I really enjoyed Margaret Stohl’s Royce Rolls despite (or because of) my innate cynicism about modern reality TV. I’ve always delighted in pointing out every staged scene in my husband’s favorite shows, and this book confirmed all I believe about what goes on behind the scenes. This is the perfect book for someone who wants a funny, fluff mystery read. I gave it four stars, but fans of the author are a little more torn.
Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce seems to have it all: an actual Bentley, tuition to a fancy private school, lavish vacations, and everything else that comes along with being an LA starlet. But after five seasons on her family’s reality show, Rolling with the Royces, and a lifetime of dealing with her narcissistic sister, Porsche, media-obsessed mother, Mercedes, and somewhat clueless brother, Maybach, Bentley wants out. Luckily for her, without a hook for season six, cancellation is looming and freedom is nigh. With their lifestyle on the brink, however, Bentley’s family starts to crumble, and one thing becomes startlingly clear–without the show, there is no family. And since Bentley loves her family, she has to do the unthinkable–save the show. But when her future brother-in-law’s car goes over a cliff with both Bentley and her sister’s fiancé inside-on the day of the big made-for-TV wedding, no less-things get real.
Really real. Like, not reality show real.
Told in a tongue-in-cheek voice that takes a swipe at all things Hollywood, Royce Rolls is a laugh-out-loud funny romp with an LA noir twist about what it means to grow up with the cameras rolling and what really happens behind the scenes.
A Kardashian-esque family is the center of this story, and they manage to be absolutely fake and absolutely real at the same time. The main character’s irritation with the whole fame-for-the-sake-of-fame scheme plays well to readers like me. She is dark and witty, and quickly became the trusted voice of reason in her mother and sister’s insane last grab for fifteen more minutes of fame. There are plenty of twists and unexpected turns, and the opening lines set up a nice mystery that is engaging to unravel. There is also plenty of glam for those who want it, but beneath the clothes and makeup, there is some depth. I will say the ending is a little overproduced, but it is acceptable because the story does take place in a TV world where anything goes. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book, and I think my high school students will as well, so I’m adding it to my classroom library wishlist. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 9+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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