Author: Casey McQuiston
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC gifted by Chapters Indigo (thank you!), Netgalley
Buy It: Indigo.ca | Amazon.com | The Book Depository | iBooks | Google Books | Audible
A PopSugar Must-Read Book of 2019!What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic. "I took this with me wherever I went and stole every second I had to read! Absorbing, hilarious, tender, sexy—this book had everything I crave. I’m jealous of all the readers out there who still get to experience Red, White & Royal Blue for the first time!" - Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of Love and Other Words and Roomies
"Red, White & Royal Blue is outrageously fun. It is romantic, sexy, witty, and thrilling. I loved every second." - Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six
Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Red, White & Royal Blue is the year’s best romance, an intoxicating and beautifully written tale about love between the First Son and the Prince of Wales, finding and accepting your sexuality, and the politics of doing the right thing. It’s an absolute triumph of writing, angst, shippy-ness, and inspiration.
Alex Claremont-Diaz is the son of US President Ellen Claremont, a biracial, wise-ass of a guy who has grand political ambitions of his own and the smarts and leadership to make it happen. He’s just finishing university at Georgetown as his mother is gearing up for a re-election campaign for a second term. Oh yeah, and he’s also handsome and charming. Alex has it going on
The only thing that irks him? Smug Prince Henry of England, second grandson to the Queen. Alex can’t stand the idea of him and the whole monarchy. And Alex knows the feeling is mutual.
This mutual dislike isn’t an issue until the Claremonts end up at the royal wedding of Henry’s brother, and Alex and Henry end up arguing and causing the destruction of an enormous wedding cake. To make amends, both Alex and Henry agree to play up their friendship with some photo ops together. And Alex quickly discovers that there’s a lot more to Henry than just what he’s read in the media. The real Henry is thoughtful, funny, caring, and deeply broken. Oh, and he’s also gay and very, very interested in Alex.
But…Alex thought he was straight. And he thought he wanted to be buried in work and to become a politician immediately. As Alex and Henry try to figure each other out, they also start to question who and what they want – and how much they’re willing to put on the line to get it.
Red, White & Royal Blue is my favourite book of this year. I’ve already read it twice, and it’s only May. But let me tell you that ALL THE HYPE IS TRUE. This book effervesces with the buoyancy of first love, pulsates with the energy of a rally, and soars on its author’s understanding of politics, media, and how it feels to be queer in America. Every word that Casey McQuiston writes is this book is thoughtfully wrought, and the result is that Red, White & Royal Blue just makes you FEEL. You can feel how much McQuiston cares about each and every character, and how much she put into making this book work.
This book is basically the gay version The Royal We mashed up with what we hoped the 2016 US election could have been.
I couldn’t write a proper review of this book, so here is a list for you:
Ten Reasons Red, White and Royal Blue Should Be Your Next Read:
- The glorious, multi-faceted characters. From Alex and Henry and their personal journeys to become who they want to be and love each other, to June, Alex’s sister who wants to be more than a political daughter, to Nora, their best friend who is queer and brilliant at statistics, to Pez, Henry’s wild philanthropist best friend, to Bea, Henry’s younger sister who understands him better than anyone and is a recovering addict…my God, these people live and breathe and are so real. And we haven’t even gotten to the formidable adults. These are people who really make things happen.
- The incredible bisexual and gay rep. I’m not bi, but I feel like I really understood, for the first time, what it means to be bi after reading Alex’s thoughts and his struggle to reconcile his identity. Equally, there are a few moments in this books where I really understood how much it can hurt someone to be closeted, unable to show their true identity to the world.
- The portrayal of grief. This part of Red, White & Royal Blue was just stunning and heartwrenching. Henry lost his father when he was young and the effect on him is explored so gently, embedded so well into his character, that I cried.
- The emails and texts between Alex and Henry. Oh. My. God. These letters will make you burst into flame, they’re so hopeful and idealistic and sexy. And there are quotes. Hamilton quotes. Vita Sackville-West quotes. Citations from people in history. McQuiston was basically serving gravy to my English lit major heart.
- The Mexican rep. I say “rep”, but it’s really just there, in Alex and June, and it’s so much a part of their identity. You see it in the way Alex connects with his mentor, Senator Rafael Luna, and in the way that he and June interact with their father…I just loved how it’s both a non-issue, and at the same time, it’s ever present whenever Alex thinks about the fact that he’s the first ever half-Mexican First Son.
- All the sexy parts. Red, White & Royal Blue is not as graphic as some new adult romance, but people, this is definitely new adult. The scenes between Alex and Henry are really hot but also really poignant and tasteful.
- The inside baseball locations. The White House and the various palaces that Henry inhabits in are places people only dream of living. I loved getting a little in through McQuiston’s lush descriptions.
- The political savvy. If you are a West Wing fan, this book is for you. So much policy and even a few scandals!
- The idealism. This is a book where people are trying to change the world, and the last third of it had me alternately crying my face off and inspired to do the work and take on evil in the world. It’s so powerful.
- Alex and Henry. I mean, it’s the center of the book, so if you don’t love their romance, you won’t love the book, but these two just banter so damn well together that you want to squeeze the stuffing out of them. They are the reason the term “cinnamon rolls” was coined.
The Final Word
Have I fangirled enough for you? Red, White & Royal Blue is just everything. It made my weeks and days brighter while reading, it made me stay up too late, it made me laugh and snicker, it made me ache and cry. I feel like it has a little something for everyone. It’s way more than just a fluffy new adult male/male romance. It’s a book that is trying to open minds and hearts in the most honest way possible. Buy it now, give it to friends, get a Claremont 2020 t-shirt (proceeds go to The Trevor Project for LGBTQ teens!), and for God’s sake, please fangirl with me in the comments!
RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston is out in bookstores now! Have I convinced you to read it immediately? Are you into royal romances like I am? Or political books? If you’ve read it already, what was your favourite part? Let me know in the comments!