Book Reviews

Book Tour: Book Review: Teach the Torches to Burn by Caleb Roehrig

I have been meaning to read a book by Roehrig for ages now and when I saw Teach the Torches to Burn, I knew this was the one to start! This remixed classic is in my top three from the entire line! What a fantastic retelling! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


In Teach the Torches to Burn, a breathlessly romantic remix of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and seventh book in the Remixed Classics series, a queer teen boy discovers first love amid a bloody, centuries-old feud.

Verona, Italy. Seventeen-year-old aspiring artist Romeo dreams of a quiet life with someone who loves him just as he is. But as the heir to the Montague family, he is expected to give up his womanly artistic pursuits and uphold the family honor–particularly in their centuries-old blood feud with a rival family, the Capulets. Worse still, he is also expected to marry a well-bred girl approved by his parents and produce heirs. But the more Romeo is forced to mingle with eligible maidens, the harder it is to keep his deepest secret: He only feels attracted to other boys.

In an attempt to forget his troubles for just one night, Romeo joins his cousin in sneaking into a Capulet party. During a fateful encounter in the garden, he meets the kindest, most beautiful boy he’s ever encountered and is shocked to learn he’s Valentine, the younger brother of one of his closest friends. He is even more shocked to discover that Valentine is just as enamored with Romeo as Romeo is with him.

So begins a tender romance that the boys must hide from their families and friends, each of them longing for a world where they could be together without fear. And as the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets escalates out of control, Romeo and Valentine find themselves in danger of losing each other forever–if not by society’s scorn, then by the edge of a blade.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Teach the Torches to Burn honors the themes from the original – the pressure of a name, of a legacy, and the intensity of the family conflict – while exploring new interpretations and layers. Roehrig examines the pressures we feel to “be” something, to have an identity that has been thrust upon us and is not ours. All the labels and stereotypes that are heaped upon us limiting the potential of our expression, of being who we truly are.

Teach the Torches to Burn explores the openness we have, opportunities not open to us, and queer futures we chase. I loved that the extent of the retelling went deeper than just our two main characters and permeates the entire story. The masks we wear and whether they become pieces of us or only chafe more and more. Teach the Torches to Burn is like sinking into our favorites, while also giving it new light.

Roehrig explores fate and social cages. All the ways we are trapped. This is one of my favorites of this new remixed classics series in its inventiveness and heart from start to finish.

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Tour Schedule

August 21st 

Utopia State of Mind – Review

@booksfilmsandtea – Review

August 22nd

@read_with_kate.16 – Review & Aesthetic

@gingerly_reading – Review

August 23rd

pluvioreads – Review 

Ofbooksandromance – Review

August 24th

Moyashi_girl – Review 

@firestorm_of_books – Review & Book Look

August 25th

Yourlocalbookreader – Review 

Mythicmelancholy – Review

August 26th

@thereadingchemist – Review 

@Naturally.caffeinated.reader  – Review

August 27th

@melaniereadsbooks – Review

@annas_sweets_and_stories – Review & Favorite Quote

About the Author

Caleb Roehrig is a former actor and television producer who cannot seem to live in one place. Currently dividing his time between Chicago and Helsinki, he is an expert at writing on planes and recovering from jet lag. His young adult titles include Teach the Torches to Burn: A Romeo & Juliet Remix; the acclaimed thrillers Last Seen Leaving, White Rabbit, Death Prefers Blondes, and The Fell of Dark; and The Poison Pen—a tie-in to the CW’s popular Riverdale television series—and the Archie Horror original novel A Werewolf in Riverdale. Wherever he’s living at the moment, he’s there with his husband and an overabundance of books.

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