“This was a sweet YA romance with some really great themes and characters, but there was something missing; I wanted the story to go to the next level but it never really got there.”

~ Under the Covers

”Most people wouldn’t say I have a heart, and most people wouldn’t say you’re easy to talk to,” Caterina mused. Her brown eyes glittered. “It sounds like most people don’t know us.”

This was a sweet YA romance with some really great themes and characters, but there was something missing; I wanted the story to go to the next level but it never really got there.

In this sequel to Sandhya Menon’s Of Curses and Kisses, the trademark mean-girl-queen-bee at St. Rosetta’s Academy, Caterina LaValle, has only one thing on her mind: her plan to show everyone how untouched she is after her boyfriend, Alaric, cheated on her. She’s Queen Cat, and to stay on the throne, she needs a hot date to the Hindman Foundation Gala – one that will shock the smug looks off of Alaric and his rebound model girlfriend for good.

Rahul Chopra is head-over-heels in love with Caterina, and has been for a long time. And he can’t stop thinking about the night they danced together at the winter formal, when Caterina looked so hurt after Alaric’s betrayal. Rahul is socially awkward and feels no confidence in his own skin, but he still holds onto hope that Caterina remembers that dance between them, too. And so the only plausible answer when Caterina asks him to go to the Gala with her is yes. The next two weeks, Caterina begins Rahul’s makeover into RC, the hot prince on Caterina’s arm at all the high society functions. But what happens when Rahul likes RC better? And does Caterina really want Rahul to change?

Of Princes and Promises has so many great aspects to talk about. When I started reading, I didn’t jive with either of the main characters, but I especially didn’t relate to Rahul’s perspective; he’s so awkward that he comes off as unnecessarily cruel to his friends, and it was hard to read in his perspective at first. However, he is also easy to empathize with, and Menon does a good job of showing why he acts the way he does.

Both Rahul and Caterina have interesting character arcs, and it makes for an interesting main conflict I was not expecting; Menon took a fresh look at the “character changes himself” trope and I liked being surprised at that. At first, Rahul doesn’t feel right in his own skin, but it’s amazing to see his true transformation into someone comfortable and confident while still being himself. And Caterina learns that pretending to be invulnerable only hurts her in the end. Their romance rises to the occasion because of this interesting conflict twist, and I’m really glad they could find their happy ending (that’s not a spoiler, you definitely already knew they’d get together.).

In all honesty, perhaps my problem is that I didn’t read Of Curses and Kisses first. As soon as I started reading, so many characters and settings were introduced and I could tell I was supposed to have a familiarity with these people already. That could have been the barrier between me liking the book and me loving the book. However, this book still didn’t take the leap into the plot, and I think I could sense that hesitation throughout the entire read. It was all surface-level, never really diving into big conflicts or extra tense moments. In the last 20%, it gets close to that next level as everything comes together in the climax, but I really wish there had been a deeper plunge throughout the rest of the book.

Also, my understanding was that there would be a little bit of magic in this book, so I never grasped the purpose of the little hints of magic since I don’t think anything was actually magical? There were characters I suspected as soon as I met them, yet their conflicts were completely realistic. And most of the plot revolves around a bottle of hair gel that seemingly magically completes Rahul’s transformation into RC, yet I don’t think it ever ended up being magical? There needed to be a lot more explanation there because its purpose to the theme and the character arcs is never fully explained and that left me very confused by the end.

Ultimately, this book is a sweet romance with some great themes and an interesting twist that will take you by surprise. However, for me, I wished there was more depth because I never felt truly immersed in the story. I recommend this book to YA romance readers who want something quick and heart-warming to entertain them!

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[about-author author=”Sandhya Menon”]

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