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What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

To pigeonhole this book is to do it a great disservice. Yes, it is a gay romance. It is also very political, but in a sweet, fantasy sort of way that really appealed to me. In the world McQuiston has created, America moved on from Barack Obama to a Latina woman president, continuing those almost forgotten themes of hope and change instead of the torrent of hate and divisiveness that we are currently living through. That definitely worked for me. And she’s from Texas!

I loved the family dynamics, both in the American first family and the British royal family. Alex and Henry both have siblings that are also their best friends, until they find each other. They also have Secret Service (and the British equivalent,) live in very large houses that actually belong to the people of their respective countries, and have been living a public life for years, especially Henry. Alex, at least, had his formative years in relative obscurity.

The royal family has been changed enough to make them unrecognizable yet thoroughly believable. Prince Henry is gay, and no one knows it or is allowed to know it. It is his responsibility to be the millennial face of the crown family, and, of course, to reproduce. Learning the machinations of the PR machines that drive both the royal family and the American presidency was fun and actually a little darker than I expected.

Alex and Henry’s story made me laugh and made me cry and especially made me wish for a better America. And if that surprises you, you must be new here. Feel free to comment.

This was a super fun summer read, and I can see why it made the LibraryReads list. It’s fantastical and idealistic and I loved it.

5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston. Griffin (May 14, 2019).  ISBN  978-1250316776. 432p.



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