Review: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?

Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? by Ella Martin

Title: Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?
Author: Ella Martin
Format: Ebook

The Plot: Life’s going great for Westgate Prep sophomore Bianca Sullivan: she’s a homecoming princess, smoldering hot Dante Schwartz is interested in her, and between Bond movie nights, Halloween parties, and drama auditions with her friends, her social schedule is packed with fun. But Bianca soon discovers that Dante’s not charming—and he’s definitely no prince. How will she deal with a troubled relationship with a guy her brother and friends can’t stand?

The Verdict: Not only is Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up cute and intensely enjoyable, it features some well-rounded characters and an unhealthy relationship that—wait for it—is actually written as unhealthy and a bad thing for our protagonist to be in (a refreshing change from a lot of YA/NA novels).

Rating: 9/10

The Meh

  1. The first 5% of the novel is a bit heavy on exposition. Although the story’s quick pace and 1st person POV make each character’s introductions zip by, the fact that all of Bianca’s friends are introduced right after the other in the first several pages comes off a little clunky, and the way they are introduced lack a little originality.
  2. The pace of the first 10-15% of the novel is a little wobbly. However, Martin quickly finds her sea legs, and the rest of the story flows by.

The Good

  1. Bianca. Like a lot of YA heroines, Bianca is a likeable but flawed adolescent, but unlike many others she actually comes off acting like a real girl. Although the romance is front and center, it isn’t the entirety of Bianca’s existence; she goes to drama auditions and watches her brother and his friends try out for basketball; she and her friends are close, and they have more things to talk about besides Bianca’s love life (though, like teenagers, they do plenty of that). Bianca, like lots of real human beings, has to carpool with her brother because she doesn’t have a driver’s license. She expects her first kiss and first date to be magical, and she spends inordinate amounts of time squeeing with her bffs. She has a good relationship with her parents, but she doesn’t always do what they think is best. She has no idea what she wants to do when she grows up, but she knows she’s got time to figure it out—and she’s too busy to worry about it now. She gets into a bad situation and does need her friends’ help to get out of it, but she’s far from weak or helpless. Bianca’s one of the best portrayals of a teenaged girl I’ve seen in YA, and I really enjoyed reading about her.
  2. Supporting characters (in every sense of the word). Bianca’s friends, her brother, and her brother’s friends, though not drawn as deeply as Bianca, are also well-rounded characters with their own goals and hopes and interests. However, when they realize Bianca’s in a bad relationship they flock around her to help however they can. They don’t all necessarily react in the best way, and the situation spirals a bit out of their control, but they deal with it as well as can be expected of a group of teenagers who don’t have any experience in this, sort of thing, and their care and affection for Bianca is palpable.
  3. Bad romance: in other YA novels, Dante would be the bad boy who needs love to reform him. Here, though, his controlling, emotionally-manipulative behavior is not romanticized, and his attempts to monopolize Bianca and separate her from her friends and family are not glossed over. Martin really handles the subject of domestic violence carefully, and it works. It’s not a heavy-handed morality play, but the story makes no bones about the fact that the relationship was unhealthy and no one should be treated like Bianca was.
  4. Good romance: I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for sappy love stories with happy endings, so the romance between Bianca and the person who isn’t Dante (who I won’t spoil) is one of the cutest things ever. This dude is supportive and tries to protect Bianca from danger, but he doesn’t infantilize her or assume she’s incapable of standing up for herself. He is a friend long before he’s anything more, and watching his and Bianca’s relationship blossom from platonic to romantic was so much fun I wish I had a sequel in my hands so I could read more about them already.
  5. Bonus diversity: It’s not made a huge thing of, but I believe there was a mention of Bianca’s mom (and thus Bianca) being Hispanic, which is just really cool and awesome and makes my Mexican-American heart feel all warm and happy on the inside.

The Rec: This is an awesome contemporary and everyone should pick it up, but fans of My Life Next Door might really dig a protagonist with various interests and a genuinely sweet love interest.

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