10 must-read new YA book releases to make your December merry

Warmaidens by Kelly Coon. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
Warmaidens by Kelly Coon. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
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A Curse of Roses – Diana Pinguicha

In an #OwnVoices historical fantasy that’s based on Portuguese legend, A Curse of Roses follows the story of Princess Yzabel, a thirteenth-century royal who suffers from a terrible curse. Whenever she tries to eat, the food turns into flowers. Unable to consume a bite, she is quietly starving, even as her kingdom suffers from widespread famine and pestilence that leave her people suffering in a similar state.

Desperate to find a way to reverse her magic – which would not only save her life but her people’s as well by turning flowers into food, Yzabel seeks out Faytan, the Enchanted Moura, a legendary being that may be able to help break her curse. Yet, Faytan must first be freed from a set of magical bindings by a kiss, one which awakens a desire within Yzabel that complicates all her plans. And may even mean her own doom. You see, Yzabel is engaged to another – and the religious structure of thirteenth-century Portugal doesn’t exactly look kindly on same-sex romance.

The official synopsis describes the story in more detail.

"With just one touch, bread turns into roses. With just one bite, cheese turns into lilies. There’s a famine plaguing the land, and Princess Yzabel is wasting food simply by trying to eat. Before she can even swallow, her magic—her curse—has turned her meal into a bouquet. She’s on the verge of starving, which only reminds her that the people of Portugal have been enduring the same pain. If only it were possible to reverse her magic. Then she could turn flowers…into food. Fatyan, a beautiful Enchanted Moura, is the only one who can help. But she is trapped by magical binds. She can teach Yzabel how to control her curse—if Yzabel sets her free with a kiss. As the King of Portugal’s betrothed, Yzabel would be committing treason, but what good is a king if his country has starved to death? With just one kiss, Fatyan is set free. And with just one kiss, Yzabel is yearning for more. She’d sought out Fatyan to help her save the people. Now, loving her could mean Yzabel’s destruction."

A Curse of Roses is available on December 1.