for Ever Cursed
by Corey Ann Haydu
Jane, 18, is the oldest of the five Spellbound princesses of Ever, each cursed to go without something particular from the moment she turns 13. Jane can't eat, Nora can't love, Alice can't sleep, Grace can't remember. Eden, about to turn 13, will go without hope. Jane and her sisters think their father is a good king and kind man; Reagan, the young witch who cast the spell, knows otherwise. She cursed the family after learning the king raped her mother. She only recently discovered that in casting the curse she threatened a long-ago agreement between witches and royals. Now there are four days until Reagan turns 18 and the curse turns True-irreversible. Reagan's only hope to save her family and Jane's only hope to save herself is if it can be undone. With blistering honesty, this feminist novel alternates between Jane's and Reagan's points of view as it exposes sexism and misogyny, and the willful ignorance and lack of compassion on which power and economic privilege depend. Jane and Reagan are both white, but the fresh, imaginative world-building embraces racial diversity and queer inclusiveness in a story as intentionally unsettling (e.g., the sexual objectification of Jane and her sisters by suitors who prefer them Spellbound; the silence that supports the status quo) as it is immensely satisfying, if not cathartic, once the two young women join forces, silences are broken, truths are made public, and a reckoning occurs. (Age 13 and older)
CCBC Choices 2021. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2021. Used with permission.
“Ideal for fans of Jennifer Donnelly’s Stepsister.” —Booklist
Damsel meets A Heart in a Body in the World in this incisive and lyrical feminist fairy tale about a princess determined to save her sisters from a curse, even if it means allying herself with the very witch who cast it.
The Princesses of Ever are beloved by the kingdom and their father, the King. They are cherished, admired.
Jane, Alice, Nora, Grace, and Eden carry the burden of being punished for a crime they did not commit, or even know about. They are each cursed to be Without one essential thing—the ability to eat, sleep, love, remember, or hope. And their mother, the Queen, is imprisoned, frozen in time in an unbreakable glass box.
But when Eden’s curse sets in on her thirteenth birthday, the princesses are given the opportunity to break the curse, preventing it from becoming a True Spell and dooming the princesses for life. To do this, they must confront the one who cast the spell—Reagan, a young witch who might not be the villain they thought—as well as the wickedness plaguing their own kingdom…and family.
Told through the eyes of Reagan and Jane—the witch and the bewitched—this insightful twist of a fairy tale explores power in a patriarchal kingdom not unlike our own.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.