Red, White and Royal Blue is Casey McQuiston’s debut novel.
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?
Where to start with this one? We have a fictional British Royal in Prince Henry of England, written by an American author, who like every person living in a country that isn’t the UK, has a very stereotypical and romanticised view on the monarchy in the UK that doesn’t really match reality. But within the context of Red,White and Royal Blue, those usually irksome ideals, work deliciously well. They have you instantly liking and connecting with Prince Henry, and the real-life Royal references make the whole story more enriching,
Then we have the presidential First Son, Alex, whose Mum is President getting ready to start campaigning for her second term in office. Something the book goes in to heavy detail about and sometimes it feels as if it’s just padding out the story rather than enhancing it.
The plot has the recipe for being a great story. Boy meets boy, boys hate each other, boys end up faking a friendship and falling in love, that love threatens to derail international relations. Big stakes.
There are things about this book we loved, Like the cliche and stereotypical characterisation of two high profile characters, that shouldn’t have worked but did as there were many layers to both and it was nice to see the characters peel back those layers and their relationship blossom.
The President… Wow, we think that lady should actually exist and be president!
But there were also things that we didn’t like….. the amount of politics. It sometimes felt it was more a book explaining the ins and outs of a presidential election. While we loved the cliches surrounding the main characters, it sometimes got old when the author attempted to describe British traditions.
Yes, the book was mostly told from First Son’s POV, but the explanations given to some of the royal traditions felt as if the author had just googled British Royal Traditions and used the whole list, some were spot on, others were un-necessary and slowed down the pace of the story. Throwing in a few sex scenes, (that were more emotionally explicit than they were sexually explicit )didn’t really dampen the heavy political aspects of the story.
Ultimately this book is an interesting read, something for the summer, it has romance, royals, politics, angst and it does teach you about politics. One to read by the pool or on the beach. This is a novel we think we see Netflix or Amazon getting hold of and making into a movie.
Have you read Red,White and Royal Blue? Let us know at @Fuzzable!