Book Review : Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Paper Princess: A Novel (The Royals)

Series : The Royals
Volume : 1 of 5
Author : Erin Watt (aka Elle Kennedy & Jen Frederick)
Published By : Timeout LLC
Year Published : 2016
Genre/Tags : New Adult, Romance, Slightly Smutty, Guilty Pleasure
Mood : Light and cute but w/drama
Formats : Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
# of Pages : 364 pgs (Paperback)

Summary

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.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 

Review

I’ve had some bad luck with books in the new adult genre, and upon seething after reading three high profile titles (not including a DNF’d one) one might wonder why I’d still venture into this genre. I also wonder, but decided to give this book a whirl as a sort of guilty pleasure break for March. I liked it! Surprisingly fun in a frothy, silly way.

The heroine is so many leagues above some of the other new adult heroines I’ve read. Quite possibly the best I’ve within this genre so far. She’s resourceful and sassy, rarely whiny, and very fixed on her goals and planning for how she’s going to make use of what is an improbably awesome stroke of luck.

As mentioned in the summary, Ella goes from impoverished to being whisked away on some private jet, living in a mansion, and getting a hefty allowance each month. It’s not all some dreamy fantasy though, as she clashes with ultra rich students at her new school. Not to mention the chaos in dealing with a collection of snobbish and out-of-control boys that she’s now living with. I like how she has pride despite the class differences that constantly pop up. She’s not ashamed of being from a different background.

The love interest, Reed, starts off pointedly disliking Ella and wanting little to do with her. It’s a sort of enemies-to-lovers scenario, with both characters slowly becoming attracted to each other. My original motivation for reading this title was in thinking the scenario sounded similar to the manga and Asian drama, Boys Over Flowers. There is a slight similarity.

It’s worth mentioning that there is some detailed smut but it is restrained, not quite going all the way to the heights that typical erotica would go, but still infinitely more explicit than pretty much any YA novel. This is still sometimes classified as YA but I’d call it Almost-New-Adult. Just situated a bit oddly in terms of demographic.

Now some of the downsides to my experience reading this book, I wasn’t super enthused about Reed. Only two of the five guys in the storyline received distinct character development, which is very much at odds with the whole scenario of having a group of guys in the first place. The other three came off as attractive-sounding window dressing.

I liked the surprising nuance and bittersweetness of Ella’s back story, about her parents, and why she ends up in Callum’s mansion. Speaking of which, the guardian-like figure, Callum, I liked perhaps too much. Maybe because I’m getting old, lol, but he is more appealing than Reed in some ways. It’s kind of inappropriate to say but I think a Callum x Ella ship would be really interesting, though that would never happen and pretty sure I’m the only person on the face of the earth who would ever enjoy the chaos of it.

The school-related drama (and the drama in general) can get kind of monotonous but I loved the starting bits. Overall, my feelings are lukewarm but this was a light and breezy read. The ending contains a surprising, if over-the-top cliffhanger that has me mildly curious for the second volume.

Overall Rating – 7.5/10

Why You Should Try It – If enemies-to-lovers is your thing and Reed sounds like an appealing love interest. If you’re looking for a less whiny, more proactive New Adult heroine. This is light, fluffy, and very idealized but the writing and characterization isn’t too stupid.

Critiques – I was very meh for Reed. Five guys and no reverse harem hints? 3 of the 5 barely received character development. The odd “almost new adult but not quite, yet too explicit for YA” genre positioning makes this hard to classify.

Paper Princess: A Novel (The Royals)

Have you read this book/series or are interested in reading it? Please feel free to share your thoughts, I read and appreciate all your comments and likes.

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