faithful throughout the book, but she questions her father’s tactics (which are very similar to those of the Westboro Baptist Church). I know that can be a touchy subject, but I feel like the author handled it well without insulting anything.
I would recommend this to fans of Shakespeare, young adult books (especially lgbt ya) and to people who like reading good books.