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Red, White & Royal Blue

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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.

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. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

423 pages, Paperback

First published May 14, 2019

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About the author

Casey McQuiston is a New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies and a pie entusiast. She writes stories about smart people with bad manners falling in love. Born and raised in southern Louisiana, she now lives in New York City with her poodle mix/personal assistant, Pepper.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 104,432 reviews
Profile Image for emma.
1,869 reviews54.7k followers
February 4, 2021
I am a soulless void.

I have definitely said this before, but I don’t know if you’ve really HEARD me. And they say actions speak louder than words, so here I am.

Taking this book, which everyone has hailed as pure joy / cookie-level sweetness / the greatest romance of our generation even though it’s fictional / overall so happiness-bringing it seems like it should be relegated to black market dealings…

Rereading it...and dropping a three point five rating (already gives a Scrooge-like aura of grumpiness) to...two point five. (DON’T HURT ME.)

And generally being so discombobulated and displeased that I have to write a whole new review.

(If you know anything about me, you know I am too lazy to write multiple reviews of one book unless the circumstances are truly life-ending-ly dire. That’s where we’re at.)

This just. Did not do it for me.

Let’s talk about why, in bullet points, so as to hopefully limit my wordiness and therefore limit how mad at me you guys will be (please don’t yell at me I am already heartless and depressed):

- THE ROMANCE: First time I read this, I felt like the human equivalent of a waffle. Sweet and fluffy and, uh, delicious. (I didn’t have a third one.) This time, the plot (which is just romance) never grabbed my attention, and the cheesy love story...grated. (Get it? Because cheese? Come on, now you can’t yell at me. That was too good.)

- THE SMUT: Okay, I’ll admit this is personal preference. I don’t like when there’s too much smut in a book. That’s a me problem, however, and usually I will remedy it by just not reading it. However if I had skipped all explicit scenes in this book, I would only have a pamphlet trying to get me to join the fictional perfect glorified Democratic Party in my hands. (But more on that later.) Anyway, a romance that is 99% either sexting or sex is not convincing or fun for me. Sorry.

- THE CHARACTERS: I love Bex or Bea (I think it’s Bea), and I love Henry’s friend whose name I can’t remember (is it Pez? Or is that just a candy), I love June and Nora so much I would marry them, and also remember their names, which is apparently high praise for me. Henry and Alex, however...I hate very much. They are annoying. Alex is obnoxious and made me feel like either a) a person with a hangover yelling at the still-drunk people to shut up or b) a grumpy old man telling snot-nosed children from the 1950s to get out of his yard. Henry is just boring.

- THE POLITICS: This is, by far, the WORST thing about this book. It’s what got my first read to drop from presumably 5 to 3.5. Single-handedly. And it’s even more gruesome the second time. This is the most idealized, grotesque, good-versus-evil look at politics I have EVER SEEN. In this book, the Democrats are a rainbow-wearing gloriously diverse coalition of kumbaya-singing angels, and everyone else is a villain we won’t talk about. Democrats are 100% motivated purely by the love of Doing The Right Thing, and they have never done anything wrong, ever, in their lives. The American people love them implicitly and will turn historically red states blue just to show them that.

It’s not only sickening, it’s damaging. DO NOT IDEALIZE POLITICIANS. THEY ARE NOT CELEBRITIES. Don’t you think I want to get EMMA + AOC tattooed on my lower back? I do. But I won’t because she is a person who is driven to power, and all of those people have flaws.

In the interest of full transparency, I am a leftist, so I by definition think the Democrats are a little better than the Republicans. But I mostly think that glorifying parties is f*cked up and wrong, and results in things like sainting Pelosi and falling in love with Fauci and generally being unable to hold people accountable for doing their job (which is representing you), and therefore results in corruption and useless politicians and the end of the world.

Dramatic enough for a stopping point?

Bottom line: Before you guys start yelling at me, can anyone refer me to a good dentist? I got a cavity in every tooth from how saccharine this book is.

reread pre-review

rounding this rating down because the overall political fanfiction vibe is a lot harder to ignore on round 2.

potential updated review to come / was 3.5 stars, might be 3 now

reread updates

starting the year as i mean to go on: buddy reading with lily

original review


This made me...blush? And I famously cannot blush. One time my high school English teacher overheard me saying I didn’t do the assigned reading and he called me out in front of the whole class, and I, like a tiny badass (pretending my heart wasn’t pounding and I wasn’t more nervous than I’ve ever been), was like “Yeah, I’m not trying to hide anything. I didn’t do the reading.” And he, taken aback, went, “...You’re not even blushing.”

So, to recap: me, a school-obsessed profoundly shy 15-year-old being called out in front of all her very cool peers by her scary old man teacher = no blushing.

The sheer adorableness of this book = Blush City, population me.


This book has:
- amazing banter
- the best side characters
- fantastic friendships
- so much humor (I laughed! At a book! When does that HAPPEN!)
- tons of angst (actually too much angst sometimes - I got a little tired of this book towards the end)
- a great meet cute (except not actually a meeting. A re-meet-cute? Can I coin a term?)
- the best idea for a forbidden / enemies-to-lovers romance EVER!!! No exaggeration.

So, in short, Casey McQuiston is, after just one book, a complete auto-buy author for me.


This was not a perfect book. And in truth it made me cringe many times.

Like, yes, on the one hand everyone is right and this is the cutest, fluffiest, most fun read of all time.

On the other hand...I do not want my politics to be cute-fluffy-fun. I do not want them to be revisionist history where the current administration is absurdly well motivated and diverse and perfect and there is no corruption or back-hallway negotiation at all. It’s not realistic and to be honest, it makes me cringe.

If I wanted an idealized-to-the-point-of-unbelievability fictional American president, I’d watch the West Wing and ignore the bigoted parts.

I also think the scene with the Queen of England was Cringe Central. Again, not realistic, just completely good politics versus completely bad politics depending on which better serves the plot.

This just felt...very juvenile. And I’m not saying that romance novels need to have the best ever take on politics. I’m not even saying that I was reading this book FOR the politics.

All I’m saying is...I care about politics and seeing it idealized and completely unrealistic took me out of the story??

(Can I say the word politics more.)

Anyway. Even that was not enough to take away from this book so much for it to be a negative rating or an unenjoyable read.

But...it was a takeaway. (SORRY.)

Bottom line: Casey McQuiston give me your next book immediately please, and also thank you for not writing it about politics. (OKAY I’M DONE USING THE WORD POLITICS NOW.)

original pre-review

nothing but respect for MY (alternate reality where the fictional president from this book is the actual) president

review to come / 3.5 stars

tbr review

i'm a simple girl. i see a bajillion five star reviews of a contemporary, i read that contemporary
Profile Image for Angelica.
814 reviews1,154 followers
August 22, 2023
me, awkwardly watching all the raving reviews for this book and being scared to give my pretty negative, highly unpopular yet ultimately very honest opinion:

Ok, so please don't hate me, I'm fragile.

But also, in all seriousness, I didn't like this book. I know, I know, how dare I?

Well, let me explain to you in detail just how I dare. Beware of the long review!

A few months ago, everyone was getting ARCs for this book and absolutely everyone was loving it and giving it five stars. Obviously, I was pretty hyped up for this one, as you can imagine. I knew I had to read it, and I knew, just knew, that I was going to love the crap out of it! It was looking to be one of my favorites of 2019!

Except, that's not really how it all went down.

I mean, don't get me wrong! It didn't absolutely suck, nor was it the worst book I've ever read. It was nice. It had its cute moments. I actually laughed at some parts. I just wanted more. I wanted a cuteness overload. I wanted to fall head over heels into this story, I wanted to love these charcters, I wanted this to be a five-star read!

It wasn't. Obviously.

I've been reading a bucket load of contemporary romances lately and it's all in the hope that I'll find something to make this cold little heart of mine melt! I want something akin to The Hating Game, a book that killed me, revived me, and killed me again, twice over because that's how many times I read it in the span of 24 hours.

But, alas, my search for such a book has proven futile as no other contemporary romance will do. And I'm so, very sorry to say, but Red, White & Royal Blue didn't even come close.

Now to the review!

Maybe this book is heavily overhyped or maybe I'm just a miserable, heartless girl. Both are possible, but either way, I had a lot of problems with this book and I'm not gonna pretend otherwise.

No, there is no one thing that makes me think the book sucks. There is no one major flaw that I can point out and blame for my rating. If anything, my issues are a series of small things that will surely be overlooked, or even praised by the masses when the book is released.

For starters, this book felt to me like it was trying way too hard at times.

If this book were PG it would undoubtedly be turned into a Disney Channel movie, down to the unrealistically happy ending where we all pretend the world is made of rainbows, cotton candy, and unicorn farts.

And, honestly, I wouldn't necessarily mind that. I love happy endings. If the book had been only about romance, it would have been fine. But, the book insisted on shoving politics down my throat and the overidealized ending seemed forced, disingenuous, and so utterly predictable! It also felt like the author was trying to force a political view on us.

The world the book shows is what ours would look like through rose-colored glasses. It's a world where the female president of the United States is a white, Texan democrat. Where leaked personal emails have no impact on presidential elections. Where a royal prince believes empires are the literal devil, despite benefiting from the monarchy in every single way possible. Where First Son of the U.S. and the British Prince would go everywhere without anyone taking a picture and being surrounded by a million bodyguards. Also, their affair wouldn't have any global consequences that would impact international relationships not just between the U.S. and the U.K, but with every other country as well.

It's also a world where people who don't buy into this PC world are demonized for their beliefs. Where if you aren't on board with the particular brand of politics that the author is selling, then you might as well be the devil incarnate.

In the end, there are no consequences to anything. It made all the obstacles between the romance seem weak and insubstantial. The author put so much focus on the laughable politics that I couldn't help but roll my eyes. She tried to tackle racism, international relationships, homophobia, complicated family drama, equality, imperialism, and just about every other social issue currently being talked about, all while also trying to deliver a good romance.

And it didn't work!

The politics in this book seemed so forced! And so unnecessary. They made the book drag on for ages. Seriously though, there was no need for this book to end up being 432 pages long! That's just uncalled for.

So yes, maybe I am heartless. I'm willing to accept that now.

Those things I mentioned are ones that a lot of people are undoubtedly gonna find cute. People are gonna argue that 'the book doesn't have to be realistic!' and I agree. It's just so insanely unbelievable and so politically forced that I could help but be incredibly annoyed by it.

Sorry. But also, I'm not sorry.

This was supposed to be a cute, romance about two adorable gay boys falling in love! Not a book about idealized political views. If it had been only a romance novel, I would have liked it more, although honestly, not by much.

I liked some of the dialogue. I laughed sometimes. It was cute. But sometimes the characters felt off to me. Like they were trying so hard to be relatable and likable that they broke their established characteristics. Also, the very premise of the book is enemies to lovers and it’s not really even that

In the end, this book just wasn't for me, I think. Many of you will love it. I'm sure of it. I just couldn't love it how I wanted. There were too many subplots, too many social issues trying to become part of the main story. I think a book that did this better was The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue. And not to be that person that compares all the gay books, but I think that one was better at weaving everything in there in ways relevant to the plot and showing realistic consequences of the character's choices.

I went into this book expecting one thing. I got something else instead, and in the end, I think that's the real problem. If I'm honest, all the issue I mentioned are things that in a book I enjoyed, I might have overlooked. Sadly, this wasn't that book. Hopefully, you all have better luck with it and please be respectful of my opinion. My issue with the book has nothing to do with the LGBTQ+ aspect, it has to do with the overall execution.

Also, just a warning, this book is NOT, Young Adult. It contains explicit sexual content!

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Madison.
652 reviews364 followers
July 13, 2020
I recieved this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book is going to avoid rightful criticism because it’s a “fun, fluffy” romance novel and “isn’t supposed to be that serious.” There’s no denying that a lighthearted story about two men falling in love is sorely missing on mainstream shelves, but we need to ask ourselves why this is the book that got picked for the “Nicholas Sparks treatment”--the $16.99 retail price, the mainstream publisher, all of the things most modern romance novels don’t get, particularly ones with LGBTQ characters. I mean, seriously, can you think of one contemporary author outside of YA who has gotten famous writing LGBTQ romance novels? What about fiction in general? I know, me neither. It’s depressing as hell. So why this book? It’s not because it’s actually good. That much is for damn sure.
I have a theory. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Red, White, and Royal Blue follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, a Mexican-American kid whose mom was elected president in 2016. We’re supposed to conceive of this book as a sort of gay Chasing Liberty meets Parks and Recreation: a heartfelt, optimistic, unfailingly patriotic romp where the stars are, yeah, two hot dudes, but they’re carried on the broad, benevolent shoulders of Lady Liberty.
President Ellen Claremont is a white, Southern, centrist Democrat--because, sure, this is an alternate universe, but let’s not go wild--with two children, wannabe journalist June and politics-obsessed Alex. Alex’s arch nemesis for about 5 percent of the book is Prince Henry of Wales, and then he’s his secret boyfriend for the next 90 percent. At the end, they’re outed by Ellen’s political rival, which results in him soundly losing the election against her and turning Texas blue.
CM writes in the acknowledgements that this book started as a fun project and, after the course of the actual 2016 election, became a sort of therapeutic, wish-fulfilling exercise. I get that; I wrote fanfiction about Pete Wentz being my boyfriend in the 6th grade, so why not a President!Hillary AU? I don’t begrudge her that. My issue is that someone else picked up this book and thought it was a good idea to publish it.
There are so many little things that make this book bad: the fact that Alex and Henry are “arch rivals” for literally about ten pages until they’re kissing, and then there’s no plot for a hundred pages; this whole minor plotline where the First Family gets caught with a private email server that reads like a smug joke (“maybe this would matter in some OTHER America, but not this one!”); Alex wearing a red white and blue Gucci bomber jacket instead of a suit as if it’s some world-ending transgression; when the First Family and two of the royal siblings go to a gay bar in West Hollywood and no other patrons post any photos or sell any quotes to gossip magazines...I could honestly go on forever. These are the stupid things we’re not supposed to criticize because this is a “fun” book, so I won’t.
How about instead, we talk about when Henry says “I’d rather be waterboarded...Your country could probably arrange that,” and we’re supposed to see that as a cute zinger. Or when Ellen says “My UN ambassador...said something idiotic about Israel, so now I have to call Netanyahu and personally apologize.” And then we move on to pizza and beer. The problem with this book isn’t just that it’s overly precious and poorly paced; the problem is that it is trying to be both Veep and House of Cards. It exists in a world where we are to believe that a prince “refusing the crown’s money” (as if he isn’t steeped in it, as if he doesn’t benefit from it every minute he’s alive) is somehow the apex of morality. It exists in an America where email servers don’t matter in an election. It exists in a Britain where a prince would say “One does not foster a lifelong love of Star Wars without knowing an ‘empire’ isn’t a good thing.” These cutesy one-liners and feel-good plotlines do nothing to contend with the imperial violence they’re hinting at, violence from which Alex and Henry both benefit. Okay, so Ellen chats with Netanyahu and June wants to be bffs with Ronan Farrow. Following these fun details to their logical conclusion, I can only assume that Ellen orders drone strikes in the Middle East and Henry’s grandmother is a violent racist. If I were supposed to be having a good time reading, that notion would certainly jerk me out of it quickly. The point this book misses is that it doesn’t matter how liberal the President is—the system is still a gruesome, ever-grinding machine. This book isn’t absolved from that reality, not when it makes glib references to war criminals and WikiLeaks.
If this book had leaned harder into its Disney Channel inclinations, this would be a much different review. My Date With the President’s Daughter and What a Girl Wants and The Princess Diaries, all members of the canon to which this book belongs, were successful (to varying degrees) because the idea of the President or the Queen were distant, hazy fantasies rather than political and imperial figures. If Will Friedle had leveraged his relationship with President Richmond’s daughter to pass stricter gun legislation, the movie would have approximated the tone of this book. It’s a jarring, unwieldy juxtaposition.
Even if we leave all of the politics out of it, there isn’t much to redeem here. The sex scenes are jarring; in a break with modern romance conventions, CM describes the undressing and kissing in vivid, pages-long detail, then quickly skirts past sex. It reads like Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson fanfiction written by someone who gets all of the angst but none of the mechanics. And this brings us to my theory: why this goddamn book?
Others have described this phenomenon in more depth--these thoughts aren’t mine alone. And I want to note before we get into it that I know CM isn’t straight. But when we look at who gets famous writing about young men falling in love with one another, we’re certainly not looking at a room full of men. By and large, the people who write this stuff are, as far as the publishing world and audiences at large perceive them, white women writing for a white woman audience. Regardless of their intentions and the complexities of their personal identities, that’s the lens through which their books are marketed and purchased. Publishers see the success of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and they want more of the same--big on the pining and handsome young guys, light on the details of men having sex with each other. This book isn’t coming out because it’s a beautiful tale of gay love despite challenging circumstances. It’s coming out because some suits saw dollar signs.
So, let’s review: this book is painfully unaware of how painfully unaware it is; it’s an ice cream truck driving through an apocalyptic wasteland. Sure, ice cream rules, but are we just gonna ignore how utterly useless it is in the current landscape? And isn’t it a little offensive that it’s blaring “God Bless America”as it goes? Shouldn’t we feel a little miffed that someone thought to send us ice cream when we really need a damn life raft? There are many ways this book could have been a hell of a lot worse, but it’s not the story you deserve.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
322 reviews156k followers
August 11, 2022
Ah, yes, the one trope that sings to me the most: rivals to “if we never have to be in the same vicinity as each other, it'll be too soon” to “ugh we're forced to work together to save our countries' reputations but this doesn't change anything I still very much cannot stand you” to “wait, you're actually kind of a decent person and we get along really well, I might have judged you too harshly but don't read too much into it” to “oh god I think I might actually like you but THIS DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING” to “goddammit I will literally fistfight the moon for you and kill anyone who dares lay a finger on you I am so screwed” to lovers. An undefeated arc.

Alex Claremont-Diaz, the Mexican-American first son of the United States, tolerates Henry, the Prince of England, to about the same degree that Henry tolerates him, which is not at all. When one of their verbal sparring matches ends in a “cataclysmically, internationally, terrible way”, Alex and Henry have no choice but to play nice with each other. Of course, building a friendship with your sworn nemesis is never easy; doing it out of a grudging sense of obligation is virtually impossible. Only, neither Alex nor Henry are prepared for when it all ceases to be pretend. There is no pretending away the momentous thing tentatively taking shape between them. How with every traded truth, every phone call at an ungodly hour in the morning, every stolen fugitive moment in a hotel room, they've slowly, inexorably worn at the shells surrounding each other's hearts. And with every crack, it is harder to deny this thing blazing between them. Yet, all the same, reality threatens to shatter it all.

“Do you feel forever about him?” And there’s no room left to agonize over it, nothing left to do but say the thing he is known all along. “Yeah,” he says, “I do.”

Is it possible for your whole body to grin? Because that's what reading this novel felt like. Red, White & Royal Blue is a beautiful story of romance that pulled a smile from a new place in me where so much joy had been waiting in reserve. I read it in one single, feverish setting, drawing out the last 50 pages or so, absolutely unable—unwilling—to let this book go. The novel’s warm heart leaped out to my cold one, and I held on like someone who suspected it all of being a dream that is about to end and leave them falling.

Yes, the rumors are true, folks: I am a hopeless romantic. What else to call it—this aching loging for someone to feel for me some glimmer of what Henry and Alex feel for each other? To find that one person who has so much tenderness for you, whom you can talk to and emerge each time a bit less uncertain, a bit more yourself, the one person who will help you lay out the indistinct chaos of your life, so there’d be less of a tangle in your heart? Just the sheer joy of simply knowing another.

When Alex was a kid, before anyone knew his name, he dreamed of love like it was a fairy tale, as if it would come sweeping into his life on the back of a dragon one day. When he got older, he learned about love as a strange thing that could fall apart no matter how badly you wanted it, a choice you make anyway. He never imagined it’d turn out he was right both times.

There’s such a flood of love spooling out between Henry and Alex, tender and joyful and pure. I love how Alex glides into love unaware, too terrified to put a name to the immensity of his feelings, to make it definite and thus inescapable. Then, he plummeted, and it was unmistakable. And all the while, Henry was there, with a lit cinder of hope in his words, and the calm resignation to the inevitable of people aching with the yearning to be loved back.

Though the fiercely kindled core of the story is the burgeoning connection between Henry and Alex, each of the characters does a lot of growing, individually, throughout the novel. Red, White & Royal Blue is a story lit up like a beacon for those of us still struggling against the confines of family and legacy and creating a life all your own. It is a story of hope; hope that in a world wrecked by tragedy, where goodness seems so vanishingly rare, it is still worth it to care, to dream, to believe that with earnest work and effort, the sands of the world would, grain by grain, shine bright once again.

“Take anything you want and know you deserve to have it.”

I also really love how the author handles, with such care and sensitivity and compassion, the bisexual awakening of a character who only comes to realise, accept and embraces his bisexuality in his twenties. Learning the facets of one's gender and sexuality is a journey with no definite beginning or end point. The myth of "coming out" too early or too late is just that: a myth. And I appreciate the author for adding their voice to the growing number of queer literature shattering the glass cannons of such received notions.

Red, White & Royal Blue also succeeds with brilliance and verve in addressing issues about racism, gender, responsibility, and ethics. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the cheeky undercurrent flowing through the novel—the arched eyebrow, the bold and confiding voice. It was all so glorious. As glorious at the fact that this book, at its heart, is a joyful celebration of the people who work so hard to carve out a place for themselves in a world that gives them freely to everyone else—those who are told that their dreams do not match where they came from and would therefore never be realized, those who love and believe in spite of odium and condemnation.

Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.

This is genuinely one of the best romance novels that I’ve ever read. I know I keep saying love is fake, but reading this book melted my cold dead heart and I’m a believer again. and though I have always been incapable of choosing a "favorite book," I know now that if I had to be stuck on a desert island, with only one book to bring with me, it would most likely be this one.
Profile Image for Kiki.
197 reviews8,525 followers
August 20, 2020
Not for me. That’s an understatement.

I get that a lot of people loved this, and I can see why. It has its charms and I’m sure that, for a lot of people, it was a fun escape. I can respect that. But I am clearly not the intended audience for this. It’s a diatribe of smug, naive American exceptionalism against a stereotyped, sterilised, Anglocentric image of the UK that masquerades as anti-monarchist but ultimately worships the royal family as an institution. The author clearly knows nothing about how the UK works (“Prime Minister of England”) or about its culture (people in the streets waving “the Union Jack” and Alex wanting to "scream at this stupid country" while he's standing in the middle of a fucking NHS hospital ward) yet this book presents itself as some kind of authority on contemporary issues. Our supposedly woke prince makes a tasteless joke about waterboarding and fawns over famed coloniser James I while no actual current issues are touched upon in any substantial way. It only chews and chews on stupid irrelevant quips about the monarchy’s bloody history, as if the UK is trapped in some kind of time slip preventing it from progressing beyond the 17th century - as if anyone here could possibly give a white-hot daily shite about some dead king while there are actual real things happening.

What real things? Brexit, maybe, or poor and injured people dying on Universal Credit, or Scottish separatism, or the revolving door at parliament, or the Grenfell Tower atrocity, or systemic transphobia, or rising anti-immigrant sentiment, or Trident, or cackling Tories looking to peddle the NHS for a fast quid, or the verging extinction of multiple native species of wildlife. To boot, it touts the crown as some kind of political body, which it isn’t (simultaneously ignoring the fact that the monarch is actually a religious leader as supreme governor of the Church of England). This book wants to be patted on the back for being “current” without actually knowing anything about anything. I can't believe I bought this (with my CONTACTLESS Visa card, no less!).

Similarly, the main character is a rude, judgemental, insufferable arsehole and the narrative tickles him under the chin for it. He is not only ignorant but also outwardly cruel, all of his “humour” being at the expense of others and usually behind their backs. His claim about wanting to make the world a better place made me laugh out loud.

The central relationship had some cute moments but was highly unrealistic and dysfunctional. Let me tell you something: a person who invites you into their bed, in your most vulnerable state, and then proceeds to say things like “fuck you, you’re insufferable, you’re the worst, I hate you, you’re a bastard” is not worth your time. It’s disrespectful and for me personally it was very uncomfortable to read.

The “good vs. evil” dichotomy of American politics, particularly the glorification of two-party politics, also left a horrible taste in my mouth. I am not against heavy critiques of reprehensible Republican policies - far, far from it - but ignoring the historical corruption also present amongst the Democratic party and presenting them as some kind of untouchable, perfectly woke force for good is utterly disingenuous. If you’re going to talk about politics, at least do it honestly. I'm never ever going to be interested in narratives of good vs. evil, and in this political climate, especially when you're barging into foreign politics and using the names and brands of real political parties, this "rose-tinted" outlook is totally unhelpful and foolish. To put the cherry on the top, there is a lot of shallow talk about how terrible empire is as a concept (fair enough, and absolutely true) but with no self awareness whatsoever. The fact that America also has an empire is quickly handwaved. Apparently crimes against humanity are only bad when other people do them.

Aside from all of this, there are some fun moments, but only if you have a high tolerance for cheesiness. The writing is mostly serviceable, but there are also sentences like this: “They grew up made to talk about their feelings a lot”. Jesus christ.

It’s a no from me.
June 5, 2020

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DNF @ 30% 

Hey, did you know that this book is actually a love triangle? It's not just a love story between Alex and Henry. It's a love story between Alex and Henry and everyone on Tumblr. I have not read a book that wallows in its own sense of self-importance since, well, ever. This book won a Goodreads Choice Award. I had assumed it would be good because of that. But then again, SJM books also win GCAs and we know how I feel about those.

RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE (where's the Oxford comma? I hate this book already) is a romance between the son of POTUS and the son of the royal family. If you would think that means serious political issues are going to be discussed-- HA! Think again. Instead it's falling into $75,000 wedding cakes and trading pop culture references about Harry Potter and Star Wars.

RW&RB is a book that wants to let you know it's really, really hip. All of these references are going to mean nothing in ten years, but right now everyone is just nodding their heads and saying, "Yes, so topical!" When really, it's about as topical as a hemorrhoid cream. It reads like fanfic. I wouldn't be surprised if this started out as fanfic, but even if it didn't, it has that vibe. That vaguely fetishistic vibe that some books about gay men have that really bothers me, because it feels like they rely on stereotypes and head cannons and less about creating actual, realistic characters who are having an actual, realistic romance.

Henry and Alex are both SO IMMATURE. They have zero common sense, zero social savvy. Considering that they're both children of major heads of state, you would think that there would actually be some intelligence and grace somewhere in there, but no. Their "charm" consists of sarcastic grade school insults that we're supposed to believe is witty banter, and we're supposed to relate to them because they watch TV shows and read books that appeal to the 18-39 demographic, eat ice creams in the middle of the night, and use emojis! OMG THIS CHARACTER IS SO ME, A MILLENNIAL, AGE 18-39! I FEEL SEEN!

The female characters in this book, as others have pointed out, are all interchangeable. They are all basically stand-ins for the female audience, fawning over these two male characters, SHIPPING THEM SO HARD, and basically acting as the soulless Karen pod people they are, who all evolved from a single spore that bloomed out of a Harry/Draco fic on FF.net circa 2004.

I. Hated. This. Book.

I hate being pandered to, and I hate books that masquerade as intellectual and witty when they are, in fact, rather dull and unexceptional. If you want to read a good m-m romance that explores politics and fame while also being a provoking and incredibly romantic love story, read THE GRAVITY OF US (it's #ownvoices!). If you want to read vaguely fanficcy trash that at least doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is (i.e. vaguely fanficcy trash), read THE CAPTIVE PRINCE (warning: triggers abound). But if you want to read the "I'm vegan because I read the title of an article about free radicals in People magazine, and get all of my news from BuzzFeed articles and The Young Turks" version of an m-m love story, by all means, pick this up. #Bye

1 star
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,313 reviews44.1k followers
August 14, 2023
Make some noise for the winner of best romance and debut novel categories! Alex and Henry, you’re so adorable and I enjoyed every word about this amazing couple’s poignant, unique, memorable love story!!!


My three S letter words summarize my feelings about this book: SPECTACULAR, SPLENDID, SPECIAL!

No need to attend an auction! I’m shaken, I’m smiling, my feelings are everywhere and my mind already flew to the moon! It’s another five gazillion stars and I think so far, one of my best romance readings of 2019!

I cried my eyes out and exceeded my sighing record with 428 sighs! At least 200 times I hit my forehead for waiting too long to read this powerful, emotional, lovely story.

I loved challenging, poignant, sincere story-telling and of course the characterization is so good than I expected. I don’t know which hero I loved the most. But I think Alex stole my heart from the first pages.

Let’s meet with our lovely heroes:

Alex Claremont Diaz, Filipino-American first son of the US (Amen to that!) and Henry the Prince of the United Kingdom. At first they barely tolerate each other, exchanging a few ugly words and then they realize they’re acting immature because they created a real PR fiasco at the royal wedding. So they need to form a fake friendship ASAP for the sake of political balances between the countries. And of course as you can imagine, their pretending relationship turned into something special, something even melting the heart of the cruelest bitch (a.k.a : me! Even you’re not human, coming from an outer planet, you still feel deeply for this beautiful couple and shed some tears!!!)

What I like about this book: This is not only an amazing, heartbreaking and tear jerker romance between Alex and Henry, there are amazing supporting characters you could easily relate with them. It is impossible to want to cuddle Nora and not admire her so much. And we shouldn’t forget Bea, Pez and June.

This book is about siblings, family dynamics, bounding devoted friendship, diversity, freedom of thought, diaspora politics, searching for your true identity and path in your life. It’s effective, poignant, heartbreaking, compelling, genuine and honest!

It’s about two boys in twenties, discovering their expectations from the life, love and doing something best for the benefits of their own countries which is a quiet burden for their unique, flawless, real relationship because we live in a word full of stereotyped, judgmental thoughts affect to express our real opinions, honest thoughts.

Especially Alex’s great struggle for expressing himself, finding his place in the world as a pansexual young man, coming from immigrated Filipino family is the most meaningful, effective and crucial part of the book which hurt my heart deeply.

Well done Casey McQuiston! The author honestly knows how to create a soul brushing, heart stealing harmony! It was fantastic debut journey! Cannot wait to read more from the author’s work!
Profile Image for Judith.
724 reviews2,663 followers
May 17, 2019
DNF @ 53%

Stand back with the pitchforks.

The award for the most over hyped,biggest book disappointment of the year,so far,goes to this book.

Firstly,let's address the fact that this book had over 2000 ratings/reviews before it was made available to buy.What on earth is all that about? Surely that many review copies weren't available? BUT, it certainly worked....I've never been so interested in reading something.I mean I've lost count of this appearing on my feed with so many glowing reviews .And that's ok,each to their own.We all have different tastes but when a book gets such positively you'd be forgiven for expecting something pretty damn special,wouldn't you?

For me,this book isn't anything special at all.It's mediocre.

-the characters are flat,uninspired,and quite frankly boring.Alex at least had something about him but Henry was like a cardboard cut out.

-the writing was all over the place and juvenile at times.The story jumped from scene to scene with no flow to the story.I lost count of how many times I had to go back and read certain scenes.

-the British stereotyping just annoyed me.It was like the Author googled 'all things British' and decided to include them regardless of whether they worked.Granted,if you aren't British this probably wouldn't be an issue.But I am.And it was.

-the sex scenes,

Firstly let me say I don't always need graphic sex scenes,in fact some of the best romance books I've read haven't had many at all.But what on earth happened here.They would start off with lots of kissing,hands in hair,a bit of desperation and then nothing.Literally.It was over and you were kind of told they'd had sex.Most of the time I had no idea what they'd actually been up to.And,as a result,I felt zero connection or chemistry between them.I didn't get them as lovers at all.They just came across as best friends for me.

-I know it's fiction but it's got to be believable.And this wasn't.I mean these two would float about in restaurants,stay in hotels where no one recognized them! This would absolutely not happen with a member of the royal family or with the FSOTUS I'm guessing Where were the bodyguards or paparazzi?

-enemies to lovers? No it wasn't.They disliked each other for ridiculous reasons quite frankly.

-a lot of people have mentioned the politics....thankfully I gave up before that got too bad.
Profile Image for Jack Edwards.
Author 1 book205k followers
April 17, 2021
This is a sweet, wholesome, and uplifting story which would be perfect for getting you out of a reading slump. I thought that the author captured characters in their early 20s really authentically, something a lot of authors struggle to do accurately. I’d heartily recommend this to anyone looking for something really positive and empowering, and I read the whole thing in 24 hours because it was very heartwarming.

However, I also think it’s a very idealistic book, which wouldn’t really be a problem if the plot didn’t revolve around political figures. Members of the royal family being vehemently anti-colonial was a bit of a stretch, and seemed like a strange thing to include. The whole tension of the story relies on risks and fear of repercussions, but there are literally never any negative consequences to anything. Events that would cause international crises are treated as minor inconveniences, a bit too instantly resolved. I think this does a disservice to the real struggles and trauma so many people around the world endure, especially those who don’t have the immense privilege of the main characters. While it’s cool to read about a beautifully liberal world (I wish it was really like this!), it felt a little forced because the book tried to tackle literally every single social injustice it could.

Basically, I’m torn between thinking it was really awesome to see so much representation and enjoying the love story, whilst also simultaneously feeling that it was quite predictable because nothing ever really goes wrong for very long. However, definitely read this if you want a pick-me-up and a bit of hope in this strange time.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
March 16, 2021

New week, New BookTube Video - all about the best (and worst) literary couples
The Written Review

The Blow-by-Blow Reactions

~ picks up book ~

Oh? This looks cute...

~ 20 pages later ~

F*CK. I'll die for this ship.

~ Last pages ~

No book will ever be the same.

~ p.s. ~

Am I the only one who picked up on the audiobook'scconstant mispronunciation of David Bowie's name??

It's Boh-wie, not Bah-wie. Evidence.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Colleen Hoover.
Author 76 books679k followers
June 18, 2019
I'm on a cruise right now. I saw a few people talking about this book before I left for vacation, so I downloaded it. I finished it by the second day on my cruise. I ignored everyone. I didn't even go to trivia because I was enjoying this book so much. I wanted to write a review for it when I finished it last week, but I only get internet when we're docked and the internet on this ship is .99 a minute. And to make matters worse, it's slooooow, so it takes a good fifteen minutes just to get Goodreads to upload. But I felt bad not writing a review because I think this book is important and it needs to be read, and it's also cute and hot and funny, kinda like our cruise director, but that's for another day.
All in all, this book cost me a few dollars to buy, but this review cost me about $20 to leave, so someone start a GoFundMe please, kthxbye. #WorthIt
Profile Image for Chelsea (chelseadolling reads).
1,479 reviews19.5k followers
November 16, 2020
Re-read 11/9/20: This book makes me so, so happy.

Re-read 5/24/19: *cries in gay* Alex & Henry forever and ever (and ever and ever and ever).

Original read 2/21/19: It may only be February but I’m calling it now: this will be my #1 favorite book of the year. Possibly even of all time???? This is all I’ve ever wanted in a QUEER AS FUCK romance and my heart is soaring. Alex & Henry are the OTP of my dreams and I will never, ever be over them. Casey McQuiston is a national treasure and needs to be protected at all costs bc I want to read their queer romances for the rest of my life. God fucking bless America. Also: I would DIE for Nora
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,072 reviews51.5k followers
August 9, 2023
it was gay & i am in love

i read this for the first time in 2019 and it still hits so hard in 2023. it's funny, it's deeply romantic, and it's a bit of a love letter to my home state which makes me soft. texas is not the place that the rest of the US wants you to believe it is, and when alex goes on a rant about it... it felt validating. and then the end? with the descriptions of my city and the beauty of an alternate reality where trump didn't win? stunning. truly.

i am ready to make the movie my entire personality in 2 days.
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
June 16, 2019
if this book doesn't receive the same epic treatment as Crazy Rich Asians I'm going to sue Hollywood
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
December 29, 2022
”He wants to set himself on fire, but he can’t afford for anyone to see him burn.”

First of all: If you want to read my full and uncensored review with all the quotes and my personal trademark rambling you can do it here! And now to the considerably shortened goodreads review! (word limits *shakes head*)

This sentence, this book, the topics that are tackled, the honest and blunt way they are dealt with and approached?! This was everything!!! I love this book so much, I can’t even put it into words. <333 Well, I loved it and some little, tiny, infinitesimal part of me might haven even hated it for being so perfect! Because the way subjects are approached in here? Gods, I wish everyone would be as open minded as the characters in this book.

That sentence at the beginning of my review? It hit close to home, it pains me to read it, yet I still love the fact that Casey McQuiston wrote it down on paper! That she had the guts to give this particular kind of feeling her own voice and words. How many people who are forced to be in the closet have felt like that? How many children were afraid to come out to their parents? How many still didn’t do it and never will, because they know exactly what their parents might say? How they will react… How many of us have felt alone and were weighted down by the truth?

This book, this supposedly romantic comedy, it touched me in a way books rarely do. It ripped out my heart, it made me laugh, it stomped all over my feelings, it smacked me across the face, it forced me to confront me with myself and it gave me something I didn’t even know I was missing: It gave me hope.

Hope that there is a better world out there.
Hope that one day people will accept others the way they are.
Hope that people can change.
Hope that we’re all equal and that our actions count more than our outward appearance.
Hope that our future in this world is worth fighting for.

So if you decide to read this book, enjoy it! Laugh and cry, appreciate the politics and scheming, adore Henry and Alex for being the way they are, fall in love, enjoy their freedom and youth, but most of all find yourself in those pages and try to keep this feeling even after you closed the book. ;-)

The characters:

Do I even have to mention that you’ll be spoiled into oblivion if you dare to cross this line?! *lol* This is my characters section and I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t gush like a crazy little teen! XD So you’ve been warned! Dare to move on or leave it at that. Your decision, your choice. ;-P


”Alex’s image is all charisma and genius and smirking wit, thoughtful interviews and the cover of GQ at eighteen; Henry’s is placid smiles and gentle chivalry and generic charity appearances, a perfectly blank Prince Charming canvas. Henry’s role, Alex thinks, is much easier to play.”

I didn’t like Alex at the beginning of the book! I know this might come as a shock but I really felt like he was sitting on his high horse and didn’t even bother to think about how other people felt. Or in this particular case how Henry felt. In his mind he gave him a role and never even looked beyond the horizon. But then the accident with the cake happened and Alex was forced to spend some time with Henry and he finally realized what a dumbass he actually was. I loved how Alex realized that he likes him and I adored him for being so unapologetic about his bisexuality. He just accepted it as a part of himself, he wondered about it, he explored it but he never felt bad about being who he truly was! And this was amazing! I wish there would be more bi representations like that; I wish that everyone would be as cool about being bi as Alex was. As his friends and family were! It was a huge part of him but it didn’t define him or his actions. This was so wholesome and such a nice way to deal with your own sexuality. Then again Alex is a very confident and brazen character so to deal with it like that fit him perfectly. XD

”It’s unpredictable and it’s intoxicating and it’s fun, because Alex has never met a challenge he didn’t love, and he – well, Henry is a challenge, head to toe, beginning to end.”

”He shouldn’t feel wronged deep in his gut. But that everyone seems enamored, when the only difference between the lie and the truth that would burn up Fox News is the gender involved … well, it fucking stings.”

”Sería una mentira, porque no sería él.” It would be a lie, because it wouldn’t be him.


”Hmm,” Henry says, making a show of thinking hard. “I always liked Luke. He’s brave and good, and he’s the strongest Jedi of them all. I think Luke is proof that it doesn’t matter where you come from or who your family is – you can always be great if you’re true to yourself.”

I FREAKING LOVED, LOVED, LOVED and LOVED, Henry! *lol* This boy is adorable and kind and sweet and gentle and everything anyone will ever need! <333 I mean he’s a Warsie and Potterhead!!! He ships Lupin with Sirius and he loves to watch Bake Off because it’s so soothing??!! Where the freaking hell is my Prince Henry!!??? *lol* I definitely need this fluffy biscuit Prince in my life! Like yesterday! XD But there’s also a wild side to Henry, a defiant one and boy did I ever live for those little snippets of his personality! I adored his character arc so much! I mean at the beginning of the book he was the shy and reserved prince and by the end of it he eventually found his own voice and shouted his innermost thoughts into the world. Still, it was so sad that his father died when he was so young and I felt Henry’s grief like it was my own. T_T I could understand why his mother decided to withdraw from the world, but I was really glad that she accepted her son the way he was and fought for him in the end. =)

”A curious thing about grief is the way it takes your entire life, all those foundational years that made you who you are, and makes them so painful to look back upon because of the absence there, that suddenly they’re inaccessible. You must invent an entirely new system.”

”What are we even defending here, Philip? What kind of legacy? What kind of family, that says, we’ll take the murder, we’ll take the raping and pillaging and the colonizing, we’ll scrub it up nice and neat in a museum, but oh no, you’re a bloody poof? That’s beyond our sense of decorum! I’ve bloody well had it. I’ve sat about long enough letting you and Gran and the weight of the damned world keep me pinned, and I’m finished. I don’t care. You can take your legacy and your decorum and you can shove it up your fucking arse, Philip. I’m done.”

”I’ve been gay as a maypole since the day I came out of Mum, Philip.”


”Numbers on me being into dudes?”
That pulls Nora up short, before she cocks her head to the side and says. “Seventy-eight percent probability of latent bisexual tendencies. One hundred percent probability this is not a hypothetical question.”

I loved Nora’s analytical mind and her conversations with Alex. It was obvious they were great friends and knew each other better than anyone else. XD And don’t kill me for this but: WHAT EXACTLY WAS GOING ON WITH NORA AND JUNE???!!! There was something there, right? I didn’t imagine this unresolved sexual tension, did I? *lol* Want to hear my thoughts on it? I think there was some sort of threesome going on the night they celebrated at the karaoke bar. Pez, Nora AND June! All three of them, feel me? *wriggles eyebrows* Unfortunately this is a mystery that was neither tackled nor resolved so my imagination will have to continue to run wild and I’ll blame it all on Casey McQuiston! *lol* ;-P

Alex’s parents:

”How many times do I have to tell y’all not to discuss your murder plots in front of a sitting president?” their mother interrupts. “Plausible deniability. Come on.”

Haha! This sentence instantly made me love the President! XD She was such a cool woman and Alex was so lucky to have her as his mum! It was amazing how she could be all business but at the same time always watched out for her kids. They were her first priority no matter how important her job was and she would have done anything to make them happy. Yes, she had a lot of responsibility and tried to perform damage control, but that was mostly due to her feelings for her son. She didn’t want Alex to get hurt and she wanted to protect him. I mean she was a public figure and we all know how those games are played. Well and as it turned out, Richards played very dirty indeed. >_< Also can we appreciate how Alex’s dad reacted to him being bi and loving Henry? I wish more parents would say words like that to their queer kids! Because it’s true, it’s not different when it’s your own kid, you still love your child and want the best for it. (At least it should be that way!!!) You want it to be happy, right? See, that’s exactly what I meant when I said this book gave me hope. =)

His dad slaps him on the bicep with the spoon, leaving a splatter of crema and cheese behind. “Have a little more faith in your old man than that, eh? A little appreciation for the patron saint of gender-neutral bathrooms in California? Little shit.”
“Okay, okay, sorry!” Alex says, laughing. “I just know it’s different when it’s your own kid.”
His dad laughs too, rubbing a hand over his goatee. “It’s really not. Not to me, anyway. I see you.”

”Diaz, you insane, hopeless romantic little shit,” says the voice of the President of the United States, muffled in the bed. “It had better be forever. Be safe.”

”I am your mother. I was your mother before I was ever the president, and I’ll be your mother long after, to the day they put me in the ground and beyond this earth. You are my child. So, if you’re serious about this, I’ll back your play.”

The relationships & ships:

Henry & Alex:

”Let’s get it over with.”
“I’d rather be waterboarded,” Henry says, smiling back. The camera snaps nearby. His eyes are big and soft and blue, and he desperately needs to be punched in one of them. “Your country could probably arrange that.”
Alex throws his head back and laughs handsomely, loud and false. “Go fuck yourself.”
“Hardly enough time,” Henry says.”

I could have quoted the entire book, I swear!!! There were so many amazing quotes, countless sweet and tender moments, about a thousand ways they told each other that they are in love. <3 Easy banter, sassy retorts, just everything you could possibly wish for. One of my personal highlights was the Turkey Gate though. *lol* And their e-mails, hell, their e-mails killed me! T_T I loved how they swore so much in their normal conversations but wrote so beautiful messages to each other. And considering that to write a message takes time and that you think long and hard what to write this was very realistic too. They were utterly, truly and madly in love and you could read it in every line! I felt so sorry for them though. It must have been so tough to be exposed like that and to deal with the press and consequences. Alone the fact that Richards leaked their relationship and didn’t even give a damn about their feelings. They were outed by others and it was NOT their own decision! And this is wrong!!! If you decide to out yourself it’s a personal thing, it’s something you decide, something that should be in your hands! You should be able to decide when you come out to your family, your friends or the world. If you never want to come out that’s okay too, but it is YOUR DECISION to make and no one should take this away from you! GRRR!! *grizzly bear mode* I guess you can already tell that this is a very important and touchy subject for me. XD But I feel about this strongly, because not everyone is ready to come out and for many people to take this step means to give up the life they are used to. Not everyone is as understanding as Alex’s family and not everyone accepts a person the way it is… Anyway, those two are sharing the first place with Baz and Simon now. *LOL* Because I love both of those m/m couples so much and can’t decide which one is the better OTP! XD Their level of cuteness is just off the charts!! <333

Henry’s whole face grimaces in frustration, his eyes casting skyward like they’re searching for help from an uncaring universe. “Christ, you are as thick as it gets,” he says, and he grabs Alex’s face in both hands and kisses him.

”Should I tell you that when we’re apart, your body comes back to me in dreams? That when I sleep, I see you, the dip of your waist, the freckle above your hip, and when I wake up in the morning, it feels like I’ve just been with you, the phantom touch of your hand on the back of my neck flesh and not imagined? That I can feel your skin against mine, and it makes every bone in my body ache? That, for a few moments, I can hold my breath and be back there with you, in a dream, in a thousand rooms, nowhere at all?”

”but I’ve kissed your mouth, that corner, that place it goes, so many times now. i’ve memorized it. Topography on the map of you, a world i’m still charting. i know it. i added it to the key. here: inches to miles. i can multiply it out, read your latitude and longitude. recite your coordinates like la rosaria.”


“Red, White & Royal Blue” was one of my most anticipated reads this year and I wasn’t disappointed! This book was everything I wanted it to be and it made me so, so happy! McQuiston tackled a lot of serious topics and they varied from loss and depression up to homophobia and political schemes. This book was an amazing composition about love, hate, ignorance and prejudices. Some might say it’s a modern fairy tale and I’m inclined to agree. What made this book truly outstanding is its final message though: You are perfect just the way you are! You are beautiful and you are allowed to love yourself! Or to say it with Alex’s words:

”Take everything you want and know you deserve to have it.”

Four damn good reasons to read this book:

1.) It’s still pride month and it’s about time I finally read a LGBTQ+ book!
2.) I’ve been dying to read this for months!
3.) After all those dystopian science fiction books I really need a fluffy break! >_<
4.) I just can’t seem to be able to say no to this girl! XD I'm sure she's very happy now. *lol*
Profile Image for  Teodora .
331 reviews1,775 followers
June 19, 2023
4.5/5 ⭐

Full review on my Blog: The Dacian She-Wolf 🐺
BONUS: At the end, there are 10 quotes proving that Zahra is the ultimate mood !!


I’d be so happy right now to actually have proper words to describe this beautiful mess that this book is but I rarely do have them so this review is going to be an equally hot mess. I’m actually having a doughnut while writing this so that should do.

Red, White & Royal Blue is not exactly my type of reading. I mean, I had doubts I’d possibly like this kind of fiction, and the synopsis didn’t quite help me in that area. But you guys (yeah, you, the ones who read it and fell in obsession with it) made me want to give it a try with your exuberance.


Really, after the first chapter I was like girl, keep reading, why the hell you stopped?

It made me feel excruciatingly giggly.


What made it super pleasant for me is the twist of the political reality – the United States actually has a female president, which is a determined lady from Texas and she has two amazing children who happen to be half Mexican. How cool is that though?

On the other hand, I found a bit of time and event inaccuracy in this that actually disturbs my OCD and keeps me awake at night.
At first, I thought the action was happening by the end of 2019 and then some mumbo-jumbo happens and we’re in the middle of 2020 somehow and no one but absolutely no one gives a shit about the fact that the 2020 Olympics are happening then.


Anyway, those are details that would probably be discussed by me with a shrink in a private session of why am I like this. Let me show you instead another positive thing about this book that I really loved.

These characters, man. These characters are EVERYTHING, I swear.

They all are so sweet and so witty and so lovely and they make you feel so warm and welcome. They’re just a bunch of nutters. It’s like you have everything you need in a handful of persons:

- Strong mums who love their children and help them and support them no matter what;
- Equally amazing father figures with whom I’d actually enjoy having a beer;
- Fabulously beautiful and intelligent and daring girls who are the world’s best sisters and can easily be your best friends (and I mean all of them, June, Bea, Nora);
- Two terribly sweet boys who are so pure and so dirty and so completely mad at the same time I’ll personally unleash hell for them if that’s what’ll make them feel safe;

(Also, teeny-tiny thingy here: I TOTALLY COULD FEEL HENRY IS A PIECES AND ALEX IS AN ARIES. I could feel it in my bones, I swear. Henry is as slightly introverted and as prone to extreme mood swings and as puppy-lovable like every Pieces I know and Alex is as stubborn and as passionate and ready to take over the world, making plans, being the centre of every event, burying himself in thousands of projects as every single Aries I know. Jesus, this is disturbingly accurate.)

- The ultimate eccentric best friend who is like that one person you’d love to spend time with and know he’s going to force you to have a good time and you’ll love it aka Pez;
- A gay Latino Skittles-eating guardian angel aka Rafael Luna (even his name is full of essence);
- Zahra – the biggest fucking mood in the entire Universe;

All of the characters are part of this amazing feeling you get while reading the book, it’s something cosy and familiar and warm.

The love in this book is real and is tear-dropping. But still, let me warn you about some aspects.

There are loads of hook-ups and sexy-scenes in there, some more detailed, some not-so, but you still get the picture. Dead-ass serious now, to me, they are a bit cringe. But not because of a boy loving another boy. God no. To me, scenes like that, with an explicit type of content, are cringe as hell in general. No matter in which -sexuality suffix they end.

So. This was a lit book. I loved it. Even more than I thought. And while reading it, I didn’t care who fell in love with whom and everything. I actually forgot about all these stereotypes and labels the society tries to push down our throats. For moments on, there was just me, witnessing a love story unfolding. And this was fucking amazing because, being from a socially and mentally constipated country, I don’t get to see acts of freedom like that. Which scream at me with love.

“I thought, this is the most incredible thing I have ever seen, and I had better keep it a safe distance away from me. I thought, if someone like you ever loved me, it would set me on fire. And then I was a careless fool, and I fell in love with you anyway (…). And then, inexplicably, you had the absolute audacity to love me back. Can you believe it?”

Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,883 reviews5,802 followers
June 22, 2021
History, huh?

To be honest, I wasn't expecting to love Red, White & Royal Blue. I mean, this is Casey McQuiston's first book, and it's written in present tense (ugh), but love it I did. I loved it HARD.

Red, White & Royal Blue was everything I was looking for and more.

My reading experience was simply me laughing, crying, or swooning in a continuous cycle. Sometimes all three at once. It's been a long, long time since I've wanted to melt into a puddle of goo on the floor because the romance!!! Holy god, this story was the romancey-romance of your dreams.

I'm a sucker for a few things in a romance book, and this story has nearly all of them. We get a sexual awakening (can I get a halleloo?!), an enemies-to-lovers (with all the glorious damn, your face, bruising kissing that I could dream up), witty banter for daaaaaaaaaaays, and a romance with a literal (okay, fictional... but still) PRINCE OF MOTHER FORKING ENGLAND. Did Casey McQuiston worm her way into my brain and pull out my deepest fantasies?!?!?!

I wanted to take a nap inside these pages. I took pictures and screenshots of my Kindle of the uber-romantic email exchange to swoon over later. I cried and laughed like a lunatic on my couch, huddled in a prison of tea and reading of my own making. I fell asleep with the imprint of my Kindle on my face at 3 am.

Even though I don't like reading about politics or political games, even though present tense makes me feel itchy (did I mention that yet??), and even though the sex scenes are suggestive but still fade-to black I wanted to read this book FOREVER.

The dialogue is something I will remember for a long time. The humor was absolutely everything and elevated this book from good to unbelievably amazing. The feelings were so intense I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest.

Red, White & Royal Blue is worth all the hype and more. It's worth your time and your money, and it's worth it to read something so fun and heartfelt and rare that it made it's way on to my elusive favorites list. With literally thousands of romances under my belt, this one still stands out.

And nothing will matter but just we two, we two longing loves at last come together.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
September 24, 2020
I really just binge reread this book in an hour and a half. I don’t know why any of you talk to me

As usual, the day guard at the Dirksen Building glares at him as he slides through security. She’s certain he was the one who vandalized the sign outside one particular senator’s office to read BITCH MCCONNELL, but she’ll never prove it.

A ridiculous romance between the made-up prince of England and the made-up son of the made-up first woman president has no right to be this good. And yet.

For those of you wondering if I’m joking about the premise of this book, I am completely not. It’s escapism to a world where American politics are at their normal level of messed up, but. You know. The election went in a different direction. (The popular vote direction, just like, by the way.)

It’s a book about the importance of loving in a world very very desperate to tear down love. The use of historical love letters… OOF. Radclyffe Hall to Evguenia Souline, Alexander Hamilton to John Laurens, Eleanor Roosevelt to Lorena Hickock, Michelangelo to Tommaso Cavalieri, Wilfred Owen to Siegfried Sassoon, Jean Cocteaua to Jean Marais. I will say it: the Vita-Sackville-West-to-Virginia-Woolf letter is absolutely one of my favorite pieces of writing of all time and makes me cry daily. And the line “history, huh?” got me.

And it’s a book about love as a choice. The line “On purpose. I love him on purpose.” has reached an almost memetic level on Tumblr and Twitter, but I get it. There are so many narratives, especially in queer lit, about love as something choiceless. But the thing is love is always a choice. And when you find the right person, it’s a good one.

It helps that the cast of characters is just really excellent. Alex and Henry are both really well-written characters, but Alex’s narration is genuinely incredibly hilarious. I laugh easily, but I’ve found that writing good humor can be kind of hard, and this worked for me. Nora and June are each good side characters. I also really appreciated characters like Bea, Pez, and Zahra, who show up briefly but make an impact anyway.

But. that is why this is objectively ridiculous romance novel resonated with me harder than 90% of the books I’ve read this year, as a lesbian who is almost definitely going to major in history or polisci (or both, I have another year). It’s about the tenderness and also about the weight of expressing love and also about how both our global context and our community history unite and bind us as queer people.

I’m done. Time to scream, with spoilers.

some lines and moments from this book I will be thinking about a lot:

➽“So, if he and Nora occasionally get drunk in hotel rooms together watching The West Wing and making loud moaning noises at the wall for the benefit of nosy tabloids, he can’t be blamed, really. They’re simply turning an undesirable situation into their own personal entertainment.”
➽I only started writing these down in the second half but Alex’s bi crisis… i get it. i really do
➽I don’t know
➽“It’s a week. The polls aren’t great, Paul Ryan is getting sanctimonious about the second amendment,”
➽the tenderness of the phone call scene
➽the bar scene like god that’s friendship babes!
➽“I’m going for like depressed lesbian poet who met a hot yoga instructor at a speakeasy who got her super into meditation and pottery and now she’s starting a new life as a high powered businesswoman selling her own line of hand-thrown fruit bowls”
➽“I thought you just got into international politics or something” “well, technically,”
➽“her son’s fucking quarter life NATO sexual crisis”
➽the PowerPoint presentation had me CRYING
➽“the phrase see attached bibliography is the single sexiest thing you have ever written to me” like I’m sorry what a fucking mood
➽“American politics: truly fascinating” “you wanna talk, Henry VIII?”
➽when Henry swan-dives into a lake and inwardly Alex is like he’s so gorgeous and outwardly Alex is like “do you have to be so goddamn extra”
➽actually that entire lake scene is just like... so romantic I’m out here wanting a wife
➽the forty seven texts ending up being 46 from June and one from Nora asking where she left her shoes
➽”consciously? subconsciously, in total detail?” is just such a relatable statement
➽the Prince consort road
➽“Take a picture with me with the sign!”
➽“The top list of reasons to love you goes brain, then dick, then imminent status as a revolutionary gay icon”
➽the sheer amount of times Alex threatens to physically fight someone
➽sometimes it’s for Henry’s honor but most of the time it’s not
➽“lmaooooooooooo wait look at page 22 of the emails alex is such a hoe”
➽everything Zahra does in this entire book
➽also everything Bea does in this entire book
➽Henry’s speech to Philip aka one of the single most legendary things I’ve ever read
➽“plus, we banged it out last night”
➽Henry’s mom really came in and saved their asses like that she did that and she did it for us (the gays)
➽history, huh?
➽that fucking TWEET about DC dykes on bikes chasing down the westboro baptist church
➽“Sufia, am I allowed to say that?” “literally, when has that ever stopped you?”
➽Amy and her wife!!!!!!!! at the parade!!
➽this doesn’t really have to do with the book but please Texas. please become a swing state faster. I know you’re on your way but it would be really kind and generous of you to go blue in 2020. please

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Profile Image for Taylor Reid.
Author 22 books162k followers
April 8, 2021
The First Son has an enemies-to-lovers thing going on with the Prince of England. So witty, so swoony, definitely rated R. Absolutely one of the most fun books of the past few years. And what’s especially great is that if you read it and like it, Casey’s new one, One Last Stop is out this summer and when I get my hands on it, I will be stopping everything to read it!
Profile Image for Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰.
173 reviews2,750 followers
June 16, 2019
“But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable."


My heart is so entirely full, it's nearly overflowing. This book was in a word; matchless. I laughed, I loved, I cried but mostly loved every beautiful little thing that led up to the last page. Now, having finished, I wish for nothing more but to go all the way back to the beginning and start again. As readers, sometimes -very rarely- you come across a book that quintessentially becomes a mantra, a new sense of hope and a burst of something you never really knew existed.
I don't think I will ever forget this novel.


On the off chance this book hasn't already won you over...

For a glimpse on my current situation:
i'm sporting sweatpants, haven't cooked for more than 24 hours, hair's an absolute mess, feel like screaming how gay i am out the window, and completely abandoned my responsibilities.
my horoscope did not prepare me for this.

When this book is published, and readers pick it up for the first time, I'm going to be sitting and watching all the emotions unfurl and all the fan;art,fiction,girling commence. And while I sit and watch, I'm going to be so jealous of everyone that has the luxury of reading this for the first time.

It's equal parts funny and loving and clever and tragic. I made a note on my kindle at page 3 stating "this is it," because that's how much I could feel the energy of a fucking brilliant book in my hands. The camaraderie and friendship combined with rebellion and sexy banter is almost too good to be in one novel. This is quite possibly the easiest five stars I have ever given.

"So, you can hate the heir to the throne all you want, write mean poems about him in your diary, but the minute you see a camera, you act like the sun shines out of his dick, and you make it convincing.”
“Have you met Henry?” Alex says. “How am I supposed to do that? He has the personality of a cabbage.”


A Tribute

In more ways than one, the story behind Alex and Henry's relationship is magic. There is quite a lot of politics involved, quite a lot of drunkedness and quite a lot of soft moments that make you clutch your kindle slightly tighter.

"But he thinks about Henry, and, oh. He thinks about Henry, and something twists in his chest, like a stretch he’s been avoiding for too long."

This was an enemies to lovers romance with so much more going for it. A beautiful feeling arose throughout the book as I saw the family and the omnipresent feeling of hope through friends. Nora gave me life and made me swoon. June was someone we all need in our life, alongside Pez. Bea was the softest cinnamon role in the whole bakery and when they were all together, my heart started singing.

“Alexander, babes,” Pez says when he picks up. “How lovely for you to give your auntie Pezza a ring on this magnificent Sunday morning.” He’s smiling from what looks like the passenger seat of a luxury car, wearing a cartoonishly large sunhat and a striped pashmina."

I wish I could go up to every one that will ever have doubts about reading this book and beg them to give it a chance. Sometimes, I'm skeptical about picking up new authors - especially, when they are debuting with a genre that means so much to me. Yet, here I am, falling incredibly in love with everything this book is and will continue to be in my life.

“Never tell me the odds."
Profile Image for monica kim.
202 reviews6,041 followers
May 16, 2019
i just read a review where someone said they didn’t like this because it was too idealistic and happy. and like...honestly isn’t that what the world kind of needs? this book dares to dream of an america that could have and should have been after the 2016 election. this is the kind of story this world needs more of, not less of, because it shows that this kind of love story - one where two men can fall in love and still be world leaders and changers- doesn’t have to be tragic. part of what makes this book so important is that it dares to dream that dream boldly. it dares to look in the face of staunch tradition and say, “yes, you can change. and i will accept nothing less.”

i read this in one sitting. i meant to just start it before bed but then ended up just...not going to bed lol. it’s adorable and fun and i’m very happy i picked it up.
Profile Image for Josu Diamond.
Author 8 books33.2k followers
April 12, 2020
A ver… Tengo mucho de lo que hablar.

Comenzaré diciendo que leer esta novela ha sido una montaña rusa de emociones y sensaciones. Como he comentado en mis redes sociales, he sufrido varios parones, y era algo que no me esperaba de una novela con tan buena acogida entre todo tipo de público.

Mis primeras impresiones respecto a la novela eran, he de admitir, malas. Normalmente cuando un libro se convierte en un boom de la noche a la mañana siempre me da mala espina. De ahí que aún no haya sido capaz de leer Bajo la misma estrella, por ejemplo. Sé que me puedo estar perdiendo muchas cosas, pero así funciono. Me causa… algo extraño.

Sin embargo, con Rojo, blanco y sangre azul algo cambió en mí después de tanto hype. Finalmente decidí darle una oportunidad, participando en la lectura conjunta interactiva del podcast Castigada sin leer. Era una buena oportunidad de leerlo, así que me lancé de lleno.

Y ahora es cuando empieza todo.


Voy a dividir mi experiencia lectora en tres partes: lo que sentí leyendo el primer tercio, lo que sentí leyendo el segundo, y lo que sentí leyendo el tercero. Aparte de eso, también comentaré otros aspectos. Coged unas palomitas o algo, que se viene una de mis reviews más largas (por no decir la más extensa de todas).


La introducción a los personajes secundarios me resultaba confusa. Creo que, aun habiendo terminado el libro, no me ha quedado muy claro qué papeles juegan exactamente algunos de los personajes que aparecen en el transcurso de la novela. Ignorando ese hecho, traté de centrarme más en los principales: Alex y Henry.

Ellos, a diferencia de personajes como Ellen, sí que están bien introducidos y manejados. Creo que la mayor baza del libro son los protagonistas, su amor odio, y su relación de tira y afloja.

Como os comento, esta novela ha sido una montaña rusa. En este primer tercio conocí a los personajes, conecté con su historia, porque era extremadamente… caliente. El hecho de que se amen-odien, dejando claro que se desean, no hacía otra cosa que crear expectativas. Expectativas que, por cierto, no se cumplen.


El sexo es una mierda. El estilo de la autora es detallado, pausado en partes, lleno de información, y cuando por primera vez tenemos escenas eróticas… no se pueden ni considerar eróticas. ¿Qué cojones? Puedes saber exactamente el ángulo matemático de la curvatura de la oreja de Henry, cuántos lunares tiene en el omóplato, pero no sabes ni cómo tiene la polla ni cómo se corre. Y lo digo así porque la autora habla de eso, pero sin hacerlo. Las escenas de cama NO TIENEN DETALLES. Hay un enorme fundido a negro cuando hemos tenido diez páginas de besos, meterse mano, tocarse… Pero no tenemos nada más. En dos frases se cierra toda la escena, con algo así como:

Por fin lo habían hecho y había sido gloria. Henry cayó sobre la cama, deshecho, sudado. Increíble.

Y es en plan… ¿El qué habéis hecho? Literalmente pasan capítulos hasta que descubres qué han hecho exactamente, porque lo comentan en una conversación de pasada. Es ridículo a unos niveles que nunca he visto algo que me cabreara tanto en ese sentido.

Así que primera decepción. Me habían comentado que el libro ’era muy hot’ y me encuentro esa auténtica mierda. El libro juega con las expectativas del lector, presentando desde ese momento una dinámica que poco tiene que ver con lo que sigue.



La política entra por la puerta grande. Aunque desde el primer momento podemos observar cómo hay ciertas tramas de tensiones políticas y demás que van apareciendo, en torno a la mitad del libro eso se convierte en algo infumable. En serio. Leer desde el 40% al 60% de la novela fue como clavarme alfileres en los ojos, y sinceramente, tuve que optar por leer en diagonal.

Entiendo que la novela trata de mostrar una realidad política, el cómo es el día a día en los partidos, pero no es lo que has presentado en un principio. La trama romántica se deja a un lado, exceptuando ciertos atisbos de escenas que te ilusionan, para volver a estadísticas, votos y discursos.

Un auténtica petardo.


Y, aquí, señoras y señores, es donde me enamoro.

Durante todo el libro me he enfadado por varios temas, como habéis visto: el sexo es decepcionante, la política toma demasiado protagonismo… Pero este último tramo de la novela no ha podido engancharme más. Más incluso que el primer tercio, el cual leí bastante rápido.

No he podido despegarme del libro hasta que lo he terminado. Por fin ambas tramas se unen en algo único y convierten la novela en algo esplendoroso, algo que es lo que yo buscaba (o lo que el libro parecía prometer, no me culpo tanto de mis expectativas), y siento que es cuando la novela realmente despega. Si este balance se hubiera mantenido desde el principio, iría directa a mi top diez de lecturas.

La relación de Henry y Alex, eso sí, adopta un aura demasiado ñoña para mi gusto, porque el paso del tiempo no está bien reflejado y lo hace inverosímil… Y ese sería el único ‘pero’ que le pongo a este tramo final, donde todo se arremolina en una vorágine de sentimientos, tramas y personajes.


Ahora, quiero hablar de otros temas aparte de los que ya he comentado.

No sé si es la traducción o qué narices pasa, pero la novela a veces es complicada de entender. Bloques de párrafos muy largos, frases demasiado complejas… No me quejaría si fuera la tónica habitual, pero es que no lo es. Hay escenas que son puros diálogos donde todo es sencillo, y de pronto párrafos y párrafos (o capítulos) donde todo se vuelve complicado de entender.

Otra cosa que quiero comentar es lo mal organizada que está la novela, porque hay capítulos cortos y otros demasiado largos que hacen que el ritmo de lectura de la novela se haga eterno. De hecho, una de las razones por las que sufrí esa crisis de dejar de leerlo, fue en parte debido a ese concepto tan raro de la duración de los capítulos que tiene la autora/editorial.

En resumidas cuentas: la novela tiene muchísimo potencial, que creo que no se sabe explotar al cien por cien. No queda claro qué es. ¿Una novela new adult? ¿Una novela sobre política? ¿Una novela sobre romance? No queda claro, tampoco, que sea una mezcla de las tres cosas, por lo que es algo confuso de determinar. Sin embargo, y como os he dicho, al final creo que la balanza se inclina a que las cosas que me han gustado me hayan convencido más que las que no. No os voy a decir que tenéis que leerla porque las partes malas merecen la pena por lo que viene, porque yo personalmente he sentido una presión muy grande a terminarlo por comentarios como ese. ¿Que finalmente ha merecido la pena? Pues sí, pero se me estaba haciendo sentir como que me estaba perdiendo la gran novela del siglo XXI cuando es… una más.
Profile Image for Kyle.
378 reviews557 followers
November 4, 2021
EDIT 06/08/19: Still can’t wrap my head around the hype and fanfare surrounding this book. It’s so disingenuous and smug. Like, why are most of these rave reviews from teenagers?? What a sick scheme to get people to read your book, by marketing adult stories to kids. Truly, it’s written as if someone took a God-awful YA tumblr post/idea, and stretched it into one overlong, la-di-da AU President Hilary fanfiction. Look underneath the “cute” story wish-fulfillment blanket, and see that it’s actually pretty damn toxic. There are better, more deserving, and less mean-spirited lgbtqia books to read out there; Books that have substance beyond the surface appeal of a fangirl/boy wet dream read... Do yourselves a favor and pick up genre books with something valid to say— books that don’t make jokes out of “waterboarding”, “Israel”, “empirical Britain”, and aren’t constantly shoving partisan politics down your throat til you f*cking choke.

Original review:
To NetGalley, the publisher, and the author: thank you to the moon and back for providing me with this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, don’t hate me for this, because my review is certainly in the minority when it comes to this book; I simply couldn’t make up my mind: one star? Two stars? Three stars? Oftentimes, I was annoyed by it— the biased politics— more than that, perpetually frustrated about all the lovey-dovey stuff and incessant faire l'amour (it was damn excessive!!). Then again, there were moments that really struck me deep, and Lord knows I’m an emotional reader. One key scene towards the end made me tear up a bit, and it’s not often that happens. So, kudos for that. I know this book is going to be a big hit for many people, and I’m fully prepared to defend my unpopular opinion from here on out.

Let me say this: it was very clear from the beginning how this story was going to end. It wasn’t surprising... like, at all! But, the joy should be in the journey no matter the outcome, right? Well... no. It was written nicely at times (but mostly it’s a very tumblr/fanfic/glib mess). There were many moments of inspired, descriptive passages and pretty prose, sure, but... It’s a shame that you had to trudge through the too-frequent, unrealistically crude, sarcastic banter to get to it, though, so...

Almost every side character is a person of color, and there’s lots of lgbtq representation, which should feel great, but instead comes off as incredibly forced (which sucks)— like a diversity checklist. The inclusion of multiple POC I perceived as only to be used as a statement, which feels wrong somehow. I dig that here the First Family is biracial, but again, it didn’t feel organic (couldn’t it just be, “This is us. This is who we are” and leave it at that? Instead of it trying to hammer home social commentary?). It’s totally all contrived political correctness. The rep is important: we have multiple LGBTQIA+ characters caricatures, that came off as disingenuous stereotypes. But mostly, for the entirety of the novel, I couldn’t connect with the MCs. They didn’t feel real enough: too smug, snarky, narcissistic, and the romance was all-consuming (and I hate that)... Give me diversity and representation, but let it make sense! Let it be real!!!

A hell of a lot happens in the first 10% of the book (it felt like it was crammed in, or one giant prologue that’s multiple chapters long): White House to London, back to USA, then London again, a wedding and three public events— I didn’t know how it was going to be dragged out for the remaining 90%. I wish more time was actually focused on a few of Alex and Henry’s outings earlier on, because they came and went so fast I got whiplash: the trip to the stables was over in a blink, the talk show (I think it was?) was probably a paragraph or two before it jumped abruptly into a charity event. There was SO MUCH room for elaboration... these were missed opportunities for interesting depth progression, and could’ve saved on so much unnecessarily long-winded ramblings later on. After about a third of the way through, the books starts to evolve into something different— more sincere, if you will. It’s a welcome shift. The first 30-odd percent seems like an infinitely different story/tone.

(Side note: the whole ‘young adults debate Star Wars’ schtick is SO overdone).

Speaking of Young Adult, I know this is technically billed as NA (all the main characters are in their early twenties), but it is tagged overwhelmingly as YA here on Goodreads. It is MUCH closer to Adult than anything, even though there is a huge identity crisis happening in this novel: sometimes it screams YA, and then other times characters are talking about anal sex with 18 f-bombs in three sentences. Fair warning for anyone sensitive to it: there is extremely frequent crude/crass language, and lots of graphic sexual material — one of the more... intimate scenes plays out for like, several pages (too long, in my opinion). We get like, a dozen (I am not exaggerating!) different sex scenes. Now, I’m no prude (and wholly sex positive), but that’s just TOO-F*CKING-MANY! Like, chill out and put it back in your pants, McQuiston. Something with this much fanfiction-y smut getting tagged as YA is beyond me...

I also can’t believe I’m saying this, but there was just waaaay too much banter for my liking. It was all “sharp” millennial humor all the goddamn time. I craved moments of actual sarcasm-less depth and seriousness, and was frequently disappointed most of the way through, which was often, because this book is OVERLONG! I was constantly checking my progress, because the story just dragsssss and I wanted it to pick up the pace.

(Not to sound nit-picky, but...)— cool. Another politically-charged book out to vilify Republicans. I get it: it’s AU liberal wish fulfillment about the First Family. They’re Democrats. I’m fine with that, obviously, because I don’t judge people or outright reject anyone based on political affiliation. But couldn’t this book just leave out all the name calling, ignorance, and horrible right-wing stereotyping? I mean, , because the only message I see being pushed here is that Republicans are nothing more than bigoted, racist, fascist, evil, homophobic sexual predators, and Democrats are the ones to save us all. The author could’ve done the decent thing: play nice and not be so severely partisan (being pro-bipartisan won’t make you any less progressive), but that’s too much to ask with such clearly imbedded bias. Their disgust for Republicans is scary and, frankly really, really sad. I almost, almost was willing to give the benefit of the doubt, but come the conclusion after the whole “Waterloo” leak, I’m just resigned to the fact that Left-leaning authors will never tolerate opinions outside their own. And it makes me feel bad.

So, yeah, I feel let down from a great height. That is all.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
December 4, 2022
Alex Claremont-Diaz, First Son of the United States, is making his way through college whilst plotting a future career in politics.

He already has years of experience working on various campaigns and is quite a successful schmoozer. Along with his sister and best friend, they navigate the D.C. social scene like it's their job; and it kind of is.

I love anything political in books, so right from the start, I'm digging the vibe.

It quickly becomes obvious that Alex has some growing up to do. As he should, he's in his early-20s, y'all, give the boy a break!

He parties a little too hard, hooks up with randoms, who are then forced to sign NDAs and feuds with foreign dignitaries.


Alex's biggest rival is Prince Henry of the United Kingdom. Henry is all sorts of swoony, exuding Prince Charming vibes, yet Alex sees him as a total bore and his number one enemy.

When an embarrassing incident, involving both Alex and Henry, occurs at a royal wedding, the boys are forced to pretend to be friends in order to save face.

Alex would rather do pretty much anything else.

Unfortunately, his wants are inconsequential at this point. Thus begins the relationship that will melt you; mind, body and soul.

If you are reading this, I am sure you already know what this book involves. It has received a lot of hype and for good reason.

A mainstream title, a humorous and steamy New Adult romance, featuring a male/male, enemies-to-lovers relationship?

This is basically the book the world has been waiting for.

And let's be honest, it's a book the world needs.

I personally was swept away from the very first pages. It is so fun. Pure fun on the page, but also thoughtful in its presentation.

I truly feel this is ground-breaking and we will all be talking about it for years to come.

McQuiston did such a great job of making this so contemporary and natural. It never felt forced.

The dialogue was believable and the storyline provided a lot of food for thought.

I have heard a few people mention that it is too optimistic?

To me, I didn't really think so. It is a happy story overall, but our characters have struggles just like real people.

Alex and Henry both grapple with their sexuality and what that means in terms of their lives, their family's responses, the world's response; they really struggled with that.

There's no question, they had hard decisions to make, just like in real life.

As far as the overall outcome, I think we needed a book like this.

I applaud Casey for writing this. I think this will mean a heck of a lot to a lot of people and McQuiston is definitely on my list of autobuy authors after this spectacular debut. Bravo!

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin's Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

I always appreciate the opportunity. I think this will be making a lot of reader's 'Best of 2019' lists!
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,747 reviews5,292 followers
October 25, 2021
Alex, the First Son, has one arch-nemesis: Prince Henry of England, the Crown’s golden boy. After their long-held feud escalates to a disaster at the Royal Wedding, the two are forced to fake a friendship in the spotlight to smooth international relations, and it’s going to be absolutely terrible. After all, Alex hates Henry! … doesn’t he?

Okay, look, I don’t even know how to start this review so I’m just going to apologize in advance for my fangirling, because honestly, it’s really just NOT fair at all that we’re less than three months into the year and I’ve probably already found my favorite book of the year. I mean, HOLY HELL, Y’ALL, THIS IS SO GOOD.

“And you are good. Most things are awful most of the time, but you’re good.”

I mean, this book is exactly what I’m referring to when I say that romance thrives on tropes and that we should embrace tropes more often because, seriously—international relations? Reluctant royals? Enemies-to-friends-to-lovers? Fake friendships? Fake dating? IT’S ALL HERE AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL.

“The turkeys are not going to Jurassic Park you. You’re not the bloke from Seinfeld. You’re Jeff Goldblum.”

When I say I loved this book, I’m worried that you’re interpreting it as, “wow, Destiny enjoyed this book,” when what I mean is, “I had to stop looking through my highlights for quotes to use because I was getting derailed by rereading all of my favorite parts and I’m legitimately tempted to reread this book right now even though I just finished it less than 24 hours ago.”

“You have so much in you, it’s almost impossible to match it. But he’s your match, dumbass.”

There are so many freaking adorable characters that I want to cherish forever. I mean, SO MANY. And they’re all so flawlessly and casually diverse and precious and wonderful.
Alex: First Son, biracial (white/Latinx), bisexual, hilarious, vaguely full of himself in the best way
👑 Henry: Prince, gaaaaay, softest bean ever
📰 June: First Daughter, biracial (white/Latinx), #squadmom for life, honestly gave me total queer vibes so can we please get a sequel confirming this??
💻 Nora: Alex and June’s bestie, bisexual, geeky AF, computer hacker and data analyst extraordinaire, endlessly hilarious (“still waters, deep dicking”)
🎤 Bea: Henry’s sister, former cocaine addict, sweet and feisty as hell, also queer AF and I’ll not hear any arguments
💎 Pez: Henry’s best friend, massive philanthropist, fashionista, no regard for societal gender roles (despite these last two things I’m tempted to think Pez is the Token Straight™ in the Super Six)

It’s nothing like kissing anyone he’s ever kissed in his life. It feels as steady and huge as the ground under their feet, as encompassing as every part of him, as likely to knock the wind out of his lungs.

I could gush forever, honestly. And the humor in this story! I laughed out loud so many times. And the swooning! There’s a fair amount of sex (though the scenes are all tame and mostly vague if that’s something you’re worried about), and even when everyone is fully clothed, the tension is off the charts. They’re so sweet together and they wear their little hearts on their sleeves and I adored everything about the perfect OTP that is Alex and Henry. ♥ Also, their text and email conversations? KILL ME WITH CUTENESS, CASEY MCQUISTON, JUST DO IT.

Whatever, fine. Henry is annoyingly attractive. That’s always been a thing, objectively. It’s fine.

I think the last thing I want to say is just how optimistic and downright hopeful this book is. Without spoiling anything, there’s a scene towards the end that is just pure queer affirmation and support and love and it had me bawling the happiest tears at the thought. The world is a really ugly place sometimes (especially in US politics lately) and I cherished every moment of this escape and this view into what we’re hopefully moving towards.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Profile Image for brooke.
74 reviews3,726 followers
August 24, 2023
4 stars
”but the truth is, also, simply this:
love is indomitable.”

— i had to pick this book up IMMEDIATELY after finishing the movie, and i am so glad i did. to the movie watchers who haven’t read this book.. GO READ THIS RN, you’re missing out on so many little details the movie unfortunately did not add bc there was no time to fit in all the scenes - like the lust-ridden emails?? OMG SOMEONE SEDATE ME. this book had me smiling, swooning and cheering for every single character. this book was SO wholesome despite the fact that it takes place in the world of politics — it centres around political escapism and perceives politics in a more positive, optimistic outlook compared to the real world.

➷ the premise of the book follows the First Son of the United States falling in love with the Prince of Wales. i feel like there is no clear plot goal or a clear plot point as there were so many in this book but i still adored this nonetheless. we watch henry & alex overcome so many obstacles bc of their status to be together, the love they have for one another just pours out of the book. though this book focuses a lot on the relationship between alex and henry, it also tackles the brutal reality of politics.

“take anything you want and
know you deserve to have it.”

➳ alex, the national treasure and the first son of the United States - this book follows alex and is told from his POV. at the start of the book alex is in his final year of college and is looking forward to entering a career in government. he balances out his life by attending political functions, helping his mother win her re-election and is discovering and exploring his identification as a bisexual, while having a secret relationship with HRH, henry. alex is best described as quick-witted, sarcastic and extremely political. he is full of ambition and power but he is so gentle and soft when it comes to his henry. his character did annoy me relentlessly at the start, i found him to be entitled and obnoxious, but he did become bearable as the book progressed.

➳ henry, the prince of wales is the complete opposite to alex. he is much more reserved, polite and proper but my god is he so endearing, he was so wonderfully written!! i found comfort within his softness, he’s that character you simply want to protect with your whole heart. AHH AND HE IS ALSO A FELLOW PISCES?? OMG IVE WON. henry strongly struggles against the confines of his family, the legacy and is bounded by the limitations the crown sets and he desperately wants to escape that life and create a life of his own, and we get to see him become more stubborn as he knows what he wants. he literally defies all the odds just to prove his love for alex, even if it will cost him his royal inheritance and the support from the queen.

➳ this book is also made up of amazing side characters: the White House trio becomes The Super Six which consists of june (alexs’ sister) nora (the VPs granddaughter) bea (henry’s sister) and pez (henry’s best friend) i loved the friendship dynamics and how they all came together, each one of them helped the story progress, they are fleshed out characters and they all added top-tier comedy to this book — they are that friend group everyone deserves in their life.

“should i tell you that when we’re apart, your body comes back to me in dreams? that when i sleep, i see you […] and when i wake up in the morning, it feels like i’ve just been with you, the phantom touch of your hand on the back of my neck fresh and not imagined? that i can feel your skin against mine, and it makes every bone in my body ache? that, for a few moments, i can hold my breath and be back there with you, in a dream, in a thousand rooms, nowhere at all?”

➷ the chemistry between henry and alex simply pops off the page, this book has excellent relationship development and a finely tuned balance between profound emotion and laugh-out-loud levity. what i loved most about their relationship was the communication that evolved between them, especially prior before they jump started their relationship. the forbidden love aspect of this book was also a perfect addition, it made this book so much more better. the banter they have left me smiling so hard, it was compelling - and the way they simply just complement each other made this enjoyable to read, you end up rooting for them against all odds. the love they share for one another is just so infatuating. even though their relationship did progress quickly, it didn’t detract from the story.

— overall, this was a pleasant read. this story is full of amazing, diverse and well-developed characters, light-hearted moments and is warm n fluffy. i did not care for the idealistic politics, but i still enjoyed reading this one!

note: i always see reviews raving about this being “enemies to lovers” and i need to debunk that as disliking each other for a chapter and a half does not make them sworn enemies and there is also no real hatred for them to be considered “enemies” — there was just a slight misunderstanding from years ago as to why alex didn’t necessarily like henry.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,919 reviews33.1k followers
June 9, 2023
5 stars

 photo 12757B07-6160-4CE5-92FA-04201BFE5C83_zpswsozmzgh.png
But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable.”

It’s been a while since I’ve read a debut novel that was THIS GOOD. I foresee this book being one of my very top favorites of the year, I loved it that much! This is a story about the first son, Alex and the Prince of England, Henry. They aren’t friends, in fact, they hate each other. Enemies to lovers… I’m always here for it! I seriously could not have loved this book more. It was perfection.

Let’s start with Alex. Alex’s mom is the first female president of the United States of America and her 2020 reelection campaign is coming up. Alex is very involved politically, and wants to focus on that as soon as he graduates from college. Alex goes to England with the first family and runs into his nemesis, Henry. There is an… incident in England that isn’t good for either of them.

Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry Windsor have to pretend to be friends. It’s the only way to save face. But soon enough, their friendly meet ups and constant texting turns into a true friendship. Then feelings start to come into play. I love the obsession these two have with each other as enemies, friends, and more. And this quote.. it’s pretty much my favorite of the book.
First, you’ve been, like, Draco Malfoy–level obsessed with Henry for years.

And then… and then… Henry kisses Alex, and everything changes. Henry has always been gay, but being the Prince, he’s never been allowed to be himself. With Alex, he can be. And Alex always thought he was straight, but looking back into his past, he realizes he’s been bisexual for quite some time. He just didn’t realize it. There is definitely a progression of Alex finding himself and coming to terms with who he is and for Henry, deciding how he wants his future to be. He’s torn between need and obligation. It’s not easy for him.

Back to the Alex and Henry love fest… The emails, the texting, any communication between Alex and Henry was exceptional. Alex and Henry together was everything. Their romance was the best. I swooned so hard for these boys.
The breeze keeps moving to meet the highest branches of the trees, and the water keeps rising to meet the bulkheads, and Henry leans down to meet Alex’s mouth, and Alex is. Well, Alex is so in love he could die.

Alex was by far my favorite character of the book, but Henry was amazing as well. I also loved the secondary characters. The White House Trio and Henry’s bestie and sister. Love love love! Lets just be clear here for a second, there wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this book!

This book was so freaking funny. I can’t count the times I laughed out loud while reading. It was also swoony, sexy, smart, and sweet. I loved it so hard and you will hear me recommending it to any and everyone once it releases! Seriously, this book left me with the biggest smile on my face and the happiest heart. A top favorite of the year for me, Red, White & Royal Blue is a must read!!
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