A fun read for fans of modern fairy-tale retellings.


From the Rosetta Academy series , Vol. 2

Caterina LaValle seeks to reclaim her social status by turning an awkward frog into a prince.

Caterina, Italian daughter of a millionaire, is the reigning queen of Rosetta Academy, an elite international boarding school. After a messy breakup, she is determined to prove she still has power over everything and everyone. When her ex-boyfriend brags that he’s bringing a supermodel to an upcoming gala, she knows she has to do better. Cue the sweet, socially inept Rahul Chopra, a boy from India who wants nothing more than to fit in and spend time with Caterina. When she proposes he be her escort to the gala, Rahul immediately says yes. With the help of a makeover, coaching in social interactions, and magical hair gel, Rahul transforms into RC, a smooth-talking, likable, supposed crown prince fit to be seen with someone of his date’s standing. As his two personas begin to collide, Rahul loses sight of what’s important—including his relationship with Caterina. This modern twist on “The Frog Prince,” told from the alternating third-person perspectives of Caterina and Rahul, has the classic appeal of a makeover story, focusing as it does on having confidence in your true self and being honest and vulnerable. Readers who enjoyed the first series entry, Of Curses and Kisses (2020), will enjoy this sequel, which features cameo appearances by characters they’ve met before.

A fun read for fans of modern fairy-tale retellings. (Romance. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1757-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Fast-moving and intriguing though inconsistent on multiple fronts.


From the Nyxia Triad series , Vol. 1

Kids endure rigorous competition aboard a spaceship.

When Babel Communications invites 10 teens to participate in “the most serious space exploration known to mankind,” Emmett signs on. Surely it’s the jackpot: they’ll each receive $50,000 every month for life, and Emmett’s mother will get a kidney transplant, otherwise impossible for poor people. They head through space toward the planet Eden, where they’ll mine a substance called nyxia, “the new black gold.” En route, the corporation forces them into brutal competition with one another—fighting, running through violent virtual reality racecourses, and manipulating nyxia, which can become almost anything. It even forms language-translating facemasks, allowing Emmett, a black boy from Detroit, to communicate with competitors from other countries. Emmett's initial understanding of his own blackness may throw readers off, but a black protagonist in outer space is welcome. Awkward moments in the smattering of black vernacular are rare. Textual descriptions can be scanty; however, copious action and a reality TV atmosphere (the scoreboard shows regularly) make the pace flow. Emmett’s first-person voice is immediate and innocent: he realizes that Babel’s ruthless and coldblooded but doesn’t apply that to his understanding of what’s really going on. Readers will guess more than he does, though most confirmation waits for the next installment—this ends on a cliffhanger.

Fast-moving and intriguing though inconsistent on multiple fronts. (Science fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55679-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel,...


From the Girl of Fire and Thorns series , Vol. 1

Adventure drags our heroine all over the map of fantasyland while giving her the opportunity to use her smarts.

Elisa—Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riqueza of Orovalle—has been chosen for Service since the day she was born, when a beam of holy light put a Godstone in her navel. She's a devout reader of holy books and is well-versed in the military strategy text Belleza Guerra, but she has been kept in ignorance of world affairs. With no warning, this fat, self-loathing princess is married off to a distant king and is embroiled in political and spiritual intrigue. War is coming, and perhaps only Elisa's Godstone—and knowledge from the Belleza Guerra—can save them. Elisa uses her untried strategic knowledge to always-good effect. With a character so smart that she doesn't have much to learn, body size is stereotypically substituted for character development. Elisa’s "mountainous" body shrivels away when she spends a month on forced march eating rat, and thus she is a better person. Still, it's wonderfully refreshing to see a heroine using her brain to win a war rather than strapping on a sword and charging into battle.

Despite the stale fat-to-curvy pattern, compelling world building with a Southern European, pseudo-Christian feel, reminiscent of Naomi Kritzer's Fires of the Faithful (2002), keeps this entry fresh. (Fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202648-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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