- Expected 18 Feb 2020
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. That's why when she finds out she'll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, a member of the rival royal family behind a humiliating scandal involving her little sister, she schemes to get revenge on the young nobleman in order to even the score between their families. The plan? Make him fall in love with her and then break his heart the way his family has broken hers.
Grey Emerson doesn't connect with people easily. Due to a curse placed on his family by the Raos that his superstitious father unquestioningly, annoyingly believes in, Grey grew up internalising that he was doomed from the day he was born. Sequestered away at St. Rosetta's Academy, he's lived a quiet existence in relative solitude. That is, until Jaya Rao bursts into his life. Jaya is exuberant and elegant and unlike anyone Grey has ever met before, but he can't help feeling that she's hiding something behind her beautiful smile and charmingly awkward attempts at flirting. Despite his better instincts, though, he starts to fall for her.
Jaya's plan isn't totally going according to plan. For one, Grey is aggravatingly handsome. And for two, she's realising there's maybe more to him than his name and his family imply.
The stars are crossed for Jaya and Grey. But can they still find their fairy-tale ending?
In this uneven "Beauty and the Beast" retelling from Menon (When Dimple Met Rishi), Princess Jaya Rao is the heiress to an old Indian kingdom, and though India is now a democracy, she still has to act the part. This means doing her duty (acting "benevolent, firm, and fair"), aspiring to perfection, and looking after her free-spirited younger sister, Isha. Isha's appearance in the tabloids is why, in Jaya's senior year, they've been sent to St. Rosetta's International Academy, a fancy boarding school in the Colorado mountains where the rich stash children who they want out of the public eye. Jaya has reconciled herself to it, though: Grey Emerson, scion of the English family that her own has feuded with over a cursed ruby for generations, also attends there. The plan is to break his heart as payback for his allegedly leaking a photo of Isha to the press. Seventeen-year-old Beast stand-in Grey is lonely, brooding, and, "tainted" by the curse, sure he can't be with people. As if their family connection isn't enough, Grey and Jaya's tempestuous relationship becomes entangled with other school dramas. En route to the inevitable happy ending, readers may tire of repeated descriptions that underline not only the characters' wealth and family connections but also their emotional states, which are often described, and then announced, within the protagonists' alternating first-person narratives. Ages 12 up.