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.
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.
Paper Princess is not what I expected. At all. I had assumed that it would be a comical story but it turned out to be somewhat of a gritty read that contains triggers which may disturb some readers. With that in mind, please note that I will make mention of a couple of these triggers which are not necessarily spoilers but plot points. If you'd rather avoid them, you'll probably want to stop right here.
Ella Harper has been on her own since her mother died. Now orphaned, she's working three jobs while making her way through high school. The girl has goals: save loads of money, graduate, get to college and don't get caught in the meantime. You have to admire her tenacity and resourcefulness in the face of all the adversity thrown her way. When a stranger turns up at her school claiming to be her guardian, she has no idea what to believe. She's given an amazing offer that could set her up well. The catch is she has to live with this guardian, Callum Royal and his five sons. As you can guess, her moving in doesn't go over easily with the boys who see her as an outsider who's using their father for his money. One in particular, Reed, who seems to be the ringleader, is the most hostile towards her. She learns that he controls the reigns at home and at school. Her social life is essentially in his hands. But this Ella is not one to stand down from a fight and is willing to go head-to-head with him, sometimes challenging him, sometimes taunting him.
I vacillated between feeling badly for the life that Ella had endured up until now and being irritated by her immaturity. Case in point, her attraction to Reed despite his vile attitude towards her. Yet she keeps going back for more. I don't normally mind cocky heroes as long as I can find some endearing quality to them. I didn't get any of that with Reed. He certainly has his troubles but because he's so cold and calculated I just never got around to liking him. Then there's the fact that Ella is mostly surrounded by spoiled, irresponsible prats who never show accountability for their actions. I know it's judgey of me but these kids dabble in things then make their troubles go away with money. One scene in particular had me so incensed that it influenced my reaction to the book. It's a scene where an almost sexual assault occurs and I was mortified by how the characters handled it initially. Not only that, I was also angry by what followed shortly after between Ella and Reed. Normally, I can separate fiction from reality but not in this instance, and especially not in light of recent headlines which make the events in this book feel all too real. While this is a smaller subplot within the story, rape culture is a hot button topic and I wasn't keen on how it was represented within it. (I would love to have insight into the authors' thought process in writing these scenes though.)
For the first time since we started this blog, I am honest to goodness stumped as to how to rate a book. Paper Princess feels like a mash up of Gossip Girl, Cruel Intentions and maybe a little Fifty Shades Jr. It's weird for me to say I "liked" a book when there are details in it that left me feeling so out of sorts. My personal grievances aside, I still couldn't put the book down. You can't tell that it's the work of two authors - Elle Kennedy and Jen Fredrickson - because of the fluid writing. These characters are a trainwreck and as a reader you can't help but watch as that pile up occurs. Will I be reading the follow-up, Broken Prince? Absolutely! Why? Because I need to know. I'm hoping someone in that story is redeemable. So instead of an actual rating, this is the next best thing I can do. This is me throughout the entire read!