What’s it about?
Alex Clairemont-Diaz, First Son of the US under its first female president, has always disliked Prince Henry across the pond and their rivalry has even made it into the papers. Both nations are quick to force the two to fake a friendship to remedy the tabloid disaster. Neither Alex nor Henry are thrilled but when they get to know each other properly their fake friendship becomes a real one and – secretly – more than that.
What I think about it
This is probably one of the first hyped books that I have read while there was still hype surrounding it and not three years too late. Suddenly, everyone was reading Red, White & Royal Blue and it was (and still is) all over Instagram. The blurb sounded cute and promising and my colleague at work all but bullied me into reading it (no, she’s really cute and would never do that :D).
First off, I love this alternative America! The racist orange potato never got elected and instead America has its first female president, a Ellen Claremont, a democrat hailing from Texas. With her no-bullshit attitude and her eye on the prize while still putting her family first and addressing important issues she reminded me a lot of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Alex, his sister June and the VP’s granddaughter, Nora make up the White House Trio of millennials, perfect for Ellen’s re-election campaign. All is well until Alex bumps into his nemesis, Prince Henry of England, and causes an international incident at the Royal Wedding. I don’t want to get into detail but I had to laugh so hard at what happened at that wedding! I loved Henry from the moment I met him and how the two of them interact. Rapid-fire dialogue full of snark, sarcasm and insults. It’s endearing!
When Alex and Henry are forced to spend time together and pretend they are friends for the press, they get to the person behind the façade they put up in public. I really loved reading about their friendship slowly and almost imperceptibly becoming more. Texts, e-mails, calls over the course of several months and no insta-love! Yay!! ❤ Alex also had to figure out he was bisexual, first and I loved how he came to the very fast conclusion. Also this quote is a moodTM :
In an instant of sudden, vivid clarity, he can’t believe he ever thought he was straight.
Despite the story focusing on Alex’s and Henry’s romance the other characters had their fare share of screen-time and had each their lives, personality and problems. All in all, it was a well-rounded setting, nobody felt two-dimensional or flat. I especially loved Zahra, Ellen’s right hand who 99% of the time was just done with Alex. The poor woman deserves some rest!
‘So, you can hate the heir to the throne all you want, write mean poems about him in your diary, but the minute you see a camera, you act like the sun shines out of his dick, and you make it convincing.’
‘Have you met Henry?’ Alex says. ‘How am I supposed to do that? He has the personality of a cabbage.’
The writing style and the tone in this book are so refreshingly direct. People swear, there are a lot of ‘um’s and ‘like’ which is just how people talk. It’s the perfect summer read, unstuffy and relatable. Red, White & Royal Blue is immensely fun to read, it’s witty and even though I didn’t understand half of the campaigning going on in there I still loved it. It’s adorably fluffy with a portion of angst and drama thrown in to keep it interesting. It’s a book with a happily ever after and sometimes you just need that. A lot of queer kids growing up need a book like this, a hopeful book and it’s just like the author said at the very end:
What I hoped to do, and what I hope I have done with this book by the time you’ve finished it, my dear reader: to be the spark of joy and hope you needed […] Keep fighting, keep making history, keep looking after one another.
Red, White & Royal Blue was a warm, fun and hopeful read. I enjoyed it from the first to the last page. It was uplifting and just the summer read you’d want to have with you. Relatable characters, wit and direct writing made this an amazing read. Would definitely read again and recommend!
- Author: Casey McQuiston
- Pages: 432
- Publisher: Macmillan
- Release Date: May 14, 2019
- ISBN: 9781250316776