From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.
These Royals will ruin you…
Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.
Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.
Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.
He might be right.
I freaking loved this book. As I read it, I felt like I did the first time I read Fallen Crest High by Tijan. This is not to say that the stories are the same. Rather it was that slightly naughty relationship that blossoms between pseudo-siblings and all the angst that comes along with kids who might technically be teens, but life experience has forced them to grow up quicker than they should have, that makes Paper Princess absolutely delicious. This is not to say that 16 and 17 year-olds don’t have sex – no, I’m not that naïve – but rather that Ella, The Royals, and many of the students of Astor Park Prep Academy are more like young twenty-somethings than teenagers, and the games and manipulation they engage in would make a politician jealous.
Ella has been raised by a single mother who is recently deceased, yet no one knows because at seventeen, Ella refuses to become part of the system. Having cared for her mother while she was dying of cancer, working to keep a roof over their head and food in their bellies, and going to high school at the same time meant that Ella became an adult well before the state recognized her as such. Even though she might not love her life, it’s her life. So it’s not surprising that she balks at Callum Royal’s sudden appearance, claiming to be her guardian and determined to whisk her away to his home to become the instant sister to his five sons. Unfortunately, in an attempt to do right by his deceased best friend (Ella’s father), Callum’s decision to make Ella part of their family means she soon becomes an east target for his sons’ antagonistic attitudes for their father. As the “rulers” of their school, The Royal brothers’ dislike of their new “sister” makes her fair game for the mean girls and the players as well, but Ella’s life gives her the backbone and fortitude she needs to keep them from getting to her too often. All the while Ella is trying to adjust to her new life, find her place in the family, and find her place in school, she’s fighting her unwanted attraction to Reed, the second oldest Royal. And it is the sexual tension between Reed and Ella that makes Paper Princess absolutely delicious.
I loved Ella. Rather than giving up when her mother died, she did what she had to in order to make her own way. Despite what her “brothers” thought, she fought against becoming a member of the Royal family, but once she was there, she refused to let them beat her down. Yes, she had moments of frustration where she wanted to cry and give up, and who could blame her with the way those boys acted like entitled twits. Seeing her earn her acceptance in the family was awesome because it meant the guys had her back, especially when she was able to get a bit of payback on Daniel. There are certainly some interesting relationship dynamics within The Royal household, but I’ll leave those tasty nuggets and tangled webs for you to discover. I don’t really think it’s a spoiler to confirm that yes, Ella and Reed eventually get together, because after all, Paper Princess is a romance, but this is just the first book in the series, so it was a good thing I wasn’t expecting a happy ending. And I’ll admit that even though the reading of the will was more than a bit of a shock, it didn’t even begin to prepare me for the major blow that Watt delivers with that jaw-dropping cliffhanger of an ending. That was a WTF?!?!? moment, if ever I read one, and it left me desperate for book two. I need Broken Prince STAT!!!