Title: Red, White and Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Publisher: St. Martins Press (Macmillan)
Genre: LGBTQ+ Romance
For my first review, I felt it had to be a book I really loved, and there’s no book that I’ve loved more than Red, White and Royal Blue.
You know those books that you think about constantly even when you’re not reading? The books that make you get up half an hour early so you can squeeze in some more reading? The books where you can’t wait to keep reading but you’re also terrified of finishing because then it’s over and that’s it?
Red, White and Royal Blue was that book for me. Without a doubt, one of my favourite reads of all time! I couldn’t stop thinking about it. If I wasn’t reading it, I was counting down the hours until I could pick it up again. I wanted to re-read it immediately, but I will be adding it to my re-read pile, which I’m hoping to get to later in the year.
I don’t even know where to start. I loved every single one of the 418 pages. I don’t think I have ever smiled and laughed so much whilst reading a book before. It was a thoroughly heart-warming read, and I have recommended it to pretty much everyone since reading it.
This book begins in an alternate version of our reality – one where the successor to President Obama is female. Her 2020 re-election is approaching, and the novel centres on the feud between her son, Alex, and the Prince of England, Henry. After an incident threatens diplomatic relations, they are forced to feign friendship. They transition from can’t-bear-to-be-in-the-same-room-as-you to can’t-bear-to-be-apart-from-you, and their love for each other becomes clear. I loved the romance in this more than any romance I’ve ever read. I haven’t read a lot of the enemies-to-lovers trope but it worked amazingly (and now I’d love some recommendations for more!). Alex and Henry are there for each other when no one else is, and understand the difficult position they share as children of public figures. It is a difficult time for both of them, but together they face the challenges that come their way, and prove that love conquers all.
I loved both Henry and Alex, (and everyone else!!), and I would absolutely love a retelling of this exact story but from Henry’s perspective (looking at you Casey McQuinston with pleading eyes). They are both such wonderful characters, and I adored how their friendship transitioned into romance, and how they expressed this through texts and emails. The letter writing was such a beautiful part of the novel, and I am a little annoyed at myself that I was so consumed with reading that I didn’t stop to note down all the amazing quotes and parts I loved! Though I will definitely be tabbing this book when I reread it.
The range of diversity and representation in the characters of this novel was equally wonderful. I loved the way McQuinston commented on a range of issues, from sexism and racism to the stigma surrounding the drug abuse, the lack of representation in positions of power and homophobia. It really challenges the idealisation of the ‘glamorous’ lives of royalty, and highlighted that the reality is a lack of freedom, rigid principles and the inability to be yourself.
I am so excited to read more of her work, though I will have to wait until 2021.
What book could you not get out of your head?