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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue (edition 2019)

by Casey McQuiston (Author)

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194991,747 (4.35)3
Title:Red, White & Royal Blue
Authors:Casey McQuiston (Author)
Info:Griffin (2019), 432 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:21st century, american fiction, queer literature, romance

Work details

Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel by Casey McQuiston

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    A Royal Shade of Blue by Aven Ellis (Anonymous user)

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I normally don't read books like this, but I was won over by this frothy, good natured, funny beach read. 4 strong stars. ( )
  Jean_Roberts | Jul 18, 2019 |
He’s the son of the first female president of the US; he’s a prince of England, fourth in line to the throne. They hate each other, until it turns out that they’re actually super hot for each other. But can they keep this big of a secret during a presidential reelection campaign? This has the rivals-to-lovers trope I like, and they are both smart and eloquent. But it turned out that I couldn’t help but compare the novel’s world to our own and find it more distressing than wish-fulfilling to imagine a world just enough better that these guys could get a happily ever after despite Wikileaks and homophobes in charge of the Republican party—it was the uncanny valley of romance for me. I can easily see how it would work better for others. ( )
1 vote rivkat | Jul 12, 2019 |
After a strong start, Red, White & Royal Blue faded for me. I'm generally on board when a writer chooses to lean into some familiar storytelling tropes, and Casey McQuiston definitely does so here: enemies-to-friends-to-lovers! pining! fake dating! There are some good one-liners, the cast is diverse, and there's a lot of wish fulfilment of varying kinds (romantic and political).

And yet.

I'm not saying that there needed to be some subversive element here, or that McQuiston should have dropped in an unexpected plot twist. There's absolutely a time and place for fluffy, escapist, happily-ever-after fiction—but there's also a way to do that well. About a third of the way in, Red, White & Royal Blue descended into the queer lit equivalent of a Hallmark movie, where two-dimensional characters react improbably to events that occur because they have to, not because it feels organic to the story at all.

It wasn't helped by the fact that although McQuiston's Prince Henry is basically a thinly veiled spin on the real life Prince Harry (only gay and academic), the author seems to base her knowledge of the British monarchy, and indeed the United Kingdom, on TV shows she's seen—and American ones at that. Each of the mistakes is fairly small in itself, but they add up and serve to undermine the book.

(British princes and princesses of the blood royal don't have surnames; they don't wear "head-to-toe Burberry" (gauche), or say "soz" if in their sixties (registers of speech being heavily mediated by both age and class), or refer to Buckingham Palace as simply "Buckingham", etc., etc. If Henry is the third child of the heir apparent to the throne, he is neither "the monarch" nor "the Prince of Wales". He's not "the Prince of England", for that matter, nor can he "abdicate".)

That leads me to the book's biggest failing: its lack of real imagination. While Henry can't abdicate a throne he doesn't possess, he could give up his place in the line of succession. This is a neat solution to various plot/personal problems which is never mooted by various characters who really should because... well, for no reason I can see other than that McQuiston wants to dutifully wag a finger at the blood-soaked imperialism of the British colonial endeavour but equally cannot imagine a scenario in which the most romantic/happy-ending thing would be for Henry to give up the title of prince and walk away from the whole hideous heteronormative monarchist racket.

But then Henry wouldn't be a prince! And so for all its cast of queer, trans, non-white characters, Red, White & Royal Blue's ultimate fantasy isn't of a world where the system gets overturned, just of one where the scope of who is on the inside gets expanded.

Meh. ( )
  siriaeve | Jul 11, 2019 |
‘Red, White, and Royal Blue’, a debut novel by Casey McQuiston, is a love story, but not a typical one. Alex Cameron-Diaz, the First son of American President, Ellen Claremont, absolutely hates the aristocratic Crown Prince Henry of Great Britain. His outward antipathy for Henry reaches a crescendo when they enter into a verbal sparring match at a wedding and accidentally fall into the wedding cake. After this debacle, both institutions attempt at damage control and try to portray both men as being best friends at social events. Eventually, Alex realizes that he is bi-sexual, and his attraction to Henry is reciprocated. Sparks ignite, and some enticing, clever emails and texts fly across the Atlantic. As President Claremont is campaigning to win re-election to the Presidency, a caustic event occurs which may demolish all hopes of a second term. Now Alex and Prince Henry must decide how to proceed with their relationship, and to determine if it is worth salvaging amidst the stresses of American politics and the British monarchy. Although the story is rather long (452 pages), much of the dialogue was clever and refreshing, and I found myself raucously cheering from the sidelines for the loving couple, Alex and Prince Henry. ( )
  haymaai | Jun 21, 2019 |
I received an ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley in return I'll be posting my honest review!

I LOVED this book! My full review will be out next month, in keeping with the publisher's guidelines! Can't wait to recommend the heck out of this one!

[b:Red, White & Royal Blue|41150487|Red, White & Royal Blue|Casey McQuiston|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1537190277s/41150487.jpg|61657690] ( )
  Charlotte_Kinzie | Jun 20, 2019 |
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for the weirdos & the dreamers
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On the White House roof, tucked into a corner of the Promenade, there’s a bit of loose paneling right on the edge of the Solarium.
History, huh?
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When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius--his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?… (more)

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