“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.”
Synopsis: 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?
Age Group & Genre(s): Contemporary, LGBTQAI+, New, Adult, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: Third Person
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: 2019
Thank you everyone who recommended this novel to me, because I was simply BLOWN away by Red, White & Royal Blue! The story progression, the gradual development between Henry and Alex, the connection to real world events … it was just a lovely reading experience! I think 2019 is going to be the year where I rate EVERYTHING a 4 star … which I’m fine with.
This read was a Buddy Read with my good ol’ blogger friend, Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca. I’ve been following her blog for sometime, and she just continues to grow as this EPIC and INFORMATIVE blogger! She’s wonderful to talk with … and she’s hilarious. Seriously, you should see our emails to one another about this book ha-ha! To read her thoughts on Red, White & Royal Blue, please visit her @ Bookishly Rebecca! (Once her review is up, I will post a link here).
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains abuse (emotional, online abuse), anxiety (panic attacks), depression (mentioned), drug addiction (mentioned — past tense), homophobia, loss of a loved one (mentioned — past tense), and sex.
To my great delight, I finally found a New Adult novel with a Young Adult vibe — YES! Don’t get me wrong, I love YA literature … but it’s sometimes hard to relate to teenagers when I’m in my late twenties. Red, White & Royal Blue revolves around characters in their early to mid-twenties, who are focused on education exploration and career goal. But I found the writing style and the content in the novel reflected a young adult literature essence, using easy to following language use and disclosing sexual scenes in a more light and tamed manner (for the most part). I’m ALWAYS looking for this in novels, so I was ECSTATIC to finally find this.
The characters are ACTUALLY the best part of this novel … character development FTW! I wanted to be friends with these people … that’s how much I loved the core group in this story. They all have their own unique voice and vibrant personalities, illustrated through a carefully crafted narration style. And without overburdening us, McQuiston’s able to create depth to all of the central characters as we learn about their pasts and watch them grow throughout the 400+ pages. Character-oriented readers? You’re DEFINITELY going to want to pick this up.
Alex and Henry’s “coming out” and “complicated relationship” explorations are gradual and intriguing. The most unique thing about this novel is Alex’s coming out story. At first, he’s unsure of his sexual preference and orientation, uncovering this gradually throughout the plot. But what makes this novel different from others is his reaction … he’s not upset or mad at himself for this realization — he simply accepts himself for who he is and moves on with his life. Henry and Alex’s relationship is much more slowly unveiled, which I was pleasantly surprised about! They progress quickly once they fall for one another, but it was still VERY well paced and didn’t feel rushed at any point in the novel. Also … they’re such an adorable couple. I love the complexity and depth to their relationship — not only the “delicacy” of it due to their status’, but how they slowly reveal their true selves to one another. It’s just a beautiful relationship to follow.
From different countries to heritage, the diversity knows no bounds! I know … I always comment on this in books … but I think it’s important, ESPECIALLY in this novel! McQuiston goes all out on creating a diverse and empowering book, not holding back but not going over the top either. A female president, a bisexual MAIN character (which I rarely see, so I loved this), other LGBTIQA+ characters, diversity in race and ethnic origins, addressing the need for progress and change on a global scale from people and governments … it’s honestly never-ending. With everything happening in the mentioned countries in the book AND others in our current world today, showcasing a world where we CAN make a difference and eliminate prejudice/discrimination is even more important now.
As interesting as politics can be, it also made parts of the first half slow and boring. If you’re interested in political sciences, this may not be an issue for you. As much as I liked knowing more about Alex’s interests and future endeavors, the political talk was just too much at times … taking away from the reason I’m reading this … for ALEX AND HENRY TIME! Luckily, the political element isn’t complicated — you don’t need much background knowledge to comprehend what’s going on.
Red, White & Royal Blue is EASILY a binge read … BUT THE CHAPTERS ARE TOO LONG! Yes — this might be a ridiculous complaint, but I don’t see the point of these GIGANTIC chapters — especially when they easily could’ve been split up. For me, it makes it hard to find a GOOD spot to leave off at. Then I start to SPEED READ so I can get to the end of the chapter — and then I have to go back and re-read because I SPED READ previously. It just ruins the flow of the story.
During the first half of the novel, there’s not enough Henry and Alex time WHATSOEVER. During the DAMAGE CONTROL section, the two only get together for a weekend. Afterwards, they simply email until the next face-to-face meet. This initial meet to “fix the previous disaster” felt rushed, a lackluster interaction that should’ve been more eventful and engaging. Thank GOSH the second half has WAY more Henry and Alex moments!
Red, White & Royal Blue is a unique and engrossing read, a page turner that brings joy to all. The powerful messages in this book are reason to read it alone, but there’s so much more to this novel! Not only is this book FILLED with amazing characters, but it’s actually HILARIOUS! Seriously, I actually laughed out loud more times than I can count. But the best part is seeing Henry and Alex go through their journey, learning to love themselves for who they are and making history. Want to read a ridiculously laughable novel brimmed to the rim with character development? Look no further, for this is a book for you!