FICTION

Of Curses and Kisses

S. & S./Simon Pulse. Feb. 2020. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534417540.
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Gr 7 Up–Princess Jaya Rao and her younger sister Isha are sent to St. Rosetta’s International Academy to get away from the tabloids and reports of Isha’s missteps. At the heart of it all is Grey, the heir to the Emerson family, who has been taking pictures of Isha and selling them to the papers. When Jaya finds out Grey attends the same school, she plots her revenge. As the school year starts, Jaya is in every class with Grey and flirts with him to gain his trust, then break his heart. He’s often confused by her actions and things don’t go as planned. Jaya and Grey must find out what makes them each unique while also figuring out what it means to be part of a family. The stars align to make mischief in this story of loyalty, family honor, first love, and a generations-old feud. Told alternately by Jaya and Grey, readers learn about the history of each family and a curse that has carried on for generations. The story is well paced with enough action to balance the dialogue and character thoughts. The characters are well developed, the dialogue is current and believable, and the ongoing mystery combined with almost comic intrigue makes a solid YA romance.
VERDICT Fans of Colleen Houck’s A Tiger’s Curse will enjoy this star-crossed tale; think Romeo and Juliet meets Sherlock Holmes. Recommended for teen libraries.

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