Book Review: Royce Rolls

Royce Rolls 
By: Margaret Stohl
Published By: Bloomsbury (Aus/UK), Freeform (US)
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Page Count: 400
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: YA Contemporary

Bentley Royce is a member of the second most famous reality TV family in America. There is a bible beside her bed. Not THE Bible, it's the Bentley Royce bible, a list of dos and don'ts and likes and dislikes provided by the producer of the reality TV show she has been a part of for the past several years. Bentley's older sister, Porsche and younger brother, Maybach, round out the family along with their mother, Mercedes (never mom).

Being a TV star has it's advantages, but when the world knows you as someone you're not, it's exhausting. Bentley has had enough of TV stardom and wants nothing more than to graduate high school and head off to college. But with the show's ratings dropping and the threat of cancellation hanging over them, she needs to find a way to ensure her family's future is secure, with or without her.

I am not a big consumer of reality TV. I've never seen an episode of Real Housewives and I wouldn't know one Kardashian from the next, but this book was great fun to read. The difference between the Royce's private and public personas was really interesting. Bentley is tired of being reduced to a stereotype, and she's also tired of the lack of agency she has in her own life.

There is a meta element to the book in that this is a manuscript that's being read and notated with a view to either being published or produced. As such there are footnotes throughout with notes from the executive producer's assistant suggesting changes (usually where the executive producer feels he's been portrayed badly). These were amusing, but the story would have worked as well without them.

There is a slight mystery element as well. The story opens with an accident and two people presumed dead. It then goes back through the events that led to the accident in order for us to learn what's happened. 

I had a great time reading this book, it kept me entertained throughout. The romance element was a little far fetched (in a how did no one recognise that Clark Kent was Superman kind of way) and wasn't my favourite part of the book, and things were tied up a little too neatly. Still, it is a fun read that makes some interesting points about reality TV and what it requires of its stars.

Sixteen-year-old Bentley Royce is the wild child of a super-glam reality TV dynasty. She has it all – designer clothes, a fancy school and an actual Bentley to drive around in. Her ambitious mum Mercedes has dragged the family from trailer park to Hollywood stardom. But Bentley wants out – she wants to go to college, escape her own storyline, be NORMAL – but Royces don't do normal (or college).

Rolling with the Royces is running out of ways to keep viewers hooked and suddenly the show is threatened with cancellation. Bentley faces an impossible choice. Without the show, she could live the college dream – but her family would crumble (they are already twenty million dollars in debt). Bentley Royce has a mission. She must use her brains to save the show; if she saves the show, she can save her family – and she'll do whatever it takes …