[Review] Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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.

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. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you? 

Genre(s): NA, Contemporary, Romance
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on May 14th 2019
[ add it on Goodreads ]

Representation: (click to show)

bisexual biracial Mexican-American MC with implied anxiety [Alex], gay MC/love interest with depression [Henry], M/M main relationship, biracial Mexican-American secondary character [June], bisexual Jewish secondary character [Nora], Mexican secondary character [Oscar, Alex & June’s dad], gay Mexican secondary character [Rafael Luna], Indian-British minor character [Shaan], trans WLW minor character [Amy], pansexual minor character [Amy’s wife], minor F/F and M/M relationships

Content warnings: (click to show)

precanon parent death (cancer), past cocaine use/addiction, slightly drunk but consensual sex, racism, xenophobia, microaggressions, past attempted sexual assault (mentioned), bi erasure, drinking as coping mechanism, on-page panic attack, being publicly outed, non-graphic sexual content, ableist language (incl. “cr*zy”)

The top list of reasons to love you goes brain, then dick, then imminent status as a revolutionary gay icon.

I don’t even know where to start with this one; I have so many notes and highlights and feelings. There are funny moments and tender moments and playful moments and inspirational moments and heartbreaking moments and everything in between.

To be honest, I wasn’t initially sold on all the political aspects (I just wanted to read a fluffy queer romance) but it adds further dimension to the themes and makes the soft personal moments even sweeter; I’m into that.

And okay, yes: there are aspects that are unrealistic, and yes, some of the twists are tropey. But I genuinely think it all works when taken as a whole — especially since I read for escapism.

So I appreciate a world where 2016 saw the first female president and her biracial family inherit the White House. I love seeing a closeted gay British prince grapple with his family legacy and his feelings for the infuriating FSOTUS. I absolutely adore watching this pair of dorks change from rivals to frenemies to lovers, exchanging increasingly ridiculous texts and emails, being made fun of by their friends, playing nice for the cameras then playing nice when they’re alone.

This book just means so much to me, I can’t even explain it in words. I’ve already reread it twice this year, and it still made me tear up every time. It absolutely deserves the hype, and it’s earned a place on my Favorites shelf. 

“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. […]

History, huh? Bet we could make some.

5 stars

Conversion:  13.8 / 15 = 5 stars

Rating Details: (click to show)

Prose: 8 / 10
Characters & Relationships: 9 / 10
Emotional Impact: 10 / 10
Development / Flow: 9 / 10
Setting: 8 / 10

Diversity & Social Themes: 5 / 5
Originality / Trope Execution: 5 / 5
Rereadability: 5 / 5
Memorability: 5 / 5

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12 thoughts on “[Review] Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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