Novel: Royals by Rachel Hawkins | Goodreads
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond.
While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.
Rachel Hawkins’ sweet spot seems to be placing heroines with lots of personality in glitzy or otherwise cliché situations — boarding school, debutante balls, Scottish palaces. Her girls are spunky and likable; flawed in ways but helplessly endearing. Her snappy dialogue and knack for when to turn up the heat are perfectly adapted to the premise of her latest, Royals.
I’d wanted to read this one ever since I saw the cover: hot pink, glittery, and loud. While I liked Rebel Belle a lot, this one seemed significantly more extreme in terms of attitude. Which I thought would be really, really good considering who we were dealing with.
Needless to say, it was true. Royals was exactly what I wanted from a beach read at home: simmering tension, hilarious rapport, and all the indulgent scenarios built on the perfect tropes. For the record, Royals (the TV show — completely unrelated) was one of my favorite sick day shows last year because it’s completely wild, absurd, and an emotional mess. The book is a similar composition.
Daisy is laugh-out-loud hilarious. She’s a redheaded piece of work. She’s used to being overshadowed by her older sister (but isn’t obnoxious about it) and wants very little to do with the royal reality setting in. She’s still fuming over her ex-boyfriend trying to sell her prom pictures to the paparazzi. Once that whole scandal blows up, her sister’s press team forces her to head to Scotland so they can keep it all under control, therefore ruining Daisy’s summer plans to head to the Keys.
Once in Scotland, she has to deal with a crew of drunken aristocrat boys (hello, Royal Wreckers), an elitist society with antiquated rules that she hates, and her own independence from her sister.
Daisy handled it as well as she could have. It’s not her fault she has a big mouth, or is stubborn about her beliefs that don’t always mesh well with the royal family. As she starts settling in, and staying out of the papers, she has to deal with the public interest being on her.
I really liked Daisy, which was no surprise. While I wouldn’t necessarily say that we’re similar, she had a great head on her shoulders and a quick reply to everything. Her one-liners were the SHINING aspect of this book, and I underlined so many of them. I read it on my Kindle, which shows you what most other people highlight, and I can assure you there were many of those sprinkled throughout every scene. It’s so rare that I find books that make me literally burst out laughing, although I’m a reactionary reader. I would quote them all, but there are many and they’re also glorious to stumble across.
One aspect that I really loved in Royals was that everyone attributed Daisy’s humor to her dad — and there was a direct correlation. Their jokes were similar and they saw the world in similar lights. I feel like most books don’t make such direct connections between parents and children, and it tied together certain elements of the changing landscape for Daisy well.
And the romance was solid, honestly. Miles is one of the Royal Wreckers, who owes a lot to the royal family (and therefore tries to help them out whenever he can.) What he doesn’t realize at first is that his ways of trying to shut Daisy down are so condescending. Gradually, he and Daisy start to mesh better together — creating a deeply satisfying enemies-to-lovers story arc. He was sensitive and equally funny, so the brilliant exchanges generated by the two were everything I wanted and more. Plus, Hawkins knows whens to tone it down — how to be serious when the situation calls for it. So I felt like both characters knew each other really well by the end, which is really all I want in a fictional romance.
I mean, it’s a predictable plot but it’s written well and you still find yourself emotionally caught up in it. It’s cute, with glitzy and indulgent scenarios, and a great couple. The main character is tough and also funny. It’s a book that’s warm and the people in it are good. The family could be frustrating — the older sister who thinks she’s all that, and the misunderstandings from that hurt. The conflicts that Daisy faces range from the day-to-day struggles of being plunged into royalty to the poignant issues of changing identity and family dynamics.
In reading about the backstory behind this book, I’ve found out that it’s not particularly well-researched, and the Scottish world-building isn’t accurate much at all, but I for one am willing to look past that for the purpose of what type of read I was looking for in this. If that’ll bother you though, maybe Royals isn’t your thing.
This book is essentially the long-wanted version of The Princess Diaries for those just a few years behind the craze. I loved it for being an afternoon binge, and I could see a lot of people I know loving it. It’s a great escapist read, and it was what I needed.