May 17, 2019

Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

When Alex Claremont-Diaz, son of the President of the US, and his longtime nemesis Prince Henry have an altercation at a royal wedding, the news makes the tabloids and threatens the relationship between the American and British governments. The solution that their staffs come up with is simple: the pair need to fake a friendship in order to take control of the narrative before anyone else does. What follows is an exchange of messages and a flurry of staged encounters that slowly morph into something real, as Alex comes to the realization that the veneer of the prince he once loathed so much is actually a disguise for the real Henry, a charming young man with a sense of humor and ghosts that haunt his pasts. In order to protect the royal reputation and the Claremont political party as Alex’s mom goes up for reelection, the two of them keep their budding romance a secret. But will they be able to make peace with their respective political situations and the expectations placed upon them both in order to find a future where they can be together?

Red, White & Royal Blue is an utter delight of a romantic comedy romp, and you need it in your life. 

Okay, but seriously, just the thought of Red, White & Royal Blue makes me smile because it is so darn wonderful. I had high hopes going into this tale (buoyed by just about every single one of my friends being head over heels in love with it) and this novel was just as entertaining and as heartfelt as I expected it to be. I loved the shenanigans and banter that cracked me up, making this book one of the most fun reading experiences I’ve ever had. I loved the heartfelt moments that made me swoon, or cry, or do a little bit of both (and they’re not all romance-related, mind you). I loved the way that this story did focus heavily on the romance, but still had fun secondary plots to add some flavor and shake things up. I loved the writing style, because it was so easy to read, and because the author chose to include text messages and emails and those felt so organic as additions to the story.

But, and most important of all, and predictably so if you know me at all, the characters were amazing and what really cemented my love for Red, White & Royal Blue.

Apart from darling Alex, who I love with my whole heart and would absolutely 10/10 want to be friends with and will get to in a moment, there are so many characters I enjoyed meeting. Henry, a prince who is more than the polished royal he appears to be (and who also swept me off my feet and made me laugh). June, Alex’s sister who has a way with words and is determined to succeed on her own merits. Nora, their best friend and the last member of the White House Trio, who is well-versed in facts and figures and has her own way of seeing the world. Bea, Henry’s lovable and fiercely protective sister. Pez, Henry’s gregarious best friend. Alex’s mother and father and stepfather, who were all such supportive adults that their genuine love for Alex made me cry. Zahra and Shaan and Cash and Amy, all members of staff who offer constant support and solutions for the First Family and the Royal Family.

But, honestly, right from the start, Alex had my heart. (I didn’t intentionally mean to have that rhyme, but we’re going to roll with it.) He’s a driven young man who has a deep desire to serve people by pursuing a career in politics, but he also enjoys kicking back and engaging in the pursuit of entertainment. He’s funny and smart and likable and basically, he’s just the best. Being able to come along for the journey as he navigates falling in love (for real) for the first time, coming to terms with his bisexuality and coming out to the people he loves and figuring out what he wants to do with his life is just such a treat, and I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to read all about it.

Just writing down a fraction of my feelings about Red, White & Royal Blue has already convinced me I need to reread it immediately, and if that’s not a testament to how much I adore this novel, I don’t know what is. This novel is hilarious, heartfelt and all-around just a wonderful, entertaining read.

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin | Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC received from the publisher (Thank you!)


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