Top positive review
PAPER PRINCESS - A MODERN, EDGY FAIRYTALE
23 May 2016
Loved the book...hate a cliffhanger. If the time in between books is too long, I often lose the connection and don't buy the next installment, so cliffhangers can backfire.
Ok, grumble over...Paper Princess was a really well-written narrative that ticked all the elements for a good read including plot, characters and pace. The details of the story were unexpectedly punchy and raw.
Ella (if you expect nothing from somebody, you are never disappointed) was witty, street-smart, fiercely independent and completely loveable. She reminded me of Robert Munsch's feisty princess in the children's story, The Paper Bag Princess, only the adult version. Ella's backstory was tough, as a 17 year old secretly living on her own, after the death of her flighty, stripper mother. She was a survivor, this girl! Ella wanted 'out' of the loser life she'd led and was willing to work hard for it. But to make ends meet, compromises had to be made. The Cinderella-ish bit happened when unexpected guardian, Callum Royal, arrived on the scene and plucked her out of poverty (albeit kicking and screaming) into a life of plenty with hefty regular cash payments, too. The proviso? She had to live at his house, behave, finish school, then attend college. An education was Ella's goal anyway and monetary rewards for a kid with nothing was another strong incentive, but Ella was a realist. Was Callum truly benevolent or would there be a future 'payment' required. No damsel in distress here. Ella's plan B was to go on the run with the wad of collected money, if need be.
The conflict - how was she to fit into a rich household, cope with a posh private school with mean girls/boys and worst of all, manage a set of five 'brothers' who hated and mistrusted her. Dominant Reed was the worst offender with his 'back to the slums you go' attitude. Eventually, a truce was called, after some pretty confronting scenes, and Ella and Reed had strong feelings for one another. There are secrets, too, but theirs were not the only ones to be revealed in the twisted Royal household. Oh my!
Yes, the book was a little predictable and a teeny bit contrived, but it was a fictional book, so allowances should be made. Readers should love it, but I struggle to see this book in the young adult age group. It was more likely for new adults, in my opinion.
Paper Princess was a gritty story of growth, courage, a second chance, persistence and resilience, with some humour and a lot of drama thrown in. Charming, yes, but dark, too. It also explored a family who were fractured, damaged, spoiled, entitled and regularly wielded their power.
I have a few theories for book 2s reveals, as will other readers...time will tell ;-) but honestly, I haven't preordered because if the interest remains by the end of July, I'll read it, if not....