Hello my Unicorns, it’s Lori!🦄
I had the opportunity to read ‘Speak Easy, Speak Love’ and an Interview with the Author, Mckelle George! She is incredibly sweet and her book is absolutely fun filled, witty, fast paced and sexual tension.
Author: Mckelle George
Page Count: 410 pgs.
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Retellings, Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.45/5 stars
Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer.
Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother, John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.
Honestly, this is the first book I’ve read that I haven’t looked at the page numbers and just continuously read. This novel was fast paced, had me laughing, rolling my eyes, emotional as heck, and overall made me want certain characters to kiss already. Speaking of, Mckelle had Diverse characters with different domestic backgrounds, ethnicities, financial status that all became friends despite their differences and similarities. I loved seeing each character’s actions, thoughts and personalities shine through the pages.
It was truly a fun read that I recommend. Also, during this era Females were fighting for their rights and had the opportunity to vote. There is a few scenes that shows Feminist moments and a character who is literally the definition of one. This book made me want to travel to the 1920’s and experience it for a day. I wish I was friends with everyone in the book as well.
Overall, my rating is 4.8/5 stars
McKelle George is a reader, editor, perpetual doodler, and associate librarian at the best library in the world. She mentors with Salt Lake Teen Writes and plays judge for the Poetry Out Loud teen competitions (but has no poetic talent herself). Her debut young adult novel Speak Easy, Speak Love comes out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins in 2017, and she currently lives in Salt Lake City with an enormous white german shepherd and way, way too many books.
Connect with Mckelle
Author Interview w/Mckelle George
1) You mentioned in your Author Note that you did research about several topics in the 1920’s like Prohibition, Women’s rights etc. Which fact or event did you discover that stunned you and made you learn something new?
A: I learned so much, it’s hard to pick just one! But one of my favorite things was discovering about Izzy Einstein and Moe Smith, because until that point I hadn’t been sure I could include Dogberry and Verges and the moment I read about them I was like, “THERE THEY ARE!”
2) Which character do you identify with the most and why?
A: Oh definitely Benedick, ha ha. Poor special, sensitive writer. I’m definitely not rich. In that sense I identify with Beatrice, but I’d say I’m most like Benedick.
3) Which scene throughout the novel was your favorite to write?
A: Anytime Beatrice and Benedick went at each other. I could always count on those scenes to flow well and be fun to write. I also loved scenes with Maggie and John. Also anything with kissing??? Ha ha.
4) What/who inspired you to write a Shakespeare retelling of ‘Much Ado About Nothing?’
A: I was inspired to do a Shakespeare retelling after seeing some amazingly clever and intuitive adaptations at the RSC and the Globe in England. When I sat down to think of ways I could tackle my favorite play, Much Ado About Nothing, I thought instantly of the 1920s. The play is feminist in subtle ways and it offers two different kinds of womanhood in Hero and Beatrice, and the 1920s is a uniquely feminist decade. Women had just gotten the vote and the emergence of the flapper in the time after the Great War had all the right soil to explore those themes.
5) If your book was made into a movie, which character would you love to portray?
A: Probably Beatrice–mostly because she’s the only one who semi- matches my own physical description, but also it would be fun to spar Benedick.
6) If you could time travel to any place and time to experience then write about, where would you go?
A: Is it cheating to say the 1920’s? It’s such an awesome time period.
7) What book(s) are you currently reading? Any recommendations or anticipated reads you’re excited for?
A: I’m currently reading A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray (I’m late to this one), Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor, AND I JUST STARTED Hazelwood by Melissa Albert which I’m ridiculously excited about it.
8) Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects or novels written? Are you able to tell us?
A: I’m working on a creepy magical realism retelling of the Tempest, and also a dieslpunk reimagining of the Arthurian legend, which my agent seems to think is YA, so we’ll see!
Which Character From ‘Speak Easy, Speak Love’ Are You? Find Out!
Here are Art Prints of each character
Comment below! I want to hear them x