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Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

This young adult novel, which is a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast, is told in alternating viewpoints from Princess Jaya Rao, heiress to an Indian dynasty, and Grey Emerson, aka Lord Northcliffe, the son of a British Duke. The Raos and Emersons have a centuries long feud between their families, the Emersons having stolen a precious ruby from the Raos in the 1800s. It’s said that the Raos placed a curse on the Emersons which would result in the end of their family lineage. When unseemly photos (for a royal) of Jaya’s younger sister, Isha, are sent to the tabloids the two are sent to the elite boarding school, St. Rosetta’s, in the Colorado mountains to escape the fury of the kingdom’s residents. You can imagine Jaya’s shock when she discovers that Grey Emerson is also a St. Rosetta’s student. Thinking that he’s the one behind the photographs, Jaya sets out to make him fall in love with her and then crush his heart. Grey, who has been at St. Rosetta’s since kindergarten, is completely unaware of the sisters.

This was a quick and fun read. I loved the alternating viewpoints and liked both characters equally. The secondary characters are well developed as well. It’s interesting to get a look into a contemporary princess’s life, especially one of Indian descent. There’s so much pressure on Jaya to be perfect and she always tends to put the kingdom’s needs before her own. Even when it comes to her sister, who really wants to take a robotics class, Jaya keeps telling her there’s no way as a royal should never take a class like that. As for Grey, he has a very fraught relationship with his family and cringes whenever anyone refers to him as Lord Northcliffe. I enjoyed the unique spin on the Beauty and the Beast story – I’m especially glad there was no anthropomorphic furniture.

Of Curses and Kisses is the first book in a planned trilogy following the students of St. Rosetta’s.

You can find Of Curses and Kisses on Overdrive/Libby.

If you’re looking for more twisted fairy tales try The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer.

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