This review may contain spoilers for the first book. Consider yourself forewarned.
After the first books cliffhanger of an ending, I actually read the first few pages right away… then read 4 other books (ARCs that I was really excited about) and THEN finally came back to this book. I found the writing much more compelling in this book than the first, and it was refreshing to have the POV come from Reed for at least half the time. Also there were less typos / errors in this book, which made it an easier read.
Paper Princess left us in a lurch when the young couple that finally got their act together had a whole lot of blackmail and damage enter the scene. Ella is on the run, and Reed is losing his mind, and Easton is in self-destruct mode, and fracking Brooke is back in everyones’ lives again. (Brooke will ruin everyone’s life… not the Royals! The tagline is wrong! Hahaha).
Callum has to come to the rescue with some handy detective work, get Ella back home, and get his family back on track as best he can. By the end of this book, I had a lot more respect for Callum than I did before. He’s more savvy than people give him credit for, even though as a dad he is highly self-absorbed.
What I think I liked most about this second book in the series is that it really demonstrates the real life drama of choosing to believe or not believe in your friends boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife/parent/insert-all-other-relationships here. How do you prove or disprove something when there is no proof, only words? This is something the majority of the characters, even the minor ones at the prep school, have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s more than gossip… it’s a constant game of trying to figuring out what is right.
“I thought, I’ll just keep after him. Eventually I’ll wear him down, convince him we’re a beautiful fairy tale. But we’re not. We’re nothing. We’re smoke – insubstantial and meaningless … We aren’t even a tragedy. We’re less than nothing.”
Ella stood out in this book as a girl who no longer wants to deal with illusion. And Reed wants nothing more than to shatter that illusion and show Ella the truth. But without trust, there can be no truth. Yet.
Reed is still my favorite Royal, but Easton was an emotional wrecking ball throughout this story. I can completely understand why there are so many East fans. He is so very damaged, but he loves his family and has moments of knowingness which make him incredibly endearing. As a person in real life, well, he probably wouldn’t have so many fans considering he has addiction problems (to say the least)… but the way he’s written gets you past that exterior that would turn most people away.
In the last book, I took issue with some of the language. And to be honest, I think it improved in this book, but I think I also skipped over some words. The plot was incredibly fast paced, and the dialogue was really engaging. So, once again, I liked it. I liked it so much more than the first book. The characters you are supposed to hate are very easy to hate, and the characters you are supposed to love are very very easy to love and will cause a great deal of frustration for you as well.
But once again… THE ENDING… They really like to throw a twist in on the last pages, I swear it’s enough to give you heart palpitations. I guess I need to move on to book 3 now because it cannot end like that. Again.
Still slightly-scandalous-romance-YA-nearly-NA. But it’s addictive. Recommended for those who like books that read like soap operas, or like a Gossip Girl.