Royals is the perfect way to start off a summer


No, we’re not talking about the Lorde song; we’re talking about Rachel Hawkins’ newest book, which is perfect for the beach.

Oddly enough, for following Rachel Hawkins on Twitter, this reviewer has never read any of her books prior to receiving an advance copy of Royals from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Fortunately, the new title is not just a wonderful introduction to Hawkins’ long-form writing style, but it’s also wonderful in its own right — the sort of sweet story perfect for the spring and summer.

Although Daisy’s older sister is marrying the oldest prince of Scotland (hey, fictional princes are still princes), Daisy mostly wants to keep her life as it is: going to a con this summer with her friend Isabel, working part-time, and dyeing her hair all kinds of colors. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work, and instead it’s off to Scotland, where there’s another prince, said prince’s pack of friends (who are messy, to say the least) and, dare we say it, a touch of romance.

Writing the book from Daisy’s perspective honestly makes things that much more fascinating, because she has at least some familiarity with what the royal life is like thanks to her sister … but that doesn’t mean she knows everything. There’s really not much in the way of a fairy tale about Royals — and that means the book isn’t cloying. Instead, you almost get a Princess Diaries vibe off the book, so long as you understand that we’re referring to the original books here, not the Disney movies. (Not that we don’t love Julie Andrews, but the two have very different tones, to put it mildly.)

Although there are shades of romance, Hawkins also makes an effort to center Daisy’s relationship with her family members. Her characterization work with Ellie (as in, the sister who’s marrying the prince) might be strongest just because there are real layers there. Though it’s a quite familiar set of beats, they’re still played well, and you know this reviewer enjoys strong sisterly relationships.

There are some negatives here, though: Hawkins has a tendency to stretch words out using extra letters, at least in the advance galley that yours truly is reviewing off of. While it’s really just a personal thing, it makes things a little hard to read at points,. Sure, Daisy’s 16 and definitely has an informal narrative style, but this choice never quite worked for me as a reader.

Additionally, here’s to hoping that Flora, the last Scottish royal child, gets more characterization in a sequel. She doesn’t show up much, and when she does, she shows that she could be the most fun of the siblings. No, I won’t spoil what happens.

Next: 20 books you'll absolutely want to binge at the beach this summer

All in all, Royals is a lovely summer book … and hey, who doesn’t like copious amounts of kilts?