Book Review (ARC): Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

It’s finally here!! Red, White, & Royal Blue was released just last week, and it hit both the NYT Bestseller’s List and USA Today’s Bestseller’s List. I had plans to buddy read this book in April with Julianna from Paper Blots, but of course, school and exams got in the way… I ended up having to temporarily DNF this book until the beginning of my summer break, and I’m so proud to say that I finally finished this amazing book. 🥳 It was everything that I expected—it was funny, political, and oh-so-cute. It brought back a lot of feels from the 2016 Presidential Election, yet at the same time, the political drama was nicely balanced with heartwarming family relationships and sweet romance.

RED, WHITE, & ROYAL BLUE  by Casey McQuiston

PUBLISHED BY St Martin’s Press (MacMillan) on May 14th, 2019

GENRES: Contemporary, Romance

PAGES: 423

ADD TO GOODREADS    //    BOOK DEPOSITORY

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

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

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

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

Trigger/Content Warning: sex, drinking, homophobia, racism in media, ADHD, anxiety

Red, White, & Royal Blue is told from the perspective of Alexandra Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States. His mother, President Ellen Claremont, is the country’s first female President after President Obama. Did I mention she’s also a Democrat from Texas?? 💙 *my heart* The story is set between 2019 and 2020 where President Claremont is campaigning for re-election. After Alex and his unofficial, yet self-declared rival Prince Henry have a public fight, the two are forced to fake a ~bromance~ and pretend to be the best of friends which leads to the beginning of romantic feelings. The romance in this story was so fun to watch unfold. Alex served as a fantastic narrator, and I really enjoyed following perspective as the romance grew from enemies-to-lovers. Plus, Prince Henry was also SO SOFT and the best royal cinnamon roll.  

“That kind of love is rare, even if it was a complete disaster.” He sucks his teeth, considering. “Sometimes  you just jump and hope it’s not a cliff.”

Casey McQuiston’s writing perfectly captures the inner feelings of a 20-something-year-old. I feel like many authors who try to mimic the language of young adults and older young adults always seem to fall short, and it ends up sounding disingenuous. But! The writing in this book flows easily and manages to contain the right balance of millennial angst and youthfulness. My only complaint about this book is that the chapters are SO FREAKING LONG. 😱 This book is 423 pages, but there are only 15 chapters. This means that each chapter is around 28 pages. I’m someone who can’t put a book down until the end of a chapter so having such long chapters really threw me off. This is such a minor complaint, but it is something that I noticed to a point where I wished the book was broken up into 30 chapters instead of 15.

In the midst of the story, we manage to see the everyday life of the Claremont family, and let me just say…I love them so much. Alex’s sister, June Claremont-Diaz, is fun, smart, and an aspiring journalist. As a reader, you can easily see the strong sibling bond they have in their interactions. Unofficially, we also see their relationship with Nora Holleran, granddaughter of the Vice President, who completes the all-star ~White House Trio~. Then, we have the matriarch of the family, President Ellen Claremont who is #momgoals. I loved how she managed to perfectly balance being the President of the United States while still always being there for her children when they need her the most.

Casey McQuiston also did a fantastic job with the story and characters’ representation. Alex is bisexual and also half-White and half-Mexican, and his and June’s experience as First Children of the United States showed that despite your position in power, you may still face racism from the public and other public figures.

Another aspect that makes this book incredibly touching for me is the presence of politics. I’d like to consider myself as someone who’s fairly politically involved (at least more so than the average person) so reading this book felt both nostalgic and bittersweet because it brought back all the intense emotions from the 2016 elections. I was wholeheartedly invested in the Claremont Presidential campaign because it inspired hope for a better America. Everyone working on the campaign is so passionate about moving the country forward and discussing real policy. It motivated me to feel equally passionate about real-world politics.

Because you’re it, okay? I’m never gonna love anybody in the world like I love you.

Red, White, & Royal Blue certainly lives up to the hype. Alex’s witty and humorous narration was perfectly balanced with Prince Henry’s calm demeanor. ❤️💙 The romance, politics, and family relationships made the story entirely endearing and captivating. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone!

Have you read Red, White, & Royal Blue?

What were your thoughts?

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19 thoughts on “Book Review (ARC): Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

  1. This was such a great review, and you made me so much more excited to read the book, which is saying a lot because I’ve been excited for it since it got all those positive reviews pre-release! These characters seem like people I’m actually gonna like, which is a big deal for me as a reader who will probably love a book if she loves the characters! I’m just salty because I’m supposed to receive a copy of it from book depo, but the item is currently unavailable ughhh. I just hope it becomes available soon! I loved reading your thoughts so much!

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    1. Thank you so much Caitin!! OMG I promise you will love these characters ❤️ Alex and Henry are amazing, and Alex is a great narrator. Even the side characters are really endearing!

      AGHHH I can definitely understand how frustrating it can be to not receive a copy yet 😔 I hope that you can get it soon. I can’t wait to hear your own thoughts for it!!

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    1. YAAS 🥰 I’m so glad that you also enjoyed this book!! It was so hyped, but I think it’s pretty well deserved. You’re absolutely right that it touched on important topics while still remaining cute and fluffy at the same time~

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  2. Tiffany! This is such an amazing review.😍

    I didn’t think I could be any more excited to read this, but…now I am! (Sadly I am third in line on the waiting list at my library..but it’s okay.) The fluffiness, the family relationships, the female democratic president, the politics!! Wow it looks so good. Thank you for fueling my interest in this story even more! ❤

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    1. OLIVIA!! Thank you for the sweet words 🥰

      It’s okay!! You’re almost there on the waitlist. I honestly would have thought it would be much longer. YOURE ALMOST THERE!! AND IT”LL BE WORTH IT~~ It just had such a great combination of everything, and in some ways, it made me hopeful?? I hope you love it!!

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      1. Ahh, you’re welcome!

        I thought it would be longer too?? I think it’s because it’s super new so people haven’t heard about it that much yet. (Unlike What If It’s Us which is nEVER checked in.) Ahh, I’m glad you loved it 🙂

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  3. AHHHHH I’m so excited to read this book, it honestly sounds like exactly the sort of book I need rn (scratch that, it sounds like the sort of book the WORLD needs rn!) So excited to check it out!

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  4. great review, tiffany! usually hyped books don’t work out for me, probably because the hype makes me have sky high expectations for them. however this sounds amazing, and i can’t wait to read it. politics is a rare topic in young adult fiction, and i’m looking forward to seeing how it’s incorporated into the story 😀

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    1. thank you, chloe!! i think i was also feeling very worried that i wouldn’t love this book as much as everyone else because of the hype. but it really was a great read! the politics was introduced in a very fun way where it’s relatable but still realistic?? i hope you enjoy it and i can’t wait for you to read it now!!

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  5. I love this review so much, Tiff!! I pretty much agreed with EVERYTHING you said: I think the characters were fantastic, the romance was so good, and the humor was on a whole other level! I definitely appreciated the inclusion of politics, especially as a Democrat from Texas still waiting for Texas to go blue 💙 And yeah the chapters were definitely super long!! I’d heard about that before starting the book an didn’t anticipate just how long they were (or felt). It was really bad because I stayed up reading it because I told myself one more chapter, and then it took forever to finish that chapter 😅 Amazing review and I’m so happy you loved the book!!! 💕

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    1. YAYAYAY I’m so glad that you like my review, May!! OMG I am ROOTING for you and Texas 💙 The ending of this book just made me feel so emotional and hopeful at the same time.

      OOO yea I definitely think I’d appreciate knowing how long the chapter were beforehand. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but I remember wanting to finishing a chapter before bed and thinking WHY IS THIS NEVER ENDING?!?! I’m so glad that you also loved this book as well~

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    1. IM SO SORRY IT TOOK ME SO LONG TO FINISH IT BUT I LOVED IT AND I LOVE YOU AND I HOPE WE BUDDY READ MORE IN THE FUTURE ADN I’LL BE MORE ON TOP OF IT I PROMISE

      Like

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