Review: Curses and Kisses

Review: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1)

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Title: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy #1)

Author: Sandhya Menon

To Be Published: 18 February 2020

Pages: 384

Format: e-ARC (Netgalley), Kindle

Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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, but 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.

Rating: 3.75/5 (4/5 on Goodreads)


Of Curses and Kisses does not hide that it wants to be a modern Beauty and the Beast retelling, which is great because it is exactly that – and more!

I am a bit weary when it comes to YA contemporary because I feel many books lean so heavily on stereotypes that there isn’t anything real to grasp. However, this book is real, honest, and quite cute.

To break it down.

Real. I love when YA characters act like actual young adults, rather than reading like an adult is writing what they think young adults act/talk like. It made visualizing the story so much easier, and I really felt that each character acted their age and how one might act given certain life circumstances. 

A huge theme readers will find in Of Curses and Kisses is family. Family can make us, break us, and sometimes both. All the characters had their own complicated feelings and situations with their families, which added some serious dimension to their development. Some characters, like Grey and DE, had really troubling family situations that were flat-out bad. But then we have Jaya and Isha who have wonderful parents, who make mistakes. Because adults are human too. 

With this also comes forgiveness after making mistakes. It is seen between characters on different levels, peer to peer, peer to adult, etc. It is also seen as something that does not always happen, which is true to life. 

While I read a lot to escape how real life tends to me, I appreciated that the issues the characters faced were done in a thoughtful, realistic way. It was a good reminder that life is hard, but we keep moving forward.

Honest. I’m not sure I’ve picked up a YA book that addresses colonization in such an effective way. I’m pretty behind on recent YA books, so I know that there are other books out there. I need to get to them. 

Of Curses and Kisses is fiction, but it is straight-forward in discussing colonization and how it still harms countries today. 

It also talks about how difficult it is to meet the expectations set up by our families and pasts. Watching Jaya navigate this and find her own voice was fantastic.


All in all this was a love story. It was adorably charming and an overall good time. If this is the direction YA contemporary is heading, then we’re in for a very good time!

I’m not a teen anymore, but I would definitely suggest this to any teen who wants a modern retelling of a classic fairy tale that boasts unique, diverse characters, realistic problems, and difficult choices. 

I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

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