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Of Curses and Kisses: 03/23/20
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon is the first of the St. Rosetta's Academy series. Set in Colorado at an exclusive boarding school, it's a modern day retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
Princess Jaya Rao and her sister are attending. She's a senior. Her sister is a sophomore. Jaya is there to break a boy's heart, in revenge for what his family has done to hers.
Grey Emerson is the last in the line of a family who had wronged Jaya's family. He has been raised to believe his life will end on the morning of his eighteenth birthday. Jaya's arrival is the first sign that the curse is true and playing out as expected.
While many of the Beauty and the Beast connections are metaphorical, there are scenes are homages to Disney's 1995 version. I haven't seen their newer remake, so I can't comment if there are scenes in the novel that take inspiration from it.
Jaya and Grey's relationship as it progresses from rivals, to friends, to a couple, also places the novel in the bounds of the road narrative spectrum. From the parallel structure of their narratives, it's clear from the very first pages that they will be a couple (33). Thus together they are the travelers.
Their destination is uhoria (CC). For Jaya, initially, the goal is undo the harm done to her family by Grey's family. She is looking towards the past. Grey, meanwhile, is hoping against hope of having a future. If the curse is true, life ends for him in December. If he can break the curse, then he can have a future. Both of them are focused on time oriented goals, thus uhoria is their destination.
The route they take is the labyrinth (99). The labyrinth is a transformative journey, one with no blind alleys and little danger. The danger these two face is in the form or rumors and in the jealousy of other people in their lives. The curse, in the form of a nursery rhyme Grey has grown up with, is the itinerary of their journey. The falling rubies from Jaya's pendant mark the journey's progress.
All together, Of Curses and Kisses, is about a couple traveling to uhoria via a labyrinth (33CC99). The second book in the series is Of Princes and Promises. It releases on January 12, 2021.