Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Genre/s: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Comedy, LGBTQ+
Goodreads synopsis:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince 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?

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Hi there book nerds! It’s been a while (life has been busy), but guess what? I managed to finish a book last weekend and IT IS AWESOME.

Red, White & Royal Blue is a delightful, heartwarming, and hilarious story that will surely make you cry, laugh, and ultimately, fall in love. This is one of my most anticipated reads this year, and boooyyy, it did not disappoint.

Y’all this book. I just feel like, this book has almost all the things I want to see in a contemporary novel: the angst, the fluff, the drama, the smut (YES, THE SMUT. This book is NOT YOUNG ADULT. The author has stressed this out so many times already.), lovable characters, excellent dialogue, interesting plot, family and friends themes, identity theme, coming-to-terms-with-sexuality bits, pining, enemies-to-lovers trope, and probably a lot more things but I just can’t remember them as of this moment! 😂 But anyway, I’ll try to talk about them one by one.

Great writing

There’s something about the author’s writing style that just gets me. It’s not complicated, instead it’s light and hilarious. But at the same time, it can also get elegant and poignant. And of course, at other parts, it’s also very steamy. The author just managed to pull me in with her words, and evoked several emotions (and tears) out of me, and it’s just so good. Some flashback parts confused me a little bit though, but other than that, I loved it.

Precious characters (yes, even the minor characters are precious)

I am not even kidding when I tell you all the characters are precious. Even the minor characters are precious, not just Alex and Henry!

Alex has so much charm and tenacity and wit. Best of all, he has a heart of gold. He truly does. With his aspirations in life, his goals, you can see it and it’s amazing. I have to commend the way the author handled his coming-to-terms-with-his sexuality part. There was a line there that says, “I thought I knew my identity, that there were no questions left.” For me, that was just so good and so real, because it shows that no matter how old we get, we’re still going to discover new things about ourselves, and that questioning your sexuality and coming to terms with it has no age limit and that it’s a totally different experience for everybody.

Henry, oh Henry. He is this bright and lovable character who’s holding too much burden on his shoulders. There’s a lot of struggle in Henry’s character arc (I’m not saying Alex didn’t have struggle, he did!, but Henry’s story will break your heart), a lot of loneliness and fear and repressed emotions, and he deserves all the happiness and love in the world. He deserves it. At one point in the book, he goes, “I’m as much of a person and a part of this family as you. I deserve to be happy as much as any of you do.” It’s heartbreaking and also perfect and brave. I love this guy.

And of course, the minor characters. Wow. June, Nora, Bea, Pez, President Mom, Shaan, Zahra, Raphael Luna, EVERYONE. All of them has a distinct character, has their own story to share, and they all made this book extraordinary.

Nerve-wrecking, heart-aching plot

What I loved about the plot is that it’s not just your usual pining romance, learning-to-love, finding-your-true-self kind of plot. There’s also politics in it, so it definitely added thrill and emotions and complexity. And although I’m not the best at politics nor am I a 100% familiar with American politics, I LOVED IT.

On other hand, the plot does remind a little bit of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (if you’ve read both Simon vs. and RWRB, you’ll know what I’m talking about). And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but I just feel like I should have realized it immediately. But apart from that, everything is great—the angst, the fluff, the plot twists, the turn of events.

Quotes from the book

“Should I tell you that when we’re apart, your body comes back to me in dreams? That when I sleep, I see you, the dip of your waist, the freckle above your hip, and when I wake up in the morning, it feels like I’ve just been with you, the phantom touch of your hand on the back of my neck fresh and not imagined? That I can feel your skin against mine, and it makes every bone in my body ache? That, for a few moments, I can hold my breath and be back there with you, in a dream, in a thousand rooms, nowhere at all?”

“Sometimes you just jump and hope it’s not a cliff.”

“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.”

“He called Henry the North Star once. That wasn’t bright enough.”

“So,” she says. “Do you feel forever about him?”
And there’s no room left to agonize over it, nothing left to do but say the thing he’s known all along.
“Yeah,” he says, “I do.”
Ellen Claremont exhales slowly, and she grins a small, secret grin, the crooked, unflattering one she never uses in public, the one he knows best from when he was a kid around her knees in a small kitchen in Travis County.
“Then, fuck it.”

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I can’t believe I’m doing it (I’ve been holding off on giving five stars recently for some reason, I didn’t even give Gideon the Ninth full 5 stars), but damn, I give 5 stars to this book! I just loved it so much! And thank God, it’s already been optioned for film! Yep! You heard that right! Red, White & Royal Blue has been optioned film! SCREAM WITH ME AAAAAAHHHHHHH

Also, content warning: vulgar language/profanity and sexually explicit scenes (not in the level of Fifty Shades or anything, but there are steamy scenes)

How about the rest of you nerds? Have you read this? Did you like it? Come talk! Comment down below, or reach me through my Instagram because I practically live there already, haha!

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