Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3
Release Date: 2.18.2020
Disclaimer: I received a free eARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you’ve read my article When Dimple Met Rishi and Why it’s Important to See Yourself in the Books You Read, you’re already aware of how much I love Sandhya Menon as an author, and how important her representation of the Indian American community in YA is to me and the entire YA audience. So, what better way to start of the month of February than with a review of her upcoming YA romance?
I was immediately hooked when I read the tagline “a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast;” I LOVE fairytale retellings (in fact, stay tuned for a favorites post about that coming up later this month). On top of that, a girl that looks like me (okay, maybe a taller version of high school me) was on the cover! So I dove right in –
From the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi comes the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending… Right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life. Sparkling and elegant, Jaya’s unlike anyone Grey has ever met. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.Sandhya Menon’s website
What I liked:
- The dual POV storytelling style: I’m generally a fan of dual POVs, ESPECIALLY when it comes to romance novels (come on, we all know there are always two sides to a love story–or any relationship, for that matter). Even past that though, I loved that Jaya and Grey had their own POV chapters because it let them tell their own narratives and for the audience to get to known both characters at a deeper level.
- The complex characters – The dual POV definitely aided the development of complexity for Jaya and Grey, and I loved that Menon took the time to take a deep dive into both of their pasts and emotions. Also the fact that a lot of this character exploration wasn’t solely restricted to their love lives was a refreshing aspect of the narrative.
- The integration of the fairytale retelling. It was amazing to discover–throughout the story–how various elements of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairytale were incorporated into the plot. A lot of them were’s strikingly obvious at first, but I could tell as I kept on reading that a lot of thought was put into them. My favorite types of retellings are those that weave in those elements in a way that’s so subtle it feels natural, and this book did a rather impressive job! <3
What I didn’t like:
- I really would have liked to see more of some of the minor characters in the book. Jaya talked about them constantly and expressed their importance multiple times, but although I had a vague idea of their characters, they didn’t get enough screen–sorry, page–time for me to truly connect with them.
This was a short + sweet fairytale retelling that not only has a swoon-worthy romance perfect for enjoying this month, but also features a diverse cast and array of topics to pique your interest. I highly recommend checking this book out once it hits shelves (or the ebook/audiobook store, whichever you prefer)! Once again, Of Curses and Kisses comes out on February 18th (that’s less than 10 days away!). More information about the book, as well as pre-order details, can be found above 🙂
<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Thank you so much for reading! Are you excited to read Of Curses and Kisses? Any thoughts on the cover?