Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston was voted the Winner of Goodread’s Best Romance for 2019. I saw this book everywhere lately and found that I couldn’t resist diving into it myself.
What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
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 the 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? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic. Red White & Royal Blue from Amazon.
When I started reading this book I was immediately sucked into the story. Alex and his sister June are the children of the first female President of the United States. Along with Nora, the daughter of the Vice-President, the three are a power trio of influence in Washington, D.C. They are the first children of the President and Vice-President to stay actively in the political eye and, for the first one-hundred pages, I was completely enamored.
It was in the middle of the book that I had two major issues. The first is that I just didn’t like Alex. In this middle section of the book he fills his days with denial and a schedule specifically designed to keep him too busy to think. That kind of running for the sake of running always drives me insane. I found myself checking the back of the book to make sure the last fifty pages weren’t advertisements or special bonus chapters for another book. And, honestly, for about a hundred more pages I wished the book would just end already.
It was in this section I found one other major problem. Both Alex and Henry found ways to be together secretly all of the time and most of it was by ditching their security details. I don’t know much about having a security guard but I could not accept this as a realistic possibility. So, every time they were alone my brain was screaming, “error!”
Still, I wanted to continue reading. People love this book. It was around two-hundred and fifty pages that I realized that this wasn’t a romance book as much as it was a Young Adult book. The romance is what people are talking about but what made me like the book was what the characters were going through in order to make the romance happen.
Alex begins this book driven by specific, expiration date, marked goals. He is exhausting. His sister June and his best friend Nora try to balance him but Alex is so determined to make deadlines and fulfill goals that he made up in his early youth that he often ignores them. Did I mention exhausting? He is exhausting. He is twenty-one years old and a senior in college but he reeks of “If I don’t fulfill (blank) goal by (blank) date then I have failed and my life is over.“
And then he falls for Henry. And someone in his life betrayed him. Alex messes up and fails professionally. And the world kept spinning and his life didn’t combust. This is important.
Young Adult books are specifically targeting for the ages between 18 and 30. If there is one thing that I could impart on this group it is that failure is a necessary part of life. Everyone fails. How we get up, who we look to for support and what we do afterwards – all of those things matter.
And this book does all of that. Some people never learn how to look inside themselves and change. But Alex does. For that reason alone, this book is a great read. Additionally, there are countless women in power, parents who are supportive and part of their children’s lives, and friends who have your back and this was an excellent book. I just had to stop thinking of it as a romance book to fall in love with it.
Tell me, please!
What are your favorite Young Adult books?