Reading PAPER PRINCESS is like eating a slice of gourmet cake for breakfast. You know that you probably shouldn't be doing it, but this cake is delicious - and it's not like you're eating a Ho-Ho or a Twinkie, now, is it? No, this is primo stuff, and if you're going to be bad, you're going to do it well, gosh darn it!
I was leery about picking up PAPER PRINCESS but a trusted friend recommend it to me & since she has never steered me wrong, I took a chance. Right away, I found myself getting sucked into Ella Harper's world as she's plunged into her own personal episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
Ella is an orphan and works three jobs to pay for school and rent, one of which includes stripping. Obviously. Because this is the go-to profession for any high school- or college-age-girl looking to make a few extra bucks. Working at the mall is so passe.
One day, a man comes to her school claiming that he is her new legal guardian. Ella has been around creepy men her whole life & assumes that he is a pervert and tries to flee. The man kidnaps her and while they are in the car, reveals himself to be multimillionaire, Callum Royal. Ella's absent father was his best friend, and it was his wish that he take care of her in the event of his death.
Callum has five sons, and none of them are happy about Ella's presence in their life. Especially not Reed, who has the brooding, money-can't-fix-my-problems, i-am-alpha-hear-me-bitch bad boy vibe that has everyone going crazy. Including Ella. Obviously. In her review, Khanh mentions the similarities between this book and Boys Over Flowers/Hana Yori Dango/Meteor Garden. I am totally obsessed with that franchise, so this increased my enthusiasm for reading PAPER PRINCESS tenfold. And I can definitely see the similarities (Reed is quite a bit like a less-rapey version of Doumyoji Tsukasa). PAPER PRINCESS also has elements of Lisa Kleypas's SUGAR DADDY & Meg Cabot's PRINCESS DIARIES, so if you enjoyed either of those two series, I think that PAPER PRINCESS will be a good fit for you, because it employs many of the same themes.
I enjoyed this soapy teen drama. It was smartly written, and Ella was feisty enough that I never worried too much about her getting pushed around - she could deal it, as well as take it. PAPER PRINCESS has a shoujo manga feel to it. The focus on class differences, the heroine's job at a bakery (Maid Sama, anyone?), the fact that every boy with a working wiener was attracted to her, the slut-shaming and non-stop drama...this was totally a manga that didn't know it was supposed to be a manga, and somehow ended up as a book instead. That cliffhanger, though. What do I do, now?
3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars.
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