Paper Princess by Erin Watt

The Royals, #1


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.

“Reed Royal has broken me. I’ve fallen from the sky and I’m not sure I can get up. Not this time.”

This isn't one of those books I'm usually drawn to - I can't remember why I started it in the first place, think it was a deal on Kindle or something and I was in the mood for something different. All the way YA and all the way angst, but still it was a soap opera I couldn't put down. The writing style is far from perfect, and the characters aren't all fully convincing, but there's something about them....kind of like watching Mean Girls or Jawbreaker, feeling repulsed by callous actions of youth while you can't quit watching.

Ella Harper has been making ends meet in somewhat demeaning names since her mother died and she has no one to offer support. In between jobs she's determined to maintain a high grade average and work her way into college. Suddenly a man appears out of the blue wanting guardianship of her, claiming her father has died and that he is the wealthy best friend who wants to provide the long-lost daughter a stable home. Unfortunately when Ella meets the mansion and the five boys inside, they all hate her and set out to make her life miserable at school and beyond.

There's some seriously cruel elements going on with the five Royal boys and some of the girls at school. Some of it is typical prankster and pick-on stuff, while other parts of bone-deep cruel. I felt bad for Ella, who stayed strong throughout it all with vulnerable lapses which help her stay a convincing character. The weird angle with the father and brothers was also intriguing, as was the weird young woman who the father was boning on the side to get over his dead wife's grief.

"Ella does irritate me at times - personally I could never be attracted to anyone who was such a jerk, and I certainly wouldn't feel unrealistic lightning sparks of attraction when they're being cruel to me. How can you be stunned with lost in the midst of being insulted and threatened? Not realistic, no matter the age, unless the girl is abused and thinks she doesn't deserve better. I didn't get some of the appeal, so it was a refreshing change when some of the roles swapped and a sense of camaraderie developed instead of downright rivalry.

While the relationship was intriguing on a basic level, it was unrealistic because it was too desperate. It may be worth only three stars at most, but I stayed glued to the train wreck and can't resist the rest of the series to see what happens next. 

   Book Quotes:

“My skill, if I have one, isn’t dancing. It’s my ability to believe that tomorrow can be a better day.”

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