American Royals is the first in a series from Katharine McGee. It's America as we know it, but instead of a President ruling the country, a king does. One in a long line of successors from America's first king George Washington. And for the very first time, thanks to a change in the successor's act, America is to have their first Queen, Princess Beatrice. While still young at 22, she has trained to be a queen since the day she was born. She understands there is Beatrice the person and Beatrice the queen and knows the sacrifices that come with her crown. So when her parents pressure her into dating some eligible bachelors she agrees, even though her heart isn't in it. She's secretly in love with someone else.
Her younger sister Samantha feels like she's nothing, forever to be Beatrice's younger, wilder sister. A spare part, 2nd in line. She envies her sister and the way America adores her. A chance encounter with a handsome stranger at a party has a spring in her step, though trouble is always around the corner with Samantha.
Samantha's twin brother Jeff has split from a 3 year relationship with Daphne and is now falling for Nina, Sam's best friend and daughter to the Minister for Treasury. Nina is hesitant though. Despite knowing the Washingtons since she was 6, she isn't ready for a public relationship and all the pressures that come with it. Daphne is also determined to get back with Jeff but to what ends?
The book was a fun YA book, a little bit too long considering there are multiple points of view (Beatrice, Samantha, Nina and Daphne). It doesn't get confusing but I think having 4 POVs did slow down the pacing at times. It also meant that you'd just be getting into one person's narrative and looking forward to what was happening and then it would change. The tones never changed that much either and I do think it might have benefited from having the POVs from the men in the book. Perhaps that will happen in the next book in the series? Part of me likes the idea of reimagining American history. There were hints to the troubled past America has, such as slavery, and while it wasn't expanded upon, I'm glad it wasn't erased entirely. It does raise a question of the idea of a white monarchy in a country that already had native peoples and the fact that the whole point of the American Revolution was to get rid of a monarchy. That's the part of me that didn't like the reimagining part. However I did manage to cast that aside while reading it, as what the book does well is that it's like a soap opera. I could easily imagine it as a TV show. It was a very entertaining and light read, a fun YA novel that teenagers will enjoy.