Friday, May 10, 2019

Early Review: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue
Casey McQuiston
Release: May 14, 2019
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A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

I don't read a lot of contemporary romances which is a shame because the last five or six I've read have been phenomenal! Back in February, I kept seeing several of my bookish friends talk about this new adult romance they were reading and all of them were just raving about it. I found myself curious so I looked at the book's synopsis on Goodreads. A queer romcom where the main characters/love interests are the First Son of the United States and the Prince of Wales?!? Dear Lord, I needed this book in my life! So I immediately went to Netgalley to request the ARC.

Okay. Buckle up, guys, because I'm so ready to absolutely rave and gush about how perfect this book was. I'm calling it now. Red, White and Royal Blue will be on my Top 5 Favorite Books of 2019 list if not my overall #1 favorite of the year. It was everything my little queer heart wanted and needed! I'm more than a bit obsessed with it and I can't stop thinking about it. Case in point: I have reread it three times since reading it for the first time during the Romanceopolyathon in April. It makes my heart grows three sizes too big every time I think about the romance and the characters.

The voice in this book is spectacular! You all know how much I love good banter and this book had it in spades! The dialogue felt so real! It's a bit crass. More than a bit smart while being hysterical and romantic. I loved the writing in this book so much! I loved how the author included tweets, texts, and emails as part of the narrative! The emails between Henry and Alex were everything! I’m literally the heart-eyes emoji every time I think about them.

I loved how politically and socially relevant it was! I don't know why I was so surprised by the amount of politics in this book especially since the story is told from the perspective of the First Son of the United States but I was. But I also loved how seamlessly they were integrated into the story and how much they added to the narrative. I was also deeply fascinated because it felt like a true look behind the White House curtain. The political issues are so relevant to our current political climate. It was also a little bittersweet reading about this amazing female president that won the 2016 election. I loved that the Claremont-Diaz family and the royal family were fictional but had these wonderful real life optimistic parallels.

I love me a relevant woke book and I'll stop gushing about that aspect of it because I haven't talked about the characters and the romance yet! It was the perfect enemies to fake friends to friends to lovers book I didn’t know I needed in my life. The meet cute disaster! The bickering and the banter! The romance! Alex's bisexual awakening was written in this perfectly believable way that made my heart ache in all the best ways. I also couldn't stop grinning like a fool at all of Alex's Oh Shit! moments and at how adorable the romance between Alex and Henry was. It was extremely gratifying seeing how they brought out the best in each other and how they let in the people around them.

Let's talk about the friendship and family dynamics and how perfect they were. I absolutely adored June, Nora, Bea, and Pez! The total support that they gave to Alex and Henry made my heart ache and tear up in places. I love seeing positive sibling relationships in books and the ones in this one were perfect! June and Alex! Henry and Bea! I loved it so much! I also loved Alex and Nora's friendship! It's always so refreshing to read about an opposite gender friendship that doesn't turn into the romance. I am low-key obsessed with all the relationships in this book. I loved Alex's parents and his relationship with them. Also, his relationship with Zahra was so great!

Also, can we talk about how amazingly diverse this book is? I loved how extremely and truly diverse the entire cast was, in so many meaningful ways. It has a biracial (half-Mexican, half-White) and bisexual main character with a diverse cast with both racial and sexual representation across the board. This book is everything I want to see more of in books. I'm always saying that I want to see more of my favorite and slightly overdone tropes made queer. This book embodies all of those wants and it is a great example at just how good a queer remaking of our favorite tropes can be. 

Reading this book was like reading a romcom movie and I can't get the thought out of my head about how much I want this book to be made into a movie. I loved that the film options have sold and I want it to be made so badly! I feel like it would be one of those movies I would gladly watch a million times. It would have all the best beats and tropes of a romantic comedy. So yeah, I loved this book a lot a lot. Is one book too early to make Casey McQuiston an autobuy author? Because I’m pretty sure she’s just officially made my auto-buy list with this book.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

  5 / 5 Stars

Book 16- LGBT Lane- Read a NA LGBT Romance

Read to complete the New-to-You Author Challenge for the Romanceopolyathon.

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