Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pub Date: May 14, 2019
Format: e-arc | Source: NetGalley
Genres: New Adult, contemporary romance, LGBTQ+
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…
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?
This. was. everything!!!! The voice is spectacular, and the dialogue feels so real- it’s crass and smart and hysterical and romantic. I love the way Casey McQuiston writes!!! I was surprised at the amount of politics to be honest, but I was also fascinated by it- it felt like an authentic look behind the curtain. Not to mention the quickest way to get me to read a book is to include royals and an extremely shippy enemies to lovers romance.
I loved the random pop culture references and other bits that spoke to me- Star Wars, Hamilton, GBBO, Harry Potter, Cap bandaids, barbacoa Chipotle burritos, David the beagle!!! It’s like this was written for me. It makes the book world feel lived in and when references are done WELL (aka not in a flashing neon sign) it makes the characters feel so real. It was definitely bittersweet reading about this amazing female president that won the 2016 election- I loved that the Claremont-Diaz family (and the royal family) was fictional but had these wonderful real life optimistic parallels.
(Claremont For America 2020 swag designed by SeasonVining and modeled by the author Casey McQuiston.)
And you guys I HAVENT EVEN TALKED ABOUT ALEX AND HENRY YET. The meet cute disaster! The bickering! The roooooomance!!! Alex’s bisexual awakening was written in this perfect, honest, believable way that made me ache a little bit. He was basically the last to realize this truth about himself and it was sweet to see him grapple with this in front of his sister and their best friend, who both seemed to know wayyyyyy before he did lmao.
There was also a lot more sexiness than I expected but I’m not complaining!! It was most gratifying seeing how they brought out the best in each other, and how they let in the people around them. I loved the communication between Alex and Henry, including yet another hidden piece of themselves with each email and text.
I adored June, Nora, and Bea, and it was great to see the tight knit White House Trio become a group of six. I loved Alex’s parents. I loved the BBQ at Alex and June’s favorite family vacation spot! I loved how extremely and truly diverse the entire cast was, in so many meaningful ways. And I loved that this felt like a movie I would gladly watch a million times, with all the best beats and tropes of a romantic comedy. Sooooo yeah, I loved this book. Y’all should read it if you like rom coms and nice things 😉
Have you read RWRB yet, or is it at the top of your list? Do you love books about royals and/or hate to love like I do? What are some of your favorites? Let me know!