American Royals

American Royals

by Katharine McGee

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New York Times Bestseller

What if America had a royal family? If you can't get enough of Harry and Meghan or Kate and William, meet American princesses Beatrice and Samantha. Crazy Rich Asians meets The Crown. Perfect for fans of Red, White, and Royal Blue and The Royal We!

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown.
Two girls vying for the prince's heart.
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren't just any royals. They're American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America's first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she's breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn't care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there's Samantha's twin, Prince Jefferson. If he'd been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

The duty. The intrigue. The Crown. New York Times bestselling author Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded--and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.

"The lives of the American royal family will hook you in the very first pages and never let go. Relatable, believable, fantastical, aspirational, and completely addictive." --Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars and Perfectionists series

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


In this drama’sreimagined United States of America, George Washington was crowned king rather than becoming the country’s first elected president. Now, hundreds of years later, his descendent, Princess Beatrice Georgina Fredericka Louise of the House of Washington, the first female heir to the crown, is 21 and expected to find a husband. Her parents, the King and Queen of America, have vetted several potential candidates, whom she is expected to meet at the upcoming Queen’s Ball. There, her tabloid-headline-grabbing twin siblings, Samantha and Jefferson, 19, who have just returned from a postgraduation tour around the world, will make their first official public appearance. Samantha invites her childhood best friend, Nina, as her guest, but Nina is secretly in love with Jefferson, whose ex-girlfriend, meanwhile, has a plan to win him back. Written from multiple perspectives, McGee (The Thousandth Floor) crafts a deliciously soapy American royal family. Though much of the doomed-relationships story arc feels familiar, McGee’s characters are well-crafted and flawed, giving the narrative emotional texture that elevates it above the dramatic formula. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)

From the Publisher

With elegance, saucy secrets, and forbidden loveAmerican Royals is fast-paced and utterly charming. Katharine McGee’s prose sparkles, capturing the glamour and pressures of an American monarchy.” —Kendare Blake, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Three Dark Crowns series
“Inventive, fresh, and deliciously romanticAmerican Royals is an absolute delight!” —Sarah J. Maas, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series and Court of Thorns and Roses series

Imagine a world where Meghan Markle is the queen of the United States of America…. American Royals is the next closest thing.” –Teen Vogue

For all the glamour and intrigue, there's also a reality check. All four central characters struggle to reconcile the expectations the world imposes on them with the internal selves they discover through heartbreak and struggle." —The New York Times Book Review
A soapy, escapist blockbuster [following] the drama, scandal and romances of the impossibly glamorous young court. An unabashedly frothy romp, and enormous fun." – The Guardian

A fun, fast-paced read packed with drama, scandal, and romance” —The Sun

“Mixing scandalous secrets and political intrigue, American Royals is thrillingly addictive.” —Shelf Awareness

"Critical questions tantalize readers through the foibles and flaws of characters who are frustratingly human… readers will eagerly await the next installment to find out whether true love will win or stodgy tradition will triumph.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A deliciously soapy American royal family… McGee’s characters are well-crafted and flawed, giving the narrative emotional texture that elevates it above the dramatic formula.” —Publishers Weekly

“Readers will be hooked…. A fun twist on history as we know it, and the ending will have readers hoping for a sequel.” —School Library Journal

“For readers looking for intrigue—and for those who like their royal fever with a twist—this is a quick and delicious read.” —Booklist 

School Library Journal


Gr 7 Up–Imagine if, after the Revolutionary War, George Washington became the king of America instead of its president. Fast forward to the present, when America's beloved Princess Beatrice will one day be the country's first queen. It is no longer only a man's role, since Beatrice's grandfather abolished the law so that the first-born could take the throne. But this princess's life isn't all glamor and no drama. Having fallen for a commoner, she must learn to sacrifice for her country, even her true love. Her sister, Princess Samantha, must learn to live in Beatrice's shadow, though she has big problem coming in second in any situation. Her brother, Prince Jefferson, struggles to determine which girl truly loves him and not his title. Readers will be hooked as the three siblings navigate royalty and the struggles of being a teenager, including the inevitable romantic complications and friend squabbles. With so many dynamic characters and enticing story lines, the multi-narrative arrangement works well to put readers into the heads of more characters. VERDICT A fun twist on history as we know it, and the ending will have readers hoping for a sequel.—Jessica Perovich, US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit Library

Kirkus Reviews

Grab a cup of mead and gather round for a story of kings, queens, princes, princesses, lords, and ladies: the modern ruling families of America.

With the ease of a curtsy, McGee (The Towering Sky, 2018, etc.) has established a monarchy made up of the direct descendants of George Washington. There's enough palace intrigue, royal shenanigans, and even a smidgen of sex to satisfy anyone who loves a bit of gossip. Set in the contemporary United States, there are characters we love to love, love to hate, and those we want to send to timeout. Princess Beatrice, who will be the first queen regnant, her twin siblings, Princess Samantha and Prince Jefferson (those noble scamps), Jefferson's wicked ex-girlfriend, and a couple of commoners who make falling in love with the wrong person too easy all tell their sides of the story in alternating third-person chapters. Critical questions tantalize readers through the foibles and flaws of characters who are frustratingly human. Crown jewels aside, the events of the story are as familiar as college parties or family dinners. Not all questions are answered, and readers will eagerly await the next installment to find out whether true love will win or stodgy tradition will triumph. A Latinx main character with two mothers lends a bit of diversity to the majority white cast.

An entertaining royal family modeled after the residents of Buckingham Palace. (Fiction. 14-19)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984830180
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 09/03/2019
Series: American Royals Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 5,991
Lexile: HL820L (what's this?)
File size: 6 MB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Present Day

Beatrice could trace her ancestry back to the tenth century.

It was really only through Queen Martha’s side, though most people refrained from mentioning that. After all, King George I had been nothing but an upstart planter from Virginia until he married well and then fought even better. He fought so well that he helped win America’s independence, and was rewarded by its people with a crown.

But through Martha, at least, Beatrice could trace her line­age for more than forty generations. Among her forebears were kings and queens and archdukes, scholars and soldiers, even a canonized saint. We have much to learn by looking back, her father always reminded her. Never forget where you come from.

It was hard to forget your ancestors when you carried their names with you as Beatrice did: Beatrice Georgina Fredericka Louise of the House of Washington, Princess Royal of America.

Beatrice’s father, His Majesty King George IV, shot her a glance. She reflexively sat up straighter, to listen as the High Constable reviewed the plans for tomorrow’s Queen’s Ball. Her hands were clasped over her demure pencil skirt, her legs crossed at the ankle. Because as her etiquette teacher had drilled into her—­by hitting her wrist with a ruler each time she slipped up—­a lady never crossed her legs at the thigh.

And the rules were especially stringent for Beatrice, because she was not only a princess: she was also the first woman who would ever inherit the American throne. The first woman who would be queen in her own right: not a queen consort, married to a king, but a true queen regnant.

If she’d been born twenty years earlier, the succession would have jumped over her and skipped to Jeff. But her grandfather had famously abolished that centuries-­old law, dictating that in all subsequent generations, the throne would pass to the oldest child, not the oldest boy.

Beatrice let her gaze drift over the conference table before her. It was littered with papers and scattered cups of coffee that had long since gone cold. Today’s was the last Cabinet session until January, which meant it had been filled with year-­end reports and long spreadsheets of analysis.

The Cabinet meetings always took place here in the Star Chamber, named for the gilded stars painted on its blue walls, and the famous star-­shaped oculus overhead. Winter sunlight poured through it to dapple invitingly over the table. Not that Beatrice would get to enjoy it. She rarely had time to go outside, except on the days she rose before dawn to join her father on his run through the capital, flanked by their security officers.

For a brief and uncharacteristic moment, she wondered what her siblings were doing right now, if they were back yet from their whirlwind trip through East Asia. Samantha and Jeff—­twins, and three years younger than Beatrice—­were a dangerous pair. They were lively and spontaneous, full of bad ideas, and with far too much power to act on them. Now, six months after they’d finished high school, it was clear that neither of them knew what to do with themselves—­except celebrate the fact that they were eighteen and could legally drink.

No one ever expected anything of the twins. All the expectation, in the family and really in the world, was focused like a white-­hot spotlight on Beatrice.

At last the High Constable finished his report. The king gave a gracious nod and stood. “Thank you, Jacob. If there is no further business, that concludes today’s meeting.”

Everyone rose to their feet and began to shuffle out of the room, chatting about tomorrow’s ball or their holiday plans. They seemed to have temporarily set aside their political rivalries—­the king kept his Cabinet evenly divided between the Federalists and the Democratic-­Republicans—­though Beatrice felt certain those rivalries would be back in full force come the new year.

Her personal security detail, Connor, glanced up from where he stood outside the door, next to the king’s protection officer. Both men were members of the Revere Guard, the elite corps of officers who devoted their lives to the service of the Crown.

“Beatrice, could you stay for a minute?” her dad asked.

Beatrice paused in the doorway. “Of course.”

The king sat back down, and she followed suit. “Thank you again for helping with the nominations,” he told her. They both glanced at the paper before him, where a list of names was printed in alphabetical order.

Beatrice smiled. “I’m glad you accepted them.”

Tomorrow was the palace’s annual holiday party, the Queen’s Ball, so named because at the very first Christmas ball, Queen Martha had urged George I to ennoble dozens of Americans who’d aided the Revolution. The tradition had persisted ever since. Each year at the ball, the king knighted Americans for their service to the country, thereby making them lords or ladies. And for the first time, he had let Beatrice suggest the candidates for knighthood.

Before she could ask what he wanted, a tap sounded at the door. The king gave an audible sigh of relief as Beatrice’s mom swept into the room.

Queen Adelaide came from nobility on both sides of her family. Before her marriage to the king, she’d been set to inherit the Duchy of Canaveral and the Duchy of Savannah. The Double Duchess, people had called her.

Adelaide had grown up in Atlanta, and had never lost her ethereal Southern charm. Even now her gestures were touched with elegance: the tilt of her head as she smiled at her daughter, the turn of her wrist as she settled into the walnut chair to Beatrice’s right. Caramel highlights gleamed in her rich brown hair, which she curled each morning with hot rollers and wore encircled by a headband.

The way they were sitting—­a parent to either side of Beatrice, boxing her in—­gave her the distinct sense that she was being ambushed.

Customer Reviews