American Royals, a review by Melanie

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American Royals
Katharine McGee

YA fiction
446 pages

Published September 3, 2019, by Random House Books for Young Readers

What if America had a royal family? What if instead President, George Washington became King? In American Royals, Katharine McGee presents an alternative take on American history and imagines the royal family as Princess Beatrice is set to become the first queen of America in her own right. Told from 4 different perspectives of young ladies in and around the royal family:

Beatrice, Princess of America, firstborn daughter of the King, will become queen in her own right, after a change in the laws of succession which allow the firstborn of either sex to inherit the throne. Born into this role, she puts her duty to America before anything else, including her heart.

Samantha, Princess of America, second born daughter of the King, is not the heir, only the spare. Twin sister to Prince Jefferson and also known as the “Party Princess,” Samantha lives up to her nickname, while living in the shadow of her sister, the future queen. What happens when her heart contradicts her sister’s duty?

Nina Gonzalez, daughter of a palace staff member and Princess Samantha’s best friend since childhood. Having grown up with Samantha, not quite in the royal spotlight, Nina is careful to keep her friendship with Samantha separate from the rest of her circle. When Samantha’s twin brother Prince Jefferson turns his attention toward her, she must decide just how much Samantha needs to know.

Daphne Deighton, social climber and ex-girlfriend of Prince Jefferson, was born to be royalty. The only thing missing is a royal husband. She has set her sights on marrying the Prince, but he is looking in a different direction now. Undeterred, Daphne continues to relentlessly pursue him, but a dark secret threatens her self-proclaimed status as the future Mrs. Prince Jefferson.

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers and shelved most often as YA fiction, I found it to be an easy and fun read, without being juvenile. Appropriate for teens, there is some mild sexual content but it is generally fade to black before things go too far. Underage drinking is common, and in this alternate America, it is presented as “acceptable” in social situations among the royals. Full of heartache and heartbreak, American Royals asks where you draw the line between service and self, when the future of America is resting on your shoulders.  

4.5 crowns! I breezed through this one and can’t wait to dive into book 2, Majesty, published September 1, 2020.


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