Author: Katharine McGee
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Fiction
Series: American Royals #1
Lovers of The Selection by Kiera Cass will have so many feelings over this book. Good feelings, that is. The entire time I was reflecting back on the time I worshipped The Selection and loved every second of it. McGee does well in giving a great royalty rendition, set in the modern-day times that we are familiar with. From observing British royalty, this book rings true as to how Americans would treat their own famous royal family. With love triangles here, there, and everywhere, we are dropped into the complicated life within a palace. You are happily carried along as the drama unfolds in twists and turns in the most unexpected ways. And the ending, oh the ending, had me in tears over the love I had for these characters and all the struggles they still must overcome.
In-Depth Review (contains spoilers)
The revolving comparison throughout the story is the relationships. I have broken it down into two major love triangles, each involving four people. The first is between Beatrice, Conner, Samantha, and Teddy. The second is Jeffery, Nina, Daphne, and Ethan. One of them has been a unique experience while the other feels overdone. Beatrice and Conner and then Samantha and Teddy each want to be together, but all have a legitimate reason as to why they cannot. Their struggles are real and so is their love which makes their experience all the more painful but believable. On the other hand, the second love triangle does not make any sense to me. There is plenty of difficulties, but they are more often created by the characters themselves than by outside forces. As Jeffery has no standing to the throne, there is no reason why he cannot be with Nina. And Nina has been associated with the royal children all her life, so there isn’t any shame in her suddenly being attracted to Jeffery. Daphne and Ethan are both cunning and perfect for each other. Daphne deserves someone like Ethan who sees her “dark-side” and still desires her. I understand that her parents have pushed her a certain direction her entire life, but she is a strong girl! She can stand up to them! They are all just actively choosing the hard life. There were several times I wanted to skip over these characters to go back to Beatrice because at least she had real, not self-imposed struggles.
Samantha’s character made me want to cry with frustration. Sometimes I felt so horrible for her being the “spare” and being not all that important as long as Beatrice was around. But then suddenly she would be terribly selfish, and I wanted to slap some sense into her. And when it came to Teddy, she was obnoxious. She had one make out session with him and suddenly he was hers to call dibs? I don’t think so. Their attraction was a little less believable because they spent so little time actually developing their relationship compared to Beatrice and Conner who spent years together before realizing their feelings. And then there was when Samantha acted like Nina’s problems were pathetic compared to her. Besides the fact that Nina overreacted quite a lot, it bothered me that Samantha showed how bad of a friend she actually was. This made her love-life drop down on my priority ladder. I didn’t really care where she ended up as long as she didn’t ruin things for her sister.
Beatrice and Conner were so cute. They had such a beautiful relationship that developed without them even realizing. And when they did admit they cared for each other; it was so real. Trying to steal moments with someone you love is such a common occurrence and can be understood by anyone who has experienced romantic love. Their relationship was the most realistic for me. Especially since all the odds were against them every step of the way.
One little detail that bothered me is just a small thing that Beatrice mentioned. Apparently, the palace kitchen staff doesn’t begin working until 6a.m. From having worked in a kitchen myself, that is not possible. If there are guards then the guards are probably switching shifts during off times, a.k.a. when the royal family is asleep. So, the next morning shift must begin working around 6a.m. or earlier depending on when the king typically gets up. And since the guards have residences on the palace grounds, then they are provided meals. This means that the kitchen would have to already have breakfast prepared for the next guard shift before 6a.m. At the very latest, the kitchen staff would be starting work at 5a.m. A small detail, but I picked it out as a major error in my head from personal experiences. Please don’t mind my rant but that was just incredibly unbelievable for me.
The rest of the storytelling though, was incredible. I predicted that the King was going to die the second he revealed that he was sick. But I didn’t care. I cried when he died and that entire final scene was so amazingly done. It was such a powerful moment where everything came crashing down for Beatrice. Conner bowed to her, and then her family, and then all her people. She was no longer a princess, but a queen and the dynamics of her situation completely changed. That entire scene I read several times because each time it got more emotional.
I want to finish this off with a mention of the humor throughout the book. I was amazed at how hard I laughed at the most random of moments. It was an incredible insight into the world that was created by pulling us away and making jokes about our own modern-day government. Those mentions made the story so much more believable for me. I just kept thinking, “Yes, if the United States were a monarchy, this is exactly how it would be.” And that is just how incredible this world building was done.
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