I gave this audiobook a B+ for the narration and B for the story at AudioGals.
Being hailed as this generation’s Cruel Intentions (the YA movie from the late 1990s), I knew I had to listen to Paper Princess. Paper Princess, the debut novel of a YA romance trilogy by writers Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick writing under the pseudonym Erin Watt, is a decent start to the story that was made even better by the talented narration by Angela Goethals.
Ella Harper has not had a good lot in life. She’s never met her father, and her mother, who had struggled to make ends meet by being a dancer and dating a variety of men, just died of cancer. During her illness, Ella is the one who had to go out and work to make ends meet, even while she continued with her studies in high school and nursed her mom. Her desperate financial situation following her mother’s death, however, has gotten worse. So she finally capitulates and takes a job at a strip club to make some extra bucks.
It is amidst this fragile situation that she finds herself facing a life altering event. One day she is called into the principal’s office where a rich man, Callum Royal, appears, claiming he is her guardian and wants to take her away. Ella has seen it all when it comes to men and doesn’t trust him, but when Callum will not take no for an answer and shows up at her first “dancing” performance demanding a one-on-one dance, Ella is left with no choice. Callum claims he has no nefarious plans, and really just wants to honor the wishes of his best friend, who recently died, and who was Ella’s real father. When he strikes a deal that she can’t refuse involving a $10,000 dollar a month stipend for each month that she stays with him and continues in school, as well as, a large bonus if she goes to college, Ella decides she has nothing to lose, so she goes with him.
Ella, however, has become streetwise over the years and maintains a healthy dose of skepticism about Callum’s true intentions towards her. At the first sight of trouble, she is ready to run. What Ella could never imagine is that the true danger in Callum’s home will actually stem from Callum’s sons, especially Reed Royal. Reed, along with the other Royal brothers, distrusts Ella from the beginning, believing she is a conniving, penniless girl who is looking to worm her way into their father’s bed in order to extort money from him (given his vast wealth).
It is amidst this background that the games begin as Callum’s sons, especially Reed, start to lay the groundwork to see her gone by making her life miserable both at home and at school. Strangely, however, the one thing neither Reed nor Ella counted on was that no matter how inauspicious their beginning, they are attracted to one another. But can either truly trust the other?
This book reminded me a lot of other young adult romances where the mean, popular rich boy initially antagonizes the poor or less popular heroine, but eventually becomes attracted to her in the process. Titles like Bully by Penelope Douglas and Rachel Van Dyken’s Eagle Elite series (without the mafia component), for example, come to mind. So far, this title hasn’t strayed too far from this mold. But I still was invested in the plot and definitely listened attentively to the entire story in a short period of time.
See the full review at AudioGals.