G. Bianco, 2019
McQuiston’s debut novels highlights self acceptance with a side of steamy romance
Looking for a great summer read that’s binge-worthy and includes a steamy romance? Well, look no further! With Pride month in full swing, I kept seeing Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, pop up on my Instagram feed. I was unclear about whether it was a young adult book or not (more on that later), so I ended up reading quite a few reviews on the book to try and figure it out. While I didn't see specifics in regards to the genre of the novel, I did see that a lot of reviewers and authors were giving the novel five stars. So with those accolades, as well as my being a sucker for a cute love story, I figured I’d give this book a shot!
Alex Claremont-Diaz is the First Son of the United States and longs to be a part of the political world himself one day. However, when he gets into a confrontation with his nemesis, Prince Henry of Wales, and photos leak to the tabloids, American/British relationships get rocky. In order to do some damage control, Alex and Henry must stage a fake friendship between the two of them to make the world believe that there is no animosity between them. But when that fake friendship becomes real, Alex and Henry realize they may like each other more than they originally thought. While having a secret affair with the Prince of England is fun, Alex could derail his mother’s entire campaign and upend both nations if the public found out. With Alex’s world altering before his very eyes, he starts to ponder whether true love is worth fighting for and how history will remember him.
I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did! The trope of enemies to lovers was so satisfying and Alex and Henry’s steamy romance really made this novel great. However, it is these romance scenes, on top of explicit language, that would probably make me classify this book in the New Adult genre, and not so much Young Adult. There is a lot of sexual content in this novel that usually toned down in YA, so if that’s not your preference, I’d probably stay away from this book.
Besides that, the characters were amazingly well-written. With witty banter, character development, and heartfelt scenes, I really enjoyed all of the characters and the general plot of the novel. If I had any critiques about this book, it would be the political undertones in the story. I think it’s just that I am not a big fan of political statements, but it is a novel about relations between countries and political scandals in the midst of a romance, so what did I expect? Also, the fact that it was set in 2019-2020 was a bit odd. It seemed like a weird alternate universe more than anything else. I think the reason for this is to try and show what the world could be like if everyone was accepting of others and themselves.
Overall, this was a great debut novel and I hope to see more of Alex and Henry’s story in the future. Their character development and changing worldview allowed for a great story arc that really played upon the theme of self-acceptance over what other people think. I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers out there!
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Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!