Royce Rolls reveals the realism behind reality TV


United By Pop received a free copy of Royce Rolls in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.

Title: Royce Rolls

Author: Margaret Stohl

Purchase: Available in the UK and the US

Overall rating: 3/5

Great for: Fans of the reality TV Kardashians.

Themes: Young adult, coming-of-age, contemporary, family dynamics, satire, reality TV

Review: Fun fact: reality TV is my guilty obsession. Whether that’s watching the cast of Geordie Shore slut drop after sinking six rounds of shots or catching up on the weekly drama and drunken antics on Ibiza Weekender.

There is something utterly fascinating about seeing the day-to-day of the average, and something voyeuristically insightful about getting a behind-the-scenes look at the wealthy elite. And every channel is now inundated with scores of reality TV shows, focusing on just about every topic imaginable. None remain more popular, however than that of the family drama.

Cue, the Royces’.

‘Royce Rolls’ is the next big thing in contemporary fiction. And where have you been if you haven’t already heard about it? It follows the Royce family, who shot to fame on their reality TV show: ‘Rolling with the Royces’. This life of luxury and lavishness is seen through the eyes of teenage Royce, Bentley. She enacts the stereotypical role of the ‘bad girl’ of the family. And she is through with playing this game with her own life!

Aside from this combining my dual loves of reading and reality TV, I also loved it for the scathing satire of modern day society. The dry wit of the protagonist was heightened by the scores of production footnotes, social media updates, and gossip rag articles that accompanied her narrative.

Alongside this abundance of wit, this also had some endearing and heartfelt moments, which truly showcased the actual reality of reality TV stars this was representing. It is often hard to remember that these are not just characters that cease to exist with the season finale. These are human beings, who just so happen to have every aspect of their lives aired for the public to criticise and pore over. This felt almost like a tell-all memoir about a real-life TV star, in some instances, as we got to see both the production and the real person behind their carefully created character.

This book had a slightly slower start than I had anticipated, but this only served to heighten the similarity to the reality TV world it was mirroring. First episodes often begin with character introductions and, from there, the series sees a slow build-up of suspense, culminating in a dramatic finale that ensures you come back for the next season!

Now, I will admit that if you find the whole idea of reality TV to be trashy and mindless, then this is probably not going to be the book for you, as it stays pretty true to that original concept. You might find it superficial and gratuitous, with an overly dramatic nature, but you will also find it emotional, and raw, and honest. I loved exploring both sides of these characters and both sides of this exclusive world. It opened up a popular part of modern culture and I was entertained by every second if it. Here’s hoping for season 2!

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