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5.0 1
Young Adult Fiction 1757
enthralling read
Overall rating
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ROYAL BLOOD is an engaging YA contemporary/suspense. Evangeline (Evan) has just accidentally set her boarding school on fire, and the ensuing arrest was a bit more than she bargained for. Luckily, Jenkins is there to help her out and he whisks her away on a jet, saying he is taking her home. However, the home he means is not the one she is thinking of - he is taking her to her father's house. Though she has known who her father is, she has never actually really met him, as he is the king of England, and she is his illegitimate daughter.

As she travels to England and begins to get to know her father, and her half-sister, the heir apparent, Evan finds herself as a bit of a fish out of water. After a party goes wrong, Evan is assaulted and her assailant is found dead. Though she does not think she could have caused it, it is impossible to rule out the possibility. As the press and detectives close in, Evan will find herself in the middle of a media storm that she could never have anticipated and will be questioning everyone and everything she knows.

What I loved: This was such an enthralling read that captures the reader from the start. Evan's life was easy to get pulled into with the magic of having a royal/famous parent who is distant and a whole family unwilling to acknowledge her. As the story builds, it changes into something else with a mystery/suspense that becomes quite consuming. The elements of what happened are quite dark, as Evan was drugged for the purpose of assault, and though she was able to fight her way away, the details are fuzzy, so even she is unsure about whether she had a hand in the ensuing death.

The discussions around the assault are really important discussing the way that blame is given but undeserved and situations in which this may not be so readily understood, but should be. While the context of Evan's particular situation is given, this is juxtaposed with others and these discussions are quite powerful. Another really strong and important theme was around mental illness, in the case of Evan's mother. The way both of these situations play out were really well done and open the door to critical discussions that would work well for book groups or buddy reads.

Evan is a compelling character. Even while she acts out and seems a bit prickly, she is really just trying to find her place in the world and people she can care for. Her life has been in turmoil since she was little. She lived with her grandmother while her mother was receiving treatment, until her death, and then her father's custody, which meant constant boarding schools. She cares deeply for her mother, but has not allowed herself to care for others as deeply for reasons she is still understanding herself. Her growth during the story opens herself up to difficult truths, but also to people for which she can care.

There ended up being a few consuming mysteries that kept the story moving quickly. This ended up being a read that kept the pages turning late at night to figure out what was happening and how all the chips would fall - with some good twists along the way.

Final verdict: ROYAL BLOOD is a consuming and enthralling YA contemporary/suspense that will hook readers from the very start! Highly recommend picking this one up!
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