Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
WOW WOW WOW! I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of character and emotion here.
Recommended: YEEEESS! 😀
For those who love characters you truly root for with all your heart by the end, for inspiration to live your own life bravely, and for a great book that delivers a much more complex and detailed story than impressive.
Alex is the beloved, playboy First Son of the United States, and every inch a politician – topped only by his mother, the President. His weak point in that deck: international diplomacy, as illustrated when he tackles Prince Henry of Wales into a royal wedding cake. (Whoops.) PR recovery forces them to forge a fake friendship and overcome their loathing of each other. Soon, though, it’s not feeling so forced. And far too soon, they’re each questioning if what they’ve found together is worth the risks of being disowned not just by family and friends, but by their entire countries.
Wow, guys. Wow. What an impressive surprise this book was. I thought it would be a light, funny read (if probably a bit predictable and cliched). While it had the lightness and humor at points, it also was startlingly deep and sensitive and sexy as hell.
Our MCs, Alex & Henry, have that hate-to-love thing going on. But my god, is it so much more than that. You don’t often seen a romance struggling with political and international constraints where the people involved are teenagers (or under the age of 30, really). YA political romance is something I never knew I needed in my life, and McQuiston has filled a void I never knew needed filling! So from the start, kudos for a quite original premise and delivery.
The personal identity questions around Alex’s bisexuality is handled with honesty, tact, and just as much angst as you would expect when his crush could cost his mother her presidency. The actual romance between them is steamy, too, with both beautifully touching and searingly sexual scenes that capture what love and passion really are.
The supporting characters are all delightful and well developed as well. Far from feeling flat, they add to the story with their own paths in addition to being foils for Henry and Alex to develop further from.
Ending: A+ I was actually holding my breath, flying through the last pages so fast with one question: “WHAT HAPPENS WITH TEXAS?” Was it predictable? No, actually. As I said, I haven’t read much political love intrigue with such young stars, so I really wasn’t sure how it would play out. Maybe some things I saw coming, but there was enough uncertainty to keep me devouring this book (as you may have noticed, I slammed out all 423 pages in two days).
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