Review: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I can see why a lot of people fell head over heels with Red, White, and Royal Blue. I enjoyed it, for the most part, but there were a few big things that gave me cause for concern.

Red White and Royal Blue CoverA 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? (Goodreads)

Goodreads

I received an eARC of Red, White, and Royal Blue via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Red, White, and Royal Blue needs trigger warnings for on page alcohol use, discussions of drug use and addiction, homophobia that is challenged on page, anxiety, un-named ADHD, depression, depictions of racism in media, discussions of past death of a parent, mentions of pancreatic cancer in the past, discussion of attempted sexual assault in the past (from a side character), nonconsensual outing, and extensive discussions of politics.

This new adult romance has a great slow burn romance where other people have to help the main character figure out he’s bisexual which is frankly just… entirely realistic for a lot of bi and pan folks.

One of the major issues for me is that neither Alex nor Henry ever once gave a thought to the fact that someone might be able to access the emails they sent each other at some point. These were two kids who grew up in the limelight in the digital era. Did no one ever teach them that you should never send anything online that you wouldn’t want on the front page of the newspaper? Especially when you’re a prince and the son of a senator and the President? I get that love makes you careless but it was causing me anxiety from the first email.

That being said, I did love the way the emails and group chat moved the story along in a realistic way for a long distance relationship without skipping months at a time. I loved the ways they slowly got to know each other while still missing out on some of the really important things about each other that made conflict possible without being relationship destroying.

This story was written as a kind of 2016-election do-over which I love as a premise, but in execution, it kind of made me nauseous to read. The parallels are clear and painful, particularly with the shitshow that has been 2019.

If this sounds up your alley, then you can pick up a copy from Amazon, Indiebound and The Book Depository.

ABOUT RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE

Title: Red, White and Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Length: 423 Pages

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Rating: Recommended

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Fiction Romance

Representation: biracial White-Mexican American bisexual ADHD main character, bisexual side character, gay main character, gay side character

Tropes: enemies to lovers, long distance relationship

 

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