Author: Casey McQuiston
Fiction > Contemporary > Romance
Fiction > Romance > LGBTQA+
Published/Publisher: May 14th 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Format Read In: Ebook
Summary from Goodreads (GOODREADS LINK)
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.
TW: Homophobia, outing a character, vague description of sexual exploitation, mild sex scenes, depictions of insomnia, discussion of death by cancer
This book had been hyped up by the book-verse–from Twitter to Youtube–and since I’m already trying to push into the romance genre, I decided to pick it up, especially with such an interesting dynamic like a relationship between a prince and a president’s son. Plus, I heard this was something you’d want to read if you were depressed about the 2016 elections, which I definitely was. However, I’m not a fan of this trend in romance to have graphics instead of real people or even just a shot of something else; the graphics are really not attractive.
What I Liked
- The sibling relationship between Alex and June was both cute and totally realistic; the jabs, teasing and sometimes keeping secrets from each other were perfect.
- The writing is easy to follow and fast paced, so I hardly felt bored when reading. It wasn’t too bogged down with language. The dialogue and the text messages was also genuinely funny! McQuiston knows how to write interactions between characters.
- I am totally backing up June when she attempts to kill Woody Allen.
- It wasn’t entirely clear to me how everyone knew Henry was gay but always-observant Alex didn’t know, but I also kind of like that trope in romance where the object of affection is totally oblivious when it’s obvious to everyone else.
- I would eye Alex’s mom sometimes but I have to admit, her slideshows are hilarious.
- Honestly, despite always rolling my eyes at cheesiness, Henry’s romantic words are so pure-hearted, gentle and delightful.
- Zahra is the best; a literal queen! I want a sequel for her and Shaan’s romance.
- The scene outside the window had me tearing up; it was really powerful! So was the last scene between Alex and Luna; my heart was in my throat. These two shots showed what both the UK and American could be.
What I Didn’t Like
- My suspension of disbelief was really tested over how much international relations would be affected by what Alex did. It was also tested whenever Alex showed how well he could manipulate adults and political professionals when he’s just a college student.
- Despite finding the relationship charming, I did find that it moved too fast and I’d like to have had them spend more time keeping each other at arm’s reach.
- I thought it was strange how nearly everyone in the novel, including side characters, were all attractive. This isn’t really a negative; just a small nit-pick.
- The adults tended to swear a lot even when they were working, which was also strange.
- I don’t think I was totally satisfied with June’s ending? I also felt like her character got to short end of the stick when it comes to actions.
- Surprisingly, rather than Henry’s cheesy words making me eye-roll, it was more his “woke” statements. I don’t know, maybe I’m too jaded, but I found them to be ham-fisted for a white royal.
- I was kind of uncomfortable with the way Henry’s best friend, a powerful African influencer who was the best dressed out of all of them (can’t even remember his name), is hardly in the book and is used more to prop up Henry than to be a fully fleshed out character. Which is a surprising choice by the author considering how well written the other PoC are.
Unlike Fix Her Up, which I also read for the hype, RW+RB was a delightful read, tender but willing to recognize major issues in both the American and British institutions of power. If you want a window into a brighter timeline than the one we’re in, take a read.
My Rating: 4/5