Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Goodreads Summary: First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
Thank you, NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 14, 2019
In an instant of sudden, vivid clarity, he can’t believe he ever thought he was straight
This was honestly just a delight. Alex, who is the son of the first female president of the United States, has this weird but intense feud with the Prince Henry of Wales. After a public confrontation, they are forced to fake a friendship but little they know grows into something much more than that.
I didn’t know I love political romances until I finished Red, White, & Royals. This book was just hilarious and surprisingly light-hearted with some political drama sprinkled in the story.
– Alex: Wants to dip his toes into the political world, highly motivated, arguable blunt with a nice mixture of sarcasm, has a bisexual awakening in the story. Biracial.
– Henry: “Very very very gay,” soft boy, hopeless romantic, empathetic as shit, a better writer than Charles Dickens
– June (First Daughter): Wants to be a journalist, doesn’t like being called bug, would probably take a bullet for her brother.
– Nora (Grandaughter of the Vice Prez): My bi queen, sharp as knives, I WOULD TAKE A BULLET FOR HER.
– Bea (Henry’s sister): Rebel, a recovering addict, doesn’t take shit from her fancy royal family
There are so many other great characters that we learn about in this story. Yes, it’s kind of a slow plot but darn these characters make up for the pace.
The Relationship and Sexuality
Ugh, Alex and Henry’s relationship was just too perfect and too pure. This is an enemies- to- friends- to -lovers story and I was just digging it so hard. From their late-night phone calls to their long witty emails, it can make any person swoon to eternity. Their banter and debates about trivial things like Star Wars just made their relationship so real and absolute.
I’m not going to lie, I thought Alex already knew about his sexuality in the beginning because he was really vocal about the attractiveness of Henry so I was quite surprised that he hadn’t figured it out till the middle of the book. It was still nice to see Alex work through his sexuality and also great that all of his loved ones supported him. I was also excited to see the word “bisexual” used MULTIPLE times and also that the author didn’t do the “straight-to-gay” trope. It seems like we are finally acknowledging that sexuality is fluid and getting rid of bi-erasure.
I loved how dedicated they were despite the circumstances. One aspect of the book that truly stuck with me is Alex and Henry having to hide their relationship from the public because it could potentially influence Alex’s mom’s reelection. It’s baffling that this can influence voters which shouldn’t be the case.
I’m glad to say that there are not romance tropes that occur in the book such as miscommunication and petty argument. There are moments of uncertainty but Casey McQuisten handled this beautifully, realistically and less dramatic as most romance writers would write out those scenes.
Although this was a romance book, the family and friendship aspects were not overshadowed. We see the dysfunctional but loving dynamics of Alex’s family and how although their family is not perfect, their continuing to love and support one another is what really keeps them at pace with their daily political lives.
Alex’s friendship group grows so nicely in this novel from their drunken karaoke nights to them just being with each other when the shit hits the fan. As the reader, I wanted to be part of this hilarious group.
The book also dives briefly into other topics such as privilege, race, privacy, public opinion, gender identity, gender roles, family and country expectations, Although they weren’t completely front and center, I think their subtlety was handled well and made me think about how some of these concepts resonate our world today.
Look, I know there’s a lot of hype surrounding this book (I actually didn’t know about the hype till I finished it) but this book is just something that I didn’t know I need in my life. I love queer romantic comedies and I want even more of them.
Now, I need sequels and companion novels from other characters, please!!!