So How Do You Like America, Your Highness?

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These opening chapters establish a prince who’s both greatly aware of his royal status and yet is thoroughly grounded in contemporary mores. Jaden isn’t your typical teenager, eager to sow his wild oats, get drunk at nightclubs or go on joyrides. He’s into parties but not a lush. He’s gay and out about it but not flaunting rainbow shorts. He’s open to conversation but stilted upon greeting strangers. He can say reprehensible things in interviews yet is guarded concerning his privacy. He’s not really into making friends—as neutral as his country of Réverie—but he’s fiercely loyal towards his family and small entourage.

Jaden is a bundle of contradictions yet the author presents him as just another adolescent who’s disappointed his father. Jaden needs to shape up his act or he’s permanently grounded—in America! Hey, there are worse places to be but Jaden doesn’t see it that way. His new place of residence is practically a palace yet he yearns for the warm, tropical climates of his home island. Is he spoiled? Probably. Do we hate him for it? Not really.

Underneath his guarded exterior, he’s lonely and missing his ex-boyfriend Kofi. This loneliness is tacitly presented as he unobtrusively absents himself from a rager party thrown in his honor to lounge by a pool. We barely scratch the surface of his personality but what the author gives us makes us curious to know more.

Now he’s in an America school (the plot of so many teenage comedy films) but he’s well aware it’s a temporary solution. Will hijinks ensue or will the author continue to surprise the reader as Jaden learns more about his Californian-born mother’s home state?

I confess myself captivated by this royal conundrum. Let’s see what other twists the author gives to this timeworn fish-out-of-water formula.