From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up--Alex, a carefree 16-year-old British schoolboy, discovers suddenly that he is heir to the throne of Rovenia, a former Communist country. The monarchy has been restored and his father wants to return to his homeland to become king. Alex is understandably confused and resents having to leave his familiar life to study Rovenian history and learn his princely duties. He thoughtlessly becomes involved with a beautiful and titled jet-setter with her own agenda. Tragedy strikes in the form of an assassination attempt, forcing Alex to grow up, to admit that he has made serious mistakes, and to acknowledge his responsibility toward Rovenia's citizens. This is not a male version of Meg Cabot's "Princess Diaries" series (HarperCollins), despite its plot similarities. It is a darker, more realistic look at the perils of being a public figure who has to deal with death threats, the paparazzi, and hordes of rabid fans. There are no easy answers in this powerfully affecting novel that avoids cliché and the expected fairy-tale ending. The characters, while not always likable, are real and complex, even the secondary ones. This is a compulsively readable book that lingers in the mind long after the final page.--Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
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Gr. 8-12. British-born Alex Varenhoff discovers at the age of 16 that he's about to become the prince of his ancestral home--the fictional Rovenia--from which his family was exiled when the Communists took power. It seems that a majority of Rovenians now want their royal family back. Alex is a reluctant prince, however, and he is angry that he's being pulled from a world he understands and thrown into a new and confining existence. Adding to Alex's difficulties is a Eurotrash princess-in-exile, who romances him and then sells her story to the tabloids. It takes politically motivated violence and a serious injury for Alex to begin to finally accept his duty and destiny. Other recent stories about ordinary kids who discover their royal roots have played for laughs. In contrast, this serious, realistic debut novel will draw plenty of young readers with Alex's taut, first-person narration of his predicaments, as well as the detailed creation of a nonexistent yet totally plausible Eastern European country. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved