I had been seeing reviews for this series pop up all over my friends’ pages. Knowing that I wanted to read this series and find out what all the fuss was about, I told myself I’d wait for the Audible version to be released. So I waited…and waited…and waited some more. When I started to see the glowing reviews for the third, and final, book in the series, and still there was no sign of an audiobook release, I knew I had to start this series. So, I downloaded the Kindle edition of ‘Paper Princess’ and never looked back.
Several days later, I’ve finished all three books and am suffering from a significant book hangover. Let me tell you, this series is addicting! From the moment I began reading ‘Paper Princess’, I was consumed with this story.
Every day is a struggle for Ella Harper. The daughter of a single mother, she has spent her childhood running from town to town as her mother jumps from one bad relationship to another. Although her upbringing was anything but stable, she always knew she had the love of her mother.
However, when Ella’s mother grows ill with cancer, Ella is forced to assume adult responsibilities as a young teenager. When her mother dies, Ella is left all alone. She does what she has to do to survive and stay out of the foster care system.
By the time Ella is seventeen, she has registered herself in high school by forging her mother’s signature. She is working three jobs and living in a rundown apartment. She’d kill to have the superficial “problems” that her classmates face.
Just when she doesn’t think her situation could get any worse, she is reduced to accepting a job dancing nude. She’d danced before, but never fully nude. Clinging to that tiny bit of modesty meant a lot to Ella, but she had to sacrifice it to survive.
Then, a man she’d never heard of before shows up and insists that he is her legal guardian. It is evident that Callum Royal is wealthy, but Ella has no intention of leaving with the man who claims to be the best friend of her recently deceased father. She never had any relationship with the sperm donor that gifted her life and then promptly left her mother in the dust, much less the stranger that claims to have custody of her.
Despite her best efforts to evade him, Callum persists until he has Ella on a jet and headed to his home. When they arrive at the mansion that is to be her new home, Ella is immediately made aware of the fact that she isn’t the only one that doesn’t want her there. In spite of Callum’s best efforts to make Ella feel welcomed, his five teenage sons make their distaste for Ella equally clear.
Reed, the second oldest son, but the oldest son still living at home, is clearly calling the shots. His younger brothers follow his lead and Ella finds herself fighting a losing battle against all of the Royal boys. They’re sure that she’s out for their father’s money, among other things, and they’re determined to make her life a living hell.
And so, Ella’s rags to riches journey begins…
She is submersed in a world of luxury and excess that she’d never imagined existed in real life. Enrolled in the same elite prep school as the Royal boys, she is constantly reminded that she doesn’t belong. Reed rules the school, just as he rules the Royal house. As she struggles to adjust to her new life and blend in, Reed is equally determined to push her out.
The bullying and cruelty that ensues was incredibly sad. I have to admit that I geared up several times as I read some of the things that poor Ella went through. Yet, despite everything she persevered.
Somewhere along the way, Reed gives up on his mission to terrorize Ella. The attraction between them keeps coming to the surface and they eventually make nice. Of course, once Reed decides to give Ella a shot, his brother’s follow suit. From that point forward, it is like somebody flipped a switch. Ella and Reed go from being enemies to being head-over-heels. It happened quick enough to leave my head spinning.
Despite my reservations, mainly that Reed never had to “pay” for his maltreatment of Ella, I still found myself completely addicted to this story. In so many ways, this story is reminiscent of another one of my favorite high school sagas, ‘Fallen Crest High’. The over-the-top lives of privilege and excess lived by these kids is unreal.
This story has definitely become a guilty pleasure of mine. Like so many of my friends, I am hooked! As expected, this first book ended with a huge cliffhanger. I started reading the second book immediately. You’ll want to do the same, so have ‘Broken Prince’ ready to go when you finish ‘Paper Princess’. Loved it!