According to family lore, my great, great, etc. grandfather was William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. “If America was a monarchy,” I often tease, “I’d be a princess.”
Okay, so maybe I wouldn’t be a princess…but a duchess at least? Some sort of countess? Maybe a baroness, like in Sound of Music? At the very least, I hope I’d have a noble role in the world of American Royals.
Written by Katharine McGee, American Royals and its sequel Majesty imagine what the modern world would look like if George Washington had been America’s first king instead of president. Over two hundred years later, Princess Beatrice prepares to be America’s first queen regent (a queen who rules by her own right, instead of through marriage to a king known as a queen consort). Her duty looms on the horizon, and she’s not sure she’s ready for it. Love begins to complicate matters, as it always does.
Meanwhile, her younger twin siblings must manage their own lives as second and third in line to the throne. While Princess Samantha grapples with life as the “spare” and Prince Jefferson has two girls vying for his attention, rumors, betrayal, and rebellion fly.
American Royals is a smart, drama-filled, binge-worthy series. The rotating perspective of the dynamic cast of girl characters throughout the books means things never go stale. Getting the entire picture from conflicting viewpoints as a reader creates a compelling reading experience, making one question, “What would I do? Who should I be rooting for?” While the book is paced fast, not much happens by way of plot, which was perfectly fine with me. McGee’s writing style and characters are captivating enough on their own.
Although, I will say that American Royals lands on such a fabulous cliffhanger (I’m talking CHILLS!), that you’ll want to have Majesty close by to leap into book two. Majesty wraps up a bit nicer than the first book, but I’m still holding out hope for a book three…I just can’t get enough.
This isn’t a deep, philosophical read. There are no deep dives into politics, the consequences of colonialism, or the tenets of a monarchy versus democracy. There are a few cheeky asides about the shortcomings of our current government structure, but the book fails to explore any meaningful criticism in depth, or acknowledge the pitfalls of monarchy or imperialism as well.
Still, if you’re looking for something fun, frothy, and full of high school drama at high stakes, this is the series for you. Don’t come to this book looking to explore a true alternate reality, thorough world-building, and political commentary. American Royals is essentially if The Princess Diaries and Gossip Girl got together and had a melodramatic, teenage soap opera baby. And I loved it.
Because the royals are descended from George Washington, cherries are a noble symbol of the House of Washington royal family throughout the series. I attempted to combine the fictional royal symbol of cherries with the real world patriotic love of pie in this simple cherry pie.
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