Title // American Royals
Author // Katherine McGee
Publisher // G. P. Putman’s Sons Books For Young Readers
Publication Date // September 3rd 2019
Synopsis // What if America had a royal family?
When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne.
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.
My Rating: ★★★☆☆
American Royals in a nutshell: every single one of the characters was a horrible person, the world building was awful, and the book was maybe vaguely problematic? bUT with that said this book was SO addictive and I had so much fun reading it and I just flew right through it!!
I think the whole concept of “American Royals” is… not a great concept, the more I think about it, and that’s where many of the problems from this book came from. When I initially heard the concept I was hooked since I lOVE royals (lol remember when the Megxit drama was the biggest news I wish we could go back to then) and I’m American so seems interesting and fun! But the further I got into the book I realized that really the way America is, and our histoy, makes the idea of having a “royal family” sit very badly with me, and also the entire revisionist history of the world, not just America, was eeehhh.
In this world, it seems like none of the world’s monarchies ended, because I guess if America had never had our revolution, then no other countries would have had their revolutions? Which is not a great thought to think about, knowing world history. The idea that royals are still having arranged marriages for power in the 21st century didn’t sit very well with me either.
There’s also a line about how having the monarch/president elected would be horrible because power hungry people would abuse the position or something and thus it should be inherited and that line just made me very uneasy given all the corruption in our democracy, and governments, including totalitarian governments, around the world. I know this book was supposed to be a fluff alternate history book, but I found myself thinking as I was reading that to just remove hundreds of years of history and revolutions and social change in the current climate feels a bit tone deaf and problematic.
I think the biggest problem with the whole concept of “American Royals” though is… America was colonized. The idea of having a bunch of white colonizers coming in and establishing their monarchy and having the Native Americans accept like George Washington as king is not a great thought. I believe it was mentioned that there are two Native American dukedoms or something (I don’t know royals don’t ask me what a dukedom is or how this works) and that felt very uncomfortable to me like hey we just stole all your land and now I’m your king but you can have this little area to be duke over as long as your dukeness is still under my kingness. Also you had your own governing system but now I’m declaring you’re duke and duke of this piece of land only.
The representation in this book was… really not great either. There’s two people in the book embodying all of the rep: one Latina commoner with two moms, and one Japanese girl who spends the entire book in a coma. All of the “important” people, as in the royals and dukes and whatnot are white, and I found this to be a disturbing thought: if America was a monarchy, would white people just rule forever? Did the Civil Rights movement even happen in this world without democracy? There’s one throwaway line about how some king at some point abolished slavery and that’s it and I found it woefully inadequate (especially given what’s happening in America today).
But enough about the world; let’s talk about the characters! They’re all kind of horrible, but also fun to read about.
–Beatrice: I really enjoyed reading from her point of view, and seeing her grapple with all the responsibility that she didn’t necessarily want, and struggling with having to always look perfect.
–Sam: Sam was one of my favorite characters! I really related to her struggling with not being as good as her older sister, and really enjoyed her relationship with her twin brother, and her best friend Nina!
–Nina: it was nice getting Nina’s perspective since it felt a bit like a breath of fresh air as the only commoner. It was also nice getting to see how crazy the royals lives looked from the outside. She did strike me as a bit naive and kinda mean too though, and I was really annoyed with how she treated both of the twins at the end.
Daphne: Daphne is a horrible person and we all know it and I hated her more with every chapter.
The romance was ridiculous, and all of the characters needed to cool it and stop being so awful with each others love lives. Dating your sister’s boyfriend/crush? Manipulating and lying your way into a relationship for power? Sneaking around behind your best friend’s back?
That said, I did love reading about the relationships because I, too, am trash. They had some seriously swoon worthy moments! I especially loved Beatrice and Connor! I loved seeing the characters pining after each other, and the stolen moments were stressful and fun!
Hot take though: Nina and Sam (two female best friends) should have dated each other and this book would be 100x better I don’t make the rules just saying.
This book felt a lot like trashy reality TV or something. There were so many ridiculous convoluted situations, particularly with the romance but with other things too, and the actions that the characters took towards each other were so over the top and crazy. There were a lot of coincidences too that had me rolling my eyes because it’s super unrealistic, but also I was still enjoying the moments that came after them?
Also, I just FLEW through this book! I finished it in a few hours, and they were a thoroughly enjoyable few hours. I was basically addicted, and was so immersed in these ridiculous lives. And yeah I’m probably going to read the sequel.
Honestly, objectively this is a horrible book. Objectively, I would probably give it 1 or 1.5 stars. But also I enjoyed it SO MUCH. It’s horrible. I’M horrible This is becoming my newest guilty pleasure. And so based on how much fun I had reading it I’m going to give it 3 stars???
Don’t go into this expecting something serious or, you know, really good. But if you want something trashy and fun to make you smile for a few hours why not.
Do you like reading about royals? Did you enjoy this book if you read it, or are you interested in reading it? I’d love to chat in the comments below ❤
Also, given that this book felt vaguely problematic with regards to race, don’t forget to visit blacklivesmatter.carrd.co for resources to help the Black Lives Matter movement! It’s not trending anymore but it’s still very much happening and we should all be actively supporting.