Tiger's Curse, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Tiger's Curse, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Twilight for cat lovers.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Most of the book takes place in the jungles of India. Readers will learn a bit about Hindu gods and goddesses -- especially Durga and Hanuman, their temples, and some fascinating legends. Poetry is spouted occasionally, and Romeo and Juliet is read and discussed by the main characters.

Positive Messages

Learning how to love again after loss is a big theme here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kelsey is a positive character in many ways. She dives right into helping Ren break the curse and finds herself in some very sticky situations. But she can also be very insecure and spiteful, especially when she compares herself to too-perfect Ren. Despite that, Ren is very dedicated to her -- yet another notch in his belt. Mr. Kadam is incredibly loyal and caring to both Ren's family and to Kelsey, who starts to see him as a grandfather figure.


Kelsey's parents died in a car accident four years previously and she discusses it often. As tigers, Ren and Kishan hunt down and kill an antelope in one bloody scene. Kelsey almost dies from bites to the neck by a vampiric Kappa. Spirits torment both Ren and Kelsey with visions of death.


Plenty of passionate embraces, but there's no indication that either Ren or Kelsey is thinking of taking it any further.


A few high-end brands -- Armani, Rolls-Royce -- and attractive celebrities (Brad Pitt) mentioned to draw attention to the wealth and attractiveness of Ren.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this romantic fantasy book will remind readers of Twilight -- there's lots of romance that sticks to kissing only, and there's an idealized male character who's put on a pedestal by the insecure heroine (well, in this case, he's a tiger most of the time, but when he's a man...) Violence is a little lighter than Twilight, though, and readers will likely enjoy learning a bit about India and Hindu gods and goddesses.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bystephanym May 17, 2015

Best Teenage Book

This book series is my all time favorite it has action, adventure, romance, and even talks about other cultures.
Its more of a teen and young adult series. it s... Continue reading
Adult Written byehlenat January 6, 2015

Great Book for kids!

This book not only tells a story of a girl in her hopeless teen years, aspiring to go to college. this is what almost every parent would want for their child, a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 21, 2014

Amazing book!

I think this is an amazing book for tweens and teens! I loved the romance and adventure and I really like the mythology part (I <3 rick riordan). Some pe... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byfictionalcharacters January 16, 2014

A review from a teen herself

I am almost 15 and I began this series in the 8th grade. I have to say that I LOVE this book! There is romance between the characters. Nothing more than kissing... Continue reading

What's the story?

When Kelsey takes a two-week temp job at a small traveling circus after graduation, she's excited about the idea of taking care of a tiger. But not as excited as she is when the tiger is sold to a very wealthy Indian man, Mr. Kadam, and she's asked to travel with him -- at least until he makes it to a nature preserve. But there's a reason Kelsey feels so bonded with the tiger. She's somehow broken a small part of a curse: Three hundred years ago, an Indian prince named Dhiren was cursed to live as a tiger -- but in Kelsey's presence, he can reveal his true self. He's free to be a man for 24 minutes of every day and needs Kelsey's help to break the rest of the curse. Kelsey is somehow favored by the Hindu goddess Durga who sends them on one of four dangerous tasks.

Is it any good?

This has most of the qualities of a good suck-you-in, heart-aflutter, page-turner romance. A hot prince -- sure. A foreign setting -- even better. An average girl like most of the faithful readers who is the only one who can save him -- great. Readers may wish that the heroine here had a little more pluck, though; Kelsey's constant insecurity and sarcasm make it hard to root for her. 

But despite the blah heroine and some writing that could use lots more spit and polish (this was commendably self-published first in 2009 before being picked up by Sterling), TIGER'S CURSE will suck romance readers in -- yes, especially those Twilight fans. As an added bonus, readers will learn a bit about Hindu gods and goddesses -- and get exposed to some Shakespeare. Let's just hope Kelsey takes a self-esteem workshop before the next book in the series.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how male characters are often idealized in romantic fantasy. Can you find any real faults in Ren? Do these depictions have any impact on teen's real-life romantic expectations?

  • Why do you think this romance is so popular? This book spent weeks on The New York Times best seller list for children's chapter books. What made readers connect with it?  The fantasy elements? The romance? The foreign setting? The dreamy prince?

Book details

For kids who love romance

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