☾ about the book
Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Format: audiobook, novel (also available as paperback)
Trigger Warnings: on page alcohol use, discussions of drug use and addiction, homophobia that is challenged on page, anxiety, un-named ADHD, depression, depictions of racism in media, discussions of past death of a parent, mentions of pancreatic cancer in the past, discussion of attempted sexual assault in the past (from a side character), nonconsensual outing, and extensive discussions of politics
☾ the synopsis
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?
☾ the characters
Alex is the son of the president of the USA.
He attends college and really wants to work his mother’s reelection campaign.
Unfortunately, a mishap at the royal wedding proves as a curveball, because Alex is forced to put aside the fact that he cannot stand Prince Henry and pretend to be friends with him to save his mother’s campaign.
Henry is the definition of a British royal snobb – and his dislike for Alex is mutual.
However, the closer the two get to each other, the more they start figuring out, and the more their lives change.
☾ the world building
The book is set in 2020.
Trump never happened and instead, Ellen Claremont has been in office as the first female president of the US since 2017.
She is now working on her reelection campaign.
The Windsors in Great Britain are still stuck between tradition and modernity, and while they have an interest in good relations with the US, they do not have an interest in allowing Henry Windsor to be himself to the fullest.
☾ what i liked about this book
This book blew me away.
It read like a fewer dream – if fewer dreams were a good thing, and it gives me hope that maybe one day, the US will elect a female president.
Casey McQuiston definitely knows how to write male characters without toxic masculinity, and the book’s events definitely hit the pulse of time.
She explores the issues with coming-out and self-discovery from multiple perspectives, and her characters are wonderfully diverse.
The story telling is extremely humorous, ambitious, and definitely relatable to all of us young adults.
Alex and Henry definitely make me feel seen.
☾ what i didn’t like about this book
I think for international readers who can’t really grasp the concepts of how politics work in the US, the book’s ongoing political themes may provide a bit of a hassle – but luckily google is our friend.
Personally, I also really struggled with the blatant homophobia visible in the way the Windsors treat Henry, so to any members of the LGBTQ+ community, this might be especially triggering.
☾ should you read this book?
YES YES YES YES YES!
This book deserves the hype!
Honestly, if you’re a teen over 19, you like to read contemporary romance and are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and you haven’t read this book yet, you are definitely missing out on a story that will make you feel so incredibly seen.
Even if you’re not a fan of romance much (like me) and you haven’t read this book, you are missing out on a story that is the written word definition of some of the most overused slang today – yes, I am speaking about YOLO and LOL.
Because this book will give you YOLO vibes, and it will make you cry with laughter.
It’s that good.
Have you read Red, White & Royal Blue?
What are your thoughts on it? Be sure to keep them spoiler free if possible!