Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston - Review

Title: Red, White and Royal Blue

Author: Casey McQuiston

Genres/s: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, LGBT

Publication Date: May 14th 2019

Date Read: 24th March 2019

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin


Red, White and Royal Blue follows the story of the first son of The United States and Prince Henry. Most of the book follows their very untimely romance and finding someone in which they can confide in.

“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.”

The character dynamic between Alex and Henry is honestly the cutest thing I've read all year. It has that genuine and heart-warming feeling that I'm finding much harder to come across with romance nowadays. Most tropes and kinds of relationships have been explored thousands of times over in so many books that its hard to connect with a romance or set of characters just like ones you've read about in the past. But with Red, White and Royal Blue, it felt fresh. I was really surprised by how well McQuiston was able to explore and develop their relationship while using common tropes and putting a unique twist on them. I find I'm well inclined to enjoy a book if its royalty related and this just confirmed my suspicions. So if you like romances between royals, celebrities or other popular figures while reading then this is the perfect one for you! At times I got vibes that reminded me of how I felt while reading the 'LIKE US' series by Becca and Krista Ritchie. Just because even though the characters are meant to be these public figures doesn't mean they can't be written as human and you and me. And I love that McQuiston did this. That made this story and mainly the characters so easy to fall for. Even the side characters were relatable. And I honestly hope we get a book or novella diving into more of their stories in the future.

“You see, for me, memories are difficult. Very often, they hurt. A curious thing about grief is the way it takes your entire life, all those foundational years that made you who you are, and makes them so painful to look back upon because of the absence there, that suddenly they’re inaccessible. You must invent an entirely new system.”

The plot was a little more all over the place and I feel as though the author was trying to add depth where it wasn't really needed. Although I did enjoy the side storylines and dynamics they just didn't always feel like they fit with the the main plot line. One of my favourite parts of the whole novel was the exploration of different kinds of grief and how it takes hold in so many different ways for different people and that it isn't always easy to see the way out. I think it's such an important topic and take on the subject and it was refreshing to see it dealt with so well. I don't really feel comfortable with saying that the exploration of sexuality was done perfectly in this book because I can't relate with my own experiences, but I do feel as though the characters were developed in an open and careful manner. I know it is in part an own voices novel, so I love that but I would definitely check out some reviewers who have a better understanding and can relate more than I can to gather whether the topics were broached well.

As a whole I loved most of this book, including the romance, the relationship dynamics between both the main and side characters and the representation. However there were sadly a selection of other things that got in the way of these feelings while I was reading. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and feel extremely uncomfortable with aspects regarding the UK politics and the inclusion of some British stereotypes. I found myself often being pulled out of the story because they were such a stretch and no way accurate. I feel as though so much effort went into the American side of the story and much less research was done concerning the British side. Mostly I felt like this book was made for non-British readers, which is a disappointment.

However even considering these things I did still enjoy everything else, including the characters, plot and the writing. This is honestly a fantastic book, and by a debut author nontheless, so many things were excellently dealt with which is why I'm so torn on my feelings. Because It's fiction it was easy for me to keep reminding myself that the politics didn't have to be accurate but the fact that the American side seemed extremely well researched is why I find it hard to let go. I can see how if you’re not from the UK you could really love this and be able to look over certain things more than I was able to. But I’m honestly just disappointed by all the assumptions made, and don’t understand how all these things made it into the finished book.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Thanks for reading!

- Sophie

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