Ella Martin's debut WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP? tells a tale as old as time. (And yes, I know I'm mixing my Disney metaphors there. Just bear with me. Maybe it's the cover that's giving me Beauty and the Beast vibes?) A girl who isn't exactly looking for attention suddenly finds herself overwhelmed by it. The guy she falls for might not be the Prince Charming she thinks he is—and meanwhile, someone better might have been waiting in the wings the whole time. But although Martin's story treads familiar ground, it offers a fresh, flirty, and funny take on YA romance tropes. I enjoyed reading it, and am excited to be able to share my review with all of you!
Here's what you need to know:
Bianca is the Westgate Prep quarterback’s sister—and that’s her only claim to fame. When her friends’ social experiment turns her into the It Girl of the sophomore class and she captures the attention of the most popular guy in her grade, though, she’s ecstatic to introduce the world to her first boyfriend. But no one’s ever told her what to do when her friends hate her boyfriend and Prince Charming starts acting like a control-freaky nightmare. It doesn’t help that being around her brother’s best friend is making her head all fuzzy, either...
When the book starts, Bianca's star is on the rise after she wins Sophomore Homecoming Princess thanks to her friends' campaigning efforts. She thinks of herself as average all around—pretty but not gorgeous, a good student but not a candidate for valedictorian, involved in school but not a member of every club, etc.—so she's both excited by and a little freaked out by her newfound popularity. Enter Dante Schwartz, the hottie she's admired from afar and who she thinks is way out of her league. Dante asks her out, and soon enough, Bianca is in first-boyfriend-heaven.
The only problem? Her friends don't like him. Neither do her older brother, Brady, and his best friend, Tim. And when Dante starts trying to control Bianca's life in weird ways, including not wanting her to spend time with anyone else, she starts to question what she really wants out of a relationship—and who she wants that relationship to be with.
Bianca's journey felt really realistic, especially for a 15-year-old who is navigating the uncharted waters of dating for the first time. She makes some questionable choices, but you can see exactly why she makes them. I believed in the emotions she was experiencing, and I was totally rooting for her to figure things out. Martin is able to touch on some tough issues—specifically related to how Dante treats Bianca—without ever making the book feel like a "message" book, which is a feat!
But beyond Bianca's own story, it was the cast of characters Martin surrounded her with that really made the book for me. Everyone felt like a vibrant, real part of this world, with their own lives and interests beyond Bianca. Her core friend group of Ally (a social butterfly and gossip blogger who can also fix vintage cars), Talia (a slightly surly girl who dresses with punk flair), and Finn (the mathlete-slash–basketball star who came up with the social experiment that won Bianca Homecoming Princess) enhanced every scene they were in. So did Brady and Tim—and since the blurb up there mentions how Tim makes Bianca's head feel fuzzy, it's no spoiler to say that he only gets more swoon-worthy as the book goes on. :)
So, would I recommend WILL THE REAL PRINCE CHARMING PLEASE STAND UP? Yes! It's a fast, fun read, perfect for a day on the beach or in the park (or inside where there's air conditioning). It comes out on July 1, just in time for you to make it part of our Summer Reading Challenge!
About the author:
Ella Martin is a prep school survivor and a Southern California native. She writes books about spunky teenagers who are way cooler than she ever was, and she totally believes in love and happy endings. She likes sunny places and is terrified of snowy winters, so she now lives in Florida with her husband and son.