Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Pages for Pride: Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
Published: May 14, 2019
Genre: NA, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+

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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Review
5 Stars
I need a lifetime supply of Kleenex and a trophy that says Best Book of 2019 to give to Casey McQuiston. My heart now has a space carved out that belongs to Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry Windsor, to Red, White & Royal Blue, to all of us readers left in a puddle of tears caused by this beautiful, poignant story. Not only is this book an incredible LGBTQ+ enemies to lovers romance, it's also the book you didn't even know you needed in our present political climate. I didn't even know I needed it and now I can't shut up about it. I said it in one of my Instagram stories, I wish I had this book in my hands when I was 18 and preparing to vote for the very first time. I wish I had all the thoughts I have now in my head, but at least I've got them now, and hey a Presidential election is on the horizon.

"History, huh?"

Cute, funny, and full of heart, Red, White & Royal Blue follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, son to the President of the United States, as he is forced to befriend Prince Henry Windsor, Prince of England to be exact, at least for the media. Alex is the Mexican-American first son to the democratic FEMALE President and he has high hopes of joining the political world alongside his mother. He sees the title President in his future, but that won't happen as long as he is considered the enemy of the Prince of England, which he really is. Prince Henry Windsor, who we shall now just call Henry, is the quiet, arrogant, well-dressed grandson of the Queen. He is charity events, forced smiles, and a media golden child, at least to Alex. When they're forced to hang out in order to put the media storm to rest they discover that they have quite a bit in common and soon their alliance forms into a friendship. Their friendship leads to some startling discoveries for Alex, like he's bisexual, and some timid sharing from Henry, a closeted gay thanks to familial and societal expectations. What started as a laugh-out-loud story of forced friendship soon became a story of heartbreak, hope, and humanity as Alex and Henry explore their blossoming desires for one another. Their romance is told through in person-interactions, texts, phone calls, and the best emails I have ever read. It's an authentic story about two young men discovering their identities and figuring out the shape and direction of their futures, all with an ocean and several titles between them.

"Whatever, fine. Henry is annoyingly attractive. That's always been a thing, objectively. It's fine."

Casey McQuiston created an entirely new world in Red, White & Royal Blue. Sure, it's America and England, but it's a world with diverse leaders who desire to make positive changes, who truly fight for the people. Alex and Henry know their position and their families' position in the public will make their relationship, their identities, more difficult to embrace, and yet Casey creates for them a world in which they recognize there is strength and power in owning it. Their friends and families, and employees, come from diverse backgrounds, have various heritages, and love freely. Many are out and proud, many wear that culture proudly, Alex and Henry have just not yet found their footing among them. I loved the secondary characters in this novel just as much as I loved our two main heroes. Speaking of secondary characters and world building, I am obsessed with the character interactions in this book. The relationships felt fluid and natural, there is no stilted dialogue. The characters speak and think like their age, their humor is spot on, and the romance is fresh and new feeling. The language, the prose, all of it just made this book that much better for me. I could live in these pages and I mean that quite sincerely, snotty sobbing and all, this book holds a story I want to live and I'm thankful Casey McQuiston gave me the opportunity to do so with her words.

"Straight people, he thinks, probably don't spend this much time convincing themselves the're straight."

Royal romance, politics, and everyone writing about their heart and their tears? Not normally my cuppa tea. I saw the reviews for this though, they were darn good, and one of my closets friends said it was a must-read for my June Pride reading challenge, she also included it was her favorite for the year, so I picked it up and now I do not want to put it down. For the six hours I read this book I sincerely believed every single character was a real person in my life. I was either crying, making heart eyes, or preparing to go fight alongside them. Red, White & Royal Blue took me on the cutest adventure ever and my emotions were not prepared for all the adorable, painful, and realistic moments in is pages. Not only do I wholeheartedly recommend this novel, I also think it should be a must read. It's important, while also being the feel-good story we need.

About the Author
Casey McQuiston grew up in the swamps of Southern Louisiana, where she cultivated an abiding love for honey butter biscuits and stories with big, beating hearts. She studied journalism and worked in magazine publishing for years before returning to her first love: joyous, offbeat romantic comedies and escapist fiction. She now lives in the mountains of Fort Collins, Colorado, with a collection of caftans and her poodle mix, Pepper. Red, White & Royal Blue is her first novel.

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