I never thought I’d be here writing this particular review. This book has been a complete surprise to me, for many reasons.
Firstly, can you believe that I’ve read 54 books that I would classify as “royalty?” When I finished this book, I thought it would be useful to have a dedicated Goodreads shelf for all my books about royalty, for easy reference purposes. But, 54! That seems like a lot. I was even super conservative of what I labeled “royalty.” I left off fairy tales, historical high society romance novels, and others. If you are curious, feel free to check out the shelf here.
Secondly, I didn’t even think that I liked this book enough to blog about it. I received this book as an eARC from Netgalley and I didn’t think that I LOVED IT, loved it. I enjoyed it immensely and even though I stayed up late (I have no respect for bedtime when reading a delicious book) to finish it, I didn’t think I liked it enough to blog about it. I wrote a short review of it for the Netgalley website of which I was so proud that I read it aloud to Mr. Librarian. He convinced me that, given the level of excitement I had when I read him my review and my subsequent chatter about Book 1, I definitely liked it more than I thought and that it was, in fact, blog-worthy.
So here we are.
To be fair, I’m already thinking about rereading it tonight.
It’s especially funny considering that I was absolutely SURE that I wouldn’t even like this book that much. I barely liked the first one. The first one felt like a mashup of other contemporary books about royalty – RWRB, The Royal We (blog post forthcoming), The Selection, etc.
However, some of my students really loved the first one that when I saw the second one, I figured, “what the heck.”
Let me set the scene: The Washington family has ruled America since the days when General George Washington won the American Revolution and became America’s first King. Set in today’s world, there are three heirs to the American throne: Beatrice, the crown princess, and the twins Samantha and Jefferson.
Beatrice, as the heir to the throne, has always done what is expected of her and never puts a toe out of line. Even so, she struggles with the heavy expectations for her future.
Samantha, as the “spare” is reckless mostly because she feels like she is constantly in Beatrice’s shadow and, therefore, acts out accordingly.
Jefferson has just broken up with his longtime girlfriend, Daphne, because he had a romantic moment with his sister’s best friend, Nina.
Daphne is a social-climbing schemer, more concerned with being a princess than caring about Jefferson will stop at nothing to get him back.
Nina, the daughter of a palace aid, struggles with her long-standing crush on her best friend’s brother, especially in the aftermath of their romantic encounter.
The book is told from the perspectives of Beatrice, Samantha, Nina, and Daphne. Since this is a review of Book 2, I recommend you go read it right now if you don’t want to be spoiled. Go on. I’ll wait….
SPOILERS AHEAD FROM BOOK 1! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
The end of Book 1 sees Beatrice sworn in as Queen when her father unexpectedly dies. Although she is in love with her guard, she gets engaged to Teddy, a noble, – with whom Samantha is in love. Nina breaks up with Jefferson after Daphne’s sabotages and the intense media scrutiny (also due to Daphne) becomes too much for her. When Nina confronts Jefferson about Daphne’s interference, Jefferson kind of shrugs his shoulders. So much for his affections.
This is where we pick up in Book 2. Only six weeks later.
SPOILERS ARE OVER. PLEASE RESUME READING.
This book is the most soap-opera-ish book I have read in a long time.
It’s not a bad thing. There were so many twists and turns and it covered nearly every romance/soap opera/telenovela trope.
Enemies to lovers? Yup. (Side note: the more I thought about this one, it’s more like indifferent acquaintances to lovers. Same thing, right 😉
Fake dating leads to real feelings? Yup.
Engaged to be married to someone you don’t love? Got that too.
Falling in love with the fiance you don’t love? Check.
The clueless guy who does not see the treachery around him? Yeah. (Side note: I really did not like what happened with Jefferson’s character – he goes nowhere and does nothing except be stupid about everything. Also, I felt like screaming at him – like in horror movies when the busty co-ed is about to walk into the dark room – that he needs to just stop. being. so. oblivious.)
Amnesiac remembers the horrific event caused by the person closest to them. Yes, indeed.
Also, just a bit of “plotting to destroy everyone you know and love to become royal” tossed in on the side – you know – to keep things interesting.
The only things I missed were:
An evil twin. Still possible (there is a set of twins…)
Someone comes back from the dead. Also, still possible (someone did die…)
I know this is a bit of a light-hearted review.
But, seriously for a moment, during my reread, I saw something more. In all my laughing at the crazy mishaps that happen to our characters, I missed something important. And, I realized that this book is actually a great thing for teens.
SLIGHT SPOILERS: As this is YA novel, it is amazing to notice that all the characters that fell in love in Book 1, don’t end up together in Book 2. END SLIGHT SPOILER.
In this day and age when so many YA novels idealize the concept of insta-love (you know, the characters fall in love with each other and end up together without getting to know each other), it is wonderful to see relationships that are complex and intelligent. That people need to know each other before committing to one another. That just because someone is attractive doesn’t mean that you will be able to have a successful relationship with them. It is important to show teens that you don’t always end up with you first love and that is OK.
I think this book can be enjoyed even if you haven’t picked up the Book 1. With all the angst at the beginning of the book, you are easily caught up into the world of American royalty.
Now, I’m just wondering if there will be a Book 3. Maybe I did love this book. What do you think?
Thanks Netgalley for letting me read this prior to publication.
American Royals (Book 1), published 2019
Majesty (Book 2), expected release date: September 1, 2020