Review: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Reviewed by Joanna

Ah, books with families of brothers really are my downfall. I can’t remember why, but I was put off reading this series last year, despite the excellence of the co-authors (Erin Watt is Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick). I think I read that it was Young Adult, but I wouldn’t recommend this for teens. Although the protagonists are high school students, it has detailed scenes of stripping, drugs, sexual assault, non-consensual and consensual and sex, so I’d shelve it in the New Adult category.

The story is told from the point of view of Ella Harper, an orphan who is struggling to get by and supporting herself by the trade her mother excelled at – stripping. Her mum died and Ella is forging her signature in order to continue going to school. She’s pragmatic, street wise and sassy. Imagine her fear when a strange, well-dressed man arrives at her school claiming to be her guardian, and when she runs, he finds her and kidnaps her.

Say hello to Mr Royal.

Luckily Callum Royal isn’t all bad. He discovered that his now-deceased business partner once sired a child, and as homage to his dead friend, set out to find the girl. Of course that child is Ella, and she finds herself in the world of mansions, elite schools and awful, privileged rich kids. Callum’s five sons are the worst. Aged between nineteen and sixteen, they are a motherless bunch of ultra-wealthy thugs.

At the far end of the kitchen, an enormous table overlooks the ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows. The Royal brothers sit at four of the sixteen seats. They’re all wearing uniforms—white dress shirts with the untucked tails resting over flat front khakis. Blue blazers hang over the backs of a few chairs. And somehow each boy manages to pull off looking gorgeous with a side of brutishness. This place is like the Garden of Eden. Beautiful but full of danger.

They treat Ella with hostility and disdain, and as they run the school, their Royal decree is that Ella is low-class bad news and should be treated badly. They assume she’s a gold digger and sleeping with their dad. Ella just wants an education but is ready at any time to flee her new home. Even when she starts getting close to her new ‘brothers’ they still see her as beneath them.

I’m not a gold digger! I want to shout. And these jerks couldn’t be more wrong about my active “sex life.” I haven’t even given a blowjob before. On the sex scale, I veer closer to prude than pro. “Think she could teach me something?” Easton wonders. “How an STD feels. But if you want to fuck her, then do it. I don’t care.”

Ella’s love interest is Reed, the second brother, but she also gets close to the third—Easton, who’s the same age as her at seventeen. I wasn’t entirely committed to her being in a relationship with either of them, as they were complete douches to her. I did want them to be her friends, and for her to achieve her goals of having a decent education despite living in snob-land. She found coping mechanisms, like having a job and finding a low-key friend, but aspects of her personality changed to fit to the new world, rather than the world accepting her. Her control of the plot and her sassiness disappeared in places and I wish it hadn’t.

Now, as usual in these novels, the kids don’t act like kids. They act like they are in their twenties, just with school attendance and the occasional dramatic outburst. I heard the story compared to Cruel Intentions, which I LOVE, and there were definitely similarities, even if it was more OMG-MEAN-KIDS-DRAMA than coolly done. The supporting characters were mainly stereotypes and a greater focus was spent on the experiences Ella was having than any detailed plot or character development.

So much about the book appealed to me, but in places the story pace dropped off, and the plot didn’t exactly swell to a dramatic conclusion, instead relying on a cliff-hanger to end the story.

I’m invested in Ella, so I’m going to jump on to the next book to find out what happened. If the romance doesn’t reconcile and she finds someone else, I’d possibly not mind.

Rating: C+/B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Paper Princess
by Erin Watt
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Publisher: Timeout TTC


  1. Elle Thorpe says:

    I found the second book the least interesting of the three. i liked the series overall though

    • I’ve read all three that circle Ella and Reed’s romance, and am pretty convinced they should’ve been condensed into two books. I’m interested in Easton’s story but that’s another cliff hanger so I’ll wait until January to finish the series

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