I would rate this book four out of five – it was a really great read. The author clearly had done a lot of research into Shakespeare’s plays and life, and that lent a lot of authenticity to the book. The emotions and situations were very real too, and for me (a teenager like the main character) it was very easy to connect to the main character, Hamlet. Her feelings and actions – and the actions of most of the other characters, such as the guidance counsellor and her classmates – were very true to things we have all witnessed or experienced. I liked the way everything just came together at once at the end of the book, and of course the story itself. The main problem – of Hamlet’s family trying to live like the Elizabethans – is something that not many of us can say we’ve had to deal with, but the author makes it feel real and like something anyone can relate to.
However, because the way Hamlet’s family acts is so un realistic, it was difficult to take the conflict seriously at first. Although it because much easier to understand the problem and the way she feels later in the book, it was a little difficult to “get into” at first. Also, I found the behaviour of the two “popular girl” antagonists quite exaggerate, and it paralleled TV shows more than real life. But those two things only took one star off my rating, so you can probably tell that the good parts of this book far outweigh the bad.
All in all, there are countless reasons to real Total Tragedy – it’s a relatable, crazy, and clever read, and one that I would recommend to anyone who appreciates teen books, Shakespeare, or just a good laugh.