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Paper Princess Summary
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Paper Princess by Erin Watt.
Paper Princess is a 2016 young adult romance novel by Jen Frederick and Elle Kennedy, who write under the joint pseudonym Erin Watt. It is the first book in the Royals series.
The story is told from Ella Harper’s point of view. As the novel opens, Ella is in class. She’s called to the principal’s office and worries that the fact that she does not live in the school district has been discovered. Instead she’s introduced to a man named Callum Royal. Since her parents are both deceased, Callum is now her legal guardian. Ella is alarmed; her mother died of cancer and she’s been on her own ever since, having never known her father, and she forged her paperwork to get into school. She makes an excuse and takes off, going to the awful apartment she rents and packing a bag.
She goes to the strip club where she’s been working. Her mother moved them around a lot, always going from boyfriend to boyfriend. When she died, Ella had to find ways of supporting herself and pursuing her goal of an education and a normal life. As she’s working, she is surprised when Callum walks in. He tells her that he’s been watching her for some time, that her father was his best friend, and that he takes his role as her guardian very seriously. Then he forces her into his car and threatens to call Child Protection Services if she causes trouble. Knowing she’s done if she’s put into the system, Ella agrees to accompany him to his home. They fly a private jet to Bayview, Massachusetts.
Callum tells Ella that her mother only told her father about her when she knew she was dying, and that her father intended to take care of her. Now that he’s also dead, Callum wishes to honor that. He makes Ella an offer: For every month that she stays with him in his house, he will deposit $10,000 into her account. If she graduates high school while living with him, there will be a $200,000 bonus. If she graduates college, she’ll receive an even larger bonus. Ella sees a chance to become financially independent and agrees to these terms.
At the Royal mansion, Ella meets four of Callum’s sons: Reed, Easton, Sebastian, and Sawyer. The eldest son, Gideon, is not there, although his presence is still felt at home and at school, where he remains the Royals’ leader in spirit. The boys are poorly behaved. They treat their own father with insolence and are openly hostile to Ella’s presence. The boys even walk away when Callum introduces her, although Ella feels an instant attraction to Reed. Ella learns that their mother, Maria, died under mysterious circumstances and many believe that Callum murdered her.
Ella is enrolled at Astor Park Prep Academy, and discovers that Reed, the most popular student, has poisoned the class against her. Reed believes that Ella is sleeping with his father in exchange for money and a comfortable lifestyle. Callum is dating a woman named Brooke who is clearly a gold digger, which has colored Reed’s perception of Ella.
Ella learns that her father willed all of his money and holdings to her. She meets her stepmother, Dinah, who is unhappy to learn about Ella’s existence and her inheritance. At school Ella finally makes a real friend in Valerie Carrington, who has a wicked sense of humor. Ella struggles to find her place at school and in the Royal home; she and Easton become tentatively friendly. Easton is initially cold to her, but is a sweet and charming boy underneath it all. Although Ella is powerfully attracted to Reed, she and Easton kiss after getting drunk.
This upsets Reed, and tensions rise until Ella suggests they all call a truce. Reed reluctantly agrees. Ella is asked out on a date by Daniel Delacorte, and she accepts despite warning signs. Daniel is superficially charming, but he drugs Ella and attempts to sexually assault her. The Royal brothers rescue her and exact revenge on him, proving to Ella that they’re starting to become a real family.
Callum breaks off his relationship with Brooke, realizing that she’s not a good person. Ella and Reed finally give in to their smoldering flirtation and begin a romantic relationship, despite Reed’s insistence that he’s not good for her. Ella is very happy until she returns home one day to find Reed and Brooke in bed together, which breaks her heart. She tearfully packs a bag and leaves the Royal mansion despite the money and stability she’d known there, abandoning the life that she’d just started to build, something she’s unfortunately very used to doing.