Review: American Royals (American Royals #1) by Katharine McGee

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.


What is American Royals about?

American Royals presents an alternate world in which George Washington was crowned the first king of the United States of America rather than president. The USA thus has a young noble family, and all the problems that come with a monarchy. The main characters of the story are four young women: Beatrice, the heir to the American throne, her sister Samantha, Samantha’s best friend Nina, and prince Jeff’s ex girlfriend Daphne. These four girls are struggling with the politics, drama, and romance surrounding life as a royal in America.

Genre: Alternate History

I would also say this book inhabits the YA romance world, or perhaps NA since almost all of the characters are adults.

Tropes: Just So Much Forbidden Love, Oh My God

Every single person in this story has to deal with a relationship that for one reason or another is “not okay.” You’ve got a lot of forbidden love going on, so if you’re a fan of the tropes that go with that then you’re going to love this book.

Plot: Royal children don’t get to be happy apparently

The story is truly centered around the three children of the King of America: Beatrice, Samantha, and Jefferson. Each of them is, for one reason or another, internally tortured by the fact of their royal heritage. Especially when it comes to love.

The Good

This book was a lot more entertaining that I thought it would be. The characters were for the most part frequently clever and witty, or at least intelligent and pleasant to read about. I liked the diversity in the perspectives, and I really enjoyed that we get Daphne’s perspective. I also enjoyed the way the alternate history was presented. There was no overly massive exposition dump, and little bits and pieces about how the world is different were slipped in at really good moments. I was impressed by that attention to detail. I also found myself surprisingly invested in the twists and turns, the drama, and the interpersonal relationship problems.

The Okay

Although some of the moments in the relationships were definitely high stakes, I felt as though some of the characters were being unnecessarily dramatic. I also felt like it was surprisingly out of character for Beatrice to decide towards the end of the novel that she was willing to make sacrifices for love, though I’ll refrain from really diving into why this frustrated me to avoid any spoilers.

The Bad

I found the stakes of the romances so dramatically high. I’ll be honest, I don’t buy that Beatrice would even consider abdication for love–much less have a clandestine relationship during her engagement. Samantha’s relationship seemed a lot more in character for her, including the dramatics that came with it. But Nina, for example, struck me as much more level headed and drama free. That she was so easily manipulated by Daphne was comical at best and eye roll at worst.

Final Thoughts

I really did enjoy this book, and I’m invested enough in the characters and the world to continue the series for sure. I think that some of the dramatics were a bit much for me–it didn’t always feel in character depending on the POV I was reading from. However, I enjoyed the interpersonal connections that developed as a result of the drama so I can’t say it was all bad. I’m definitely more interested in the world, though, and the little pieces of alternate history that peek through here and there. The world building was well done, and the exposition is given at opportune moments that make sense. I think that with the ages of the characters, there could be a little less drama. I like that Daphne thinks she’s some cool and collected master manipulator, but at the end of the day she’s a teenager. I wish that Nina and Sam were maybe older, so they could be more mature like Beatrice and there was less…unnecessary drama. But I’m hoping that in the next book we get more of that conflict between emotion and duty.

By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

3 replies on “Review: American Royals (American Royals #1) by Katharine McGee”

That definitely makes sense. Honestly, once you get past the premise, the whole thing works very well. Yes, there are moments where they remind you “these are American royals” but the world building of the alternate history is well done exposition wise!


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