What would happen if the Founding Fathers offered George Washington, not the presidency, but the Monarchy? What would happen to the House of Washington over 250 years? That’s the premise of the YA novel American Royals by Katharine McGee.
From the publisher: “As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling.
Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her.
And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.”
American Royals follows the stories of Beatrice, the heir to the American throne. I think she’s about 22, graduated from college for a time, anyway, and her dad, King George IV, is training her to one day take over. The matter has become rather urgent because, unbeknownst to most, King George has lung cancer. He feels it is important that Beatrice find a husband right away, because the rules changed during her grandfather’s rule, so a woman could ascend to the throne. Beatrice will be the first queen of America. But she’ll have a lot of critics, so it’s important for her to have a partner to help her, as well as to secure that line of succession.
Problem is, Beatrice has fallen in love with her bodyguard. That doesn’t stop her from getting engaged to Teddy Easton, an aristocrat from Boston. But there’s a problem with that, too. Teddy first had eyes for Samantha, Beatrice’s younger sister.
We also follow Samantha’s story, the wild child twin of Jefferson, who bends and breaks every rule and seems rudderless, simply because she’s “the spare.” No one seems to pay attention to to her unless she’s acting out, and since she’s craves attention, she acts out a lot. Her brother Jeff joins in with her for all the fun, and they usually bring along their best friends, Ethan and Nina.
Nina has been Samantha’s best friend since they were six, when Nina’s mom first came to work for the king as a high-ranking official. Over the years, she’s realized she’s fallen in love with Jeff. Especially after that night of the graduation party when something happened between them. One of Nina’s big problems is that she wants no part of all the trappings of royalty and keeps her friendship with Sam and Jeff as secret as possible. Still, she pines for Jeff, but he was in a long-term relationship with Daphne, the embodiment of what a future princess should be.
Daphne is, well, pure evil. Not evil, maybe, but duplicitous, hypocritical, back-stabbing, everything you’d expect of someone who claws their way to power. She spent years cultivating her relationship with Jeff, and spent those years pretending to be perfect, exactly what America is looking for in a future princess. She claims to hate the press, but has at least one reporter on as a stringer to plant stories about Daphne in the press, all proclaiming how perfect she is for Jeff. But Jeff broke up with her after the graduation party, and Daphne has been spending the past six months figuring out how to get back into his good graces.
American Royals really didn’t read like a YA novel, except for the ages of the characters. While sometimes it bothers me when a book jumps from view point to view point, it really worked with this novel. It really worked. I read more than I normally do every night because I didn’t want to put the book down. And the book ended on a cliffhanger, so I can’t wait to pick up American Royals II: Majesty. Review to come in the next few weeks!
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