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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

REVIEW: "Royally Lost" by Angie Stanton

Royally Lost
Royally Lost by Angie Stanton
For Ages 13+ (Language)
Young Adult -- Contemporary

HarperTeen -- May 6, 2014
Ebook, 224 pages
Received from Edelweiss

THEMES
Unique Setting, Royalty

SUMMARY
Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't have...is freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?


FIRST LINE
"Crown Prince Nikolai forced a print-worthy smile as he exited the antiquities museum."

MY THOUGHTS
One of my guilty pleasures when it comes to books (Princess Diaries) and movies (The Prince and Me) is royalty.  I love reading about the traditions, the expectations, and, of course, the fashion.  Based on that obsession, I was intrigued by Angie Stanton's Royally Lost which features an American teenager who meets a 'runaway' prince while on a trip to Europe.  I went into the book expecting a lighthearted romance that enhanced my love of Europe and, while I literally got what I expected, I found myself very disappointed in some key aspects.

~WHAT I LIKED~

1. The European Setting
Angie Stanton does a great job of setting up the trip that Becca and her family go on.  She obviously did a ton of research about some lesser known cities/landmarks and really made me want to jump on a plane immediately.  The descriptions were well-written while never going over-the-top.

2. Nikolai
For the most part, I enjoyed Nikolai's character.  He is the crown prince of Mondovia and, as such, is dealing with a ton of expectations from his parents and his country.  But, he reacts the way that a typical eighteen year old would and decides to rebel...even for a short amount of time.  Despite his unorthodox upbringing, Nikolai is a genuine guy who just wants to be normal.  While that is not the most original approach for this type of story, I thought the author did a good job of showcasing that element of his personality and making him as relatable as possible.

3. Lighthearted Tone
When I read a YA contemporary, I am looking for either something super angsty or fluffy and fun.  Royally Lost definitely falls in the fluffy category and that made it enjoyable for me.  It wasn't trying to be a grand epic adventure...just something cutesy which I appreciated.  There's definitely a time when this type of tone is needed and I thought it worked here pretty well.


~WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE~

1. Becca
The major issue I had with this entire book was the character of Becca.  One of my inner requirements for enjoying a book is that I have to like (or at least understand) the protagonist at some point in the story.  Becca got on my nerves from the beginning and I had no change of heart by the end.  It got to the point that everything she did irritated me in some way from the disrespectful way she spoke to her parents to her constant complaining about being in some of the most beautiful cities in the world to her unhealthy obsession with Nikolai from the moment she met him.  She is supposed to be a recent high school graduate, but her attitude said spoiled thirteen year old to me.  I just didn't care about her character and that really ruined any enjoyment I might have had for the book as a whole.

2. Insta-love 
Because it is YA, I expect some type of quick romance, but this one moved very quickly into the dreaded insta-love.  Nikolai and Becca's initial meet was cute and kinda fun, but things went downhill from there.  I just didn't find the relationship to be either realistic or healthy in any way.  I'm all for fun summer romance, but I need there to be some type of development or connection to believe in the story.

3. Pacing
I mentioned above that I enjoyed the light tone that the author utilized.  Despite that good element, I found most of the story to just be boring beyond the fun tidbits about Europe that were peppered throughout the book.  It seemed like things were moving both too slowly in parts and too fast in others.  The first half was okay with the character introduction and the first few stops on the trip, but, once Nikolai and Becca started hanging out, I lost interest.  The whole running from Mondovia's royal guards was just ridiculous to me and I found myself hoping that they would get caught sooner.  Then the ending just happened without much fanfare or explanation.  I was very confused by the end.

So, obviously, this was not a book that I enjoyed very much.  There were definitely moments that I liked which enabled me to keeping reading, but I just found myself getting more annoyed as the story progressed.  This author is obviously talented and I might try another of her books in the future.  This one just didn't work for me.

I received a free e-ARC of this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.



2.5 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Blush -- Kisses with no/minor touching.


CHALLENGES READ FOR
 

6 comments:

  1. I have not been hearing good things about Royally Lost. And I've seen a lot of reviews complaining about how annoying Becca is. I read another of Stanton's books awhile back - Rock and a Hard Place - and I was not impressed. But, even after hearing not stellar things about this - I kind of want to read it. I think, because like you, I just can't pass up the royalty aspect :)

    Great review, Jennifer!

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a royalty obsession! I really want to like this one, but just struggled with it. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. I've been so excited to read this for the longest time but now I'm glad to know I shouldn't expect much. The MC does sound like she'll irritate me too, because a European trip is just NOT something anyone should complain about. Good to hear that the prince is likable, though.

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    1. I'm interested to see what you think. I agree that being taken on a European trip (that you don't have to pay for) is never a reason for complaining...I was destined to dislike Becca from that point on. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. I'm sorry you didn't like Royally Lost! A lot of the reviews I've seen from people have felt mostly the same way, which makes me sad because I love stories that feature trips to Europe!

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    Replies
    1. I love reading about Europe which is why I was so excited to try this one. Just a disappointment...

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