Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Maturity Level: 5
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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?
I should start by saying that I have never reviewed a romance novel before. I don’t actually *like* romance novels, and if I had known this was one I never would have put it on hold from the library. All the YA bloggers were reading it, and so I just assumed it was YA. So my opinions of this book will reflect what I don’t like about the genre, and I honestly don’t know much of anything about the genre and have nothing to compare it to.
First off, this book is funny and adorable and amazing. I don’t know when the last time I laughed at loud at a book was. The dialogue, situations, and snark were all hilarious to me. I especially loved how obviously flawed all the characters are, but how they are lovable anyway.
I did not particularly care for the profane nature of the book. There’s a lot of language, raunchy humor, heavy drinking, and other such things that are just not for me. In addition, I don’t enjoy sex scenes. (I much prefer kissing!) The sex in this book was graphic enough to make me uncomfortable, but not so graphic that I felt the need to skip over it. But honestly, more than that, it was the raunchy humor, especially between Alex and Henry. That’s just not something I personally enjoy.
But I think what made this book really special is the heart of it. McQuiston, deep down, believes that America is a good place full of good people who want to make the world better. It’s easy to get caught up in hate and political drama, but McQuiston reminds us that things are getting better every day. In particular this is a lovely story about two people with very public lives coming out. It’s bittersweet because some parties try to tear the young men down, but they also receive support from unexpected places. Especially toward the end I kept finding myself getting teary eyed and emotional.
Also, as a Texan, it was nice to see my state represented so thoughtfully. Yeah, there are some bigots in Texas, but the culture is a-changin’, and we’ve increasingly got a big heart.
While this has definitely not won me over to the romance genre, I’m so glad I read Red White & Royal Blue. It was funny and sweet and I feel like I’m a better person than I was yesterday.