Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
fulfilled the category “A
Book Set in Multiple Countries” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading Challenge. The novel
takes place in Washington D.C., England, and Texas. Okay, so it’s only slightly
multiple countries. But it works for the prompt as these characters live in
different nations and must travel to see each other.
I almost didn’t read the novel. It had a hugely positive reception when
it first came out, but a few good friends of mine disliked the book for various
reasons. (I can’t remember what they were now.) So, I put it on my “Maybe
Someday” shelf in my head. I cannot tell you why I picked up for the challenge
this year. Probably because I loved Boyfriend Material so very much and
wanted more like it. It’s not as wonderful as that title, but it comes close.
Red, White, and Royal Blue delves into the
world of the “First
Children” the kids of the President. I loved how the book had a female
president who was all action and a real person. But this story is about Alex
Claremont-Diaz, the Latino child of the President. He’s a bit of a wild thing,
playing in politics and with all the ladies he can find. His nemesis, His Royal
Highness Prince Henry is the bane of Alex’s existence. The two men do not get
along from the start. Because of Alex’s bad choices, he is forced to create
some positive PR between himself and Prince Henry. The two pretended to be best
friends. (Hmmm, it does sound like Boyfriend Material.) Instead of
friendship, the two men fall in love but must hide it from the world.
Forbidden love is a wonderful thing. The book is a
coming-out story for both main characters. Alex realizes he’s bi-sexual. Henry already
knows who he is but cannot come out because of his title. Both men must contend
with the logistics, the fame, and the complications of their political
positions to find their happily-ever-after. And it’s a fun ride. There are
other plot points such as Alex’s mother’s reelection campaign, Alex’s journey
to find his true self, and Henry’s dealing with being a royal. The plot was
rich, the romance was heavenly, and I truly enjoyed the book.
As per my usual, I listened to the novel on audio.
The reader did a wonderful job in creating the characters with just his voice.
He handled the nuances of a modern story well, and by that I mean, reading out
the emails and text messages without bogging the reader down with the heading.
He said them with a quick, clipped tone and made them disappear like the word “said.” Though I giggled
every time he said the screen name Alex gave Henry, which included a poop emoji.
If you’re looking for a “new adult” romance without all the trauma, check out this
I give Red,
White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston Five Silly Emojis.