OF PRINCES AND PROMISES, by Sandhya Menon, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, June 8, 2021, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult)
Author Sandhya Menon returns to her popular Rosetta Academy series in Of Princes and Promises, a twist on The Frog Prince fairy tale.
Caterina LaValle is determined to show she’s still the queen of St. Rosetta’s Academy. Sure, her crown may be slightly askew after her ex-boyfriend, Alaric, cheated on her, but she’s a LaValle. She’ll find a way to march right back in there, her hands clutching the strings to the whole puppet show. This time, she’s going to be untouchable.
Rahul Chopra knows that moment he shared with Caterina LaValle at the winter formal meant something. Surely she feels it, too. He’s a little uncertain how someone like him (socially inept to a point way past “adorkable”) could fit into her world, but he’s loved Caterina for years. He knows they’ll find a way.
When Caterina finds out Alaric is taking a supermodel to the upcoming gala, she knows she cannot arrive without the perfect date. But the thought of taking another superficial St. R’s boy exhausts her. The solution? Sweet-but-clueless Rahul Chopra and a mysterious pot of hair gel with the power to alter the wearer into whatever his heart desires.
When Rahul tries it, he transforms instantly into RC — debonair, handsome, and charming. But transformation comes with a price: As Rahul enjoys his new social standing, the line between his two personas begins to blur. Will he give up everything, including Caterina, to remain RC? Or will this unlikely pair find their way back to each other? —Synopsis provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Each of the books in the Rosetta Academy series takes place at an elite boarding school and offer a twist on fairy tales — Of Curses and Kisses is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast. But to be honest, Of Princes and Promises reads less like the Frog Prince and more like Pygmalion/My Fair Lady.
I came to Of Princes and Promises without having read Of Curses and Kisses. I worried that this would put me at a disadvantage, but the book stands well on its own. Would some of the other characters and side information meant more to me had I read the first book first? Yes. But I didn’t feel lost.
Caterina starts out the novel feeling very one-note. She is that popular girl who gets whatever she wants no matter how she gets it. As the novel progresses, she becomes a more nuanced, likeable character that you want to end up happy.
It takes less time to get to know Rahul. He’s more straightforward and a bit bland. It’s interesting to watch his development from Rahul to RC to someone in between. He’s not particularly dynamic but enjoyable nonetheless.
Author Sandhya Menon’s writing style is comfortable and engaging. And although some of the finer plot points and the overall outcome were predictable, I found myself not caring at all. Now that I’ve finished Of Princes and Promises, I’m going to go back and read it’s predecessor. I look forward to more books in this series.
© 2021, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.