Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: NA Contemporary
Length: 421 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date: May 14, 2019
Sex, Racism, Forced Outing, Swearing,
Depression, Anxiety Attacks, Death (off-screen),
Drug Abuse (off-screen), Alcohol Use,
Mexican, Nigerian, Indian, Bisexual,
Gay, Trans, Depression, Anxiety
I finally finished this one! I know it took like a couple weeks or so because I put it down to read some other things that I needed to get out of the way, but I finally finished it last night! And now that I read it, I’m seeing that I apparently type and talk just like Alex does, and I don’t know if I’m irritated at myself or him. More on that later. Just kidding, I’m not even going to mention it apparently.
Thank you so much to Brittany, Dana & Adele for doing this buddy read with me, and I’m so sorry that I was the last one to finish it! I appreciate you three so much for being patient with me, and I loved our mini discussions about this book on Twitter. Seriously, it had me rolling at work and I had to remember that I was supposed to be working. 😉
Alex Claremont-Diaz is the First Son of the United States of America, and his mother is the President. Yes, fam. A female president was elected in 2016. Woot! 🙌 🙌 🙌 He is also determined to be the youngest Senator in history, and has fully immersed himself in American politics even before his mother became Madam President. He has a filter sometimes, but for the most part he speaks what’s on his mind and is one-third of the “White House Trio”, with his sister June and their best friend Nora being the rest.
Prince Henry of Wales is one of the princes of England, and he has the job of continuing on the family legacy through having heirs and whatever else the British Monarchy does these days. He has to keep the perfect image because he is royalty, after all. But once you get to know him, you’ll see that he is just as vulnerable as anyone else, and fun too.
June and Nora are the other part of the White Trio. June is Alex’s older sister and great with her writing skills. It is her dream to be a journalist, but being the president’s daughter, she can’t write the pieces that she really wants to. She’s also known for revising the presidential speeches that the Chief of Communications writes every once in a while. Nora is a brilliant hacker and great with numbers and statistics. I think June and Nora may have a stronger friendship than most people believe, and Nora has said that she is bisexual. There may be some love in there and I’m all for it.
Pez and Bea are part of Henry’s circle, with Pez being Henry’s best friend and Bea being Henry’s older sister. Pez knows Henry’s true identity – him being gay is not public knowledge – and supports him no matter what. Just like a true best friend. Bea was so cool with Henry coming out to her as well, and she constantly supports him especially after the death of their father. She’s a great big sister.
For some reason, Alex has “hated” Henry since the moment they met in person at the Rio Olympics. So every time they have to see each other in public appearances, he has been pretty hostile to the Prince of Wales. Well, that has to change when they get into an “altercation” that could impact the foreign relationship between the United States and Britain. We can’t afford a war because of a misunderstanding. So the PR plan is to have them be friends… and so much more ends up happening in the span of a year.
I loved how supportive June, Nora, Pez, and Bea were when Alex and Henry showed their love for one another. Especially June and Nora when Alex comes to the realization that he’s bisexual. I’m not sure how he didn’t realize it before – with some of the things he used to do with his best friend Liam but I’m not judging – and how his mom and dad reacted as well. It wasn’t a problem, and they loved him anyway. They were like “oh I thought you were going to say something bad” and that just really showed him that wow he has a great family and he’s so lucky. Henry on the other hand had a little bit more to go through, but I’ll let you read it for yourself.
I also loved that Ellen (Madam President) could still be a great mom to her kids even with this stressful job. There was a scene where she “wiped” her face and became Mom again. It was basically a cleansing to make sure that when she was done for the day, she wouldn’t bring any problems from work into the family life. It was really great to see, and she would make a conscious effort to keep home life home and personal. She did a great job too.
This was a pretty good book, not gonna lie.
I personally didn’t like Alex in the beginning. Well for the most part until he realized what he was feeling for Henry. He just seemed so hateful and I didn’t like it. Just like I don’t like girl on girl hate, I don’t like guy on guy hate. I’m glad he was able to finally come to terms with what he was feeling and accurately figure it out – even though it took him a long, long time, and then he was able to open up his mind to what he was wrong about.
There’s a huge spoiler in here that I can’t talk about because obviously a spoiler but that part pissed me off so much! I don’t even think I can talk about it without spoiling it so, I’ll just keep it at that.
Honestly, I don’t think that was really memorable for me until the end. I kind of brushed over it. But what was more important and memorable to me was the feeling that they could make history for being true to who they were, and who they loved if they were allowed to actually be themselves. They could have paved the way for a better world by not having to hide something so core about them and that doesn’t hurt anyone else.
I feel like Alex brought up a good point about how it was hard for him to be in the public eye because he was half Mexican, and while this was a “better” America than what we live in today, we could feel that he was already starting way behind the starting line compared to others. He was even more scrutinized because his mom was the President, a white blonde Texas woman, and his dad was also a Senator, and Mexican and in California. I know he came off as someone who just didn’t care what others thought, but clearly that was wrong when he would pay attention to his approval ratings as well as his mom’s and the rest of the family. They purposely made themselves into something that the American public would want to cheer on, and I know that was hard. He also pushed himself so much into the world of politics that there would be times where he did not even sleep well. All the coffee, the late nights. It was probably really hard on his body and mind, but it was his passion.
I don’t even know where I was going with this but oh well.
The ending was such a fairy tale happy ending that gives us all hope, that it just made me happy. I liked it, especially after going through so much drama and emotional turmoil and all of that throughout this book. Sometimes the pacing was weird because they could go months without communication in the beginning and then things would slow down and before I knew it, it was a year since the book started. I loved the sibling dynamics. I loved the friendships. I think this was a pretty good book.