Something for the Weekend? Book Review Izzy + Tristan by Shannon Dunlap

Alicia Duggan of The Bookshop reviews the latest releases.

This debut young adult novel by Shannon Dunlap is a modern take on the legend of Tristan and Iseult. As it says in the prologue, “This is not a novel. It’s a romance.”

Izzy is a sixteen-year-old, bright and practical aspiring doctor who has grown up in comfortable affluence on the Lower East Side. When her hippy parents decide to move the family to Brooklyn, Izzy and her twin brother Hull are less than happy.

Tristan is a genius chess prodigy from dysfunctional home who has spent the past two years living with his aunt in Brooklyn. His cousin Marcus has watched over him since he arrived, taking care of him but also making money out of betting on the chess matches he makes Tristan play. One such match, between Tristan and Hull, is the catalyst for all the wonderful and tragic things to come.

Izzy and Tristan meet and in true romance-novel fashion it’s love at first sight, however, they feel they must keep their relationship a secret leading to moonlit rendezvous and stolen kisses. However, as with all romantic tragedies, it begs the question – Is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

This is by no means a new story, but it is a fresh, modern take on an old one.—tristan—shannon-dunlap


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