Red, White & Royal Blue
by Casey McQuiston
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
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.
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. What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy LGBT Adorable & Fun
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston follows First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz, who is popular, has an amazing best friend and sister by his side, and is on the fast track for all his political dreams to come true. Everything was perfect - until he was forced to attend the royal wedding, and deal with his arch-nemesis, Prince Henry. When their confrontation makes headlines, damage control involves the two of them pretending to be best friends, and spending time with one another. Alex was expecting a weekend from hell. Instead he got a glimpse of the real Henry. Alex was surprised by the friendship they develop, but nothing prepared him for a kiss that not only opens himself up to a part of himself he kept hidden from himself, but a secret relationship that could destroy his mother's re-election campaign, and Prince Henry's relationship with his family and the Crown.
Red, White and Royal Blue wasn't on my tbr list. In fact, I never even heard of it, until I listened to my favorite book podcast - Two Book Bitches - RAVE about this book. Even after listening to every spoiler, knowing how everything plays out, I still needed to pick up this book. I loved it. It was funny, beautiful, insightful and yes - hot. There were some wonderful little nuggets of realism, that brought some humor to the insane politics in the USA the last four years, and while I was mostly interested in the romance between Alex and Henry, I found myself invested in the secondary plotline of the election. If I had to pick something I didn't like about this book, it would be that it is written in third person - present tense. When I read a book, I want to get lost in it, and I found myself constantly obsessing over this, which is a bummer. I can put that aside though, because this book is written beautifully, combining wit, and intelligent, insightful passages that make you fall further in love with the message of this book.
The best part of this book is the characters, and the amazing interactions and dialogue between them. If I wasn't laughing at some insane thing someone said, or silly argument between characters, I was swooning over love letters, or moments where Alex and Henry obviously love one another, or trying not to combust at the delicious, sexy scenes. There were times I got teary eyed, when Henry (spoiler)---------> pulls away, and how his family reacts when he comes out. <------------. The side characters are just as amazing!
The second best thing were the references to pop culture. One of my favorites is this one, which I think takes a dig at Fifty Shades of Grey. I fucking cackled.:
"This seems .... excessive, like the kind of paperwork you get from some perverted millionaire who wants to hunt you for sport."
Red, White and Royal Blue is a standalone, but I know a lot of fans of this book are hoping for a sequel. I feel like there is a story there for June (I know Pez is head over heels for her, but I think a second chance romance with her ex in California is an option too), and maybe Nora will find another person out there who loves numbers as much as she does! Who knows? I genuinely was impressed by this book, and I can't wait to see what else Casey has in store for us.
The cake disaster
Alex and Henry seeing one another for the first time at their PR weekend, and insulting one another right away, hidden under smiles of course for the camera
Henry talking to the little girl at the children's hospital
Alex calling Henry a hufflepuff-ass bitch, and Henry clarifying his dog is a Slytherin
THE TURKEY HAHAHAHAHA
That first kiss.
Their make out in the "red room"
Their first time hooking up
Their email exchanges. Like, all of them. Delish.
June confronting Alex
Karaoke and bathroom hookup!
The first time they have sex
Wimbleton spite sex
Henry literally tumbling out of the closet, and Zahra freaking out
Alex's Mom and Dad's reactions to him coming out to them
Alex and Henry skinny dipping in the lake
Alex flying to London to get Henry back
Alex sending Henry a list of reasons he loves him
Bea spilling tea on Philip's lap, so she had an excuse to drag him out of the meeting with the queen
Never tell me the odds
Henry breaking the royal rule about making a statement with fashion, and wearing a tie with yellow roses on it for good luck on election night
Where to Buy
June: "Do either of you know what a viscount is? I've met like, five of them, and I keep smiling politely as if I know what it means when they say it. Alex, you took comparative international governmental relational things. Whatever. What are they?"
Alex: "I think it's that thing when a vampire creates an army of crazed sex waifs and starts his own ruling body."
Nora: "That sounds right."
June: "I wish I were a viscount. I could have my sex waifs deal with my emails."
Alex: "Are sex waifs good with professional correspondence?"
Nora: "I think it could be an interesting approach. Their emails would be all tragic and wanton."
She tries on a breathless, husky voice
Nora: "Oh, please, I beg you, take me - take me to lunch to discuss fabric samples, you beast!"
Alex: "Could be weirdly effective."
June: "Something is wrong with both of you."
Ellen: "Sugar, I cannot express to you how much the press does not give a fuck about who started what. As your mother, I can appreciate that maybe this isn't your fault, but as the president, all I want is to have the CIA fake your death and ride the dead-kid sympathy into a second term."
Ellen: "You're a dumbass. Love you."
Zahra: "Both sides need to come out of this looking good, and the only way to do that is to make it look like your little slap-fight at the wedding was some homoerotic frat boy mishap, okay? So, you can hate the heir to the throne all you want, write mean poems about him in your diary, but the minute you see a camera, you act like the sun shines out of his dick, and you make it convincing."
Alex: "I'll do it. But I won't have any fun."
Zahra: "God, I hope not."
June: "Y'all are such assholes! He seems really nice!"
Alex: "That's because you are a nerd. You want to protect those of your own species. It's a natural instinct."
Alex: "Hey, what do you think Zahra put on my fact sheet?"
Nora: "Hmm. Favorite summer Olympic sport: rhythmic gymnastics -"
Alex: "I'm not ashamed of that."
Nora: "Favorite brand of khakis: Gap."
Alex: "Listen, they look best on my ass. The J. Crew ones wrinkle all weird. And they're not khakis, they're chinos. Khakis are for white people."
Nora: "Allergies: dust, Tide laundry detergent, and shutting the fuck up."
June: "Age of first filibuster: nine, at SeaWorld San Antonio, trying to force an orca wrangler into early retirement for, quote, 'inhumane whale practices.' "
Alex: "I stood by it then, and I stand by it now."
Alex: "I'm going to throw up on you."
Henry: "Hello, Alex. You look ... sober."
Alex: "Only for you, Your Royal Highness."
he says with an elaborate mock-bow
Henry: "You're too kind."
He swings one long leg over and dismounts from his horse gracefully, removing his glove and extending a hand to Alex. A well dressed stable hand basically springs up out of the ground to whisk the horse away by the reins.
Alex has probably never hated anything more.
Alex: "This is idiotic."
Alex says, grasping Henry's hand. This skin is soft, probably exfoliated and moisturized daily by some royal manicurist. There's a royal photographer right on the other side of the fence so he smiles winningly and says through his teeth
Alex: "Let's get it over with."
Henry: "I'd rather be waterboarded."
Henry says, smiling back. The camera snaps nearby. His eyes are big and soft and blue, and he desperately needs to be punched in one of them.
Henry: "Your country could probably arrange that."
Alex throws his head back and laughs handsomely, loud and false.
Alex: "Go fuck yourself."
Henry: "Hardly enough time."
Henry: "...Star Wars fan, are you?"
Claudette: "Oh, it's my absolute favorite. I'd like to be just like Princess Leia when I'd older, because she's so tough and smart and strong, and she gets to kiss Han Solo."
Henry: "You know what, I think you've got the right idea."
Claudette: "Who's your favorite?"
Henry: "Hmm. I always liked Luke. He's brave and good, and he's the strongest Jedi of them all. I think Luke is proof that it doesn't matter where you come from or who your family is - you can always be great if you're true to yourself."
Beth: "That's no way to address the prince. Terribly sorry, Your Highness."
Henry: "No need to apologize. Rebel commanders outrank royalty."
Henry: "Return of the Jedi."
Henry: "To answer your question, Yes, I do like Star Wars, and my favorite is Return of the Jedi."
Alex: "Oh. Wow, you're wrong."
Henry puffs out the tiniest, most poshly indignant puff of air.
Henry: "How can I be wrong about my own favorite? It's a personal truth."
Alex: "It's a personal truth that is wrong and bad."
Henry: "Which do you prefer, then? Please show me the error of my ways."
Alex: "Okay, Empire."
Henry: "So dark, though."
Alex: "Yeah, which is what makes it good. It's the most thematically complex. It's got the Han and Leia kiss in it, you meet Yoda, Han is at the top of his game, fucking Lando Calrissian, and the best twist in cinematic history. What does Jedi have? Fuckin' ewoks."
Henry: "Ewoks are iconic."
Alex: "Ewoks are stupid."
Henry: "But Endor."
Alex: "But Hoth."
Alex: "Here. That's my number. If we're gonna keep this up, it's going to get annoying to keep going through handlers. Just text me. We'll figure it out."
Henry: "Right. Thank you."
Alex: "No booty calls."
Henry chokes on a laugh
Ellen: "Hi, babies."
Alex and June: " 'Lo."
Alex and June mumble in unison through mouthfuls of food.
Ellen sighs and looks over at Leo.
Ellen: "I did that, didn't I? No goddamn manners. Like a couple of little opossums. This is why they say women can't have it all."
HRH Prince Dickhead: You are the thistle in the tender and sensitive arse crack of my life.
HRH Prince Dickhead: I've just received a 5-kilo parcel of Ellen Claremont campaign buttons with your face on them. Is this your idea of a prank?
Alex: just trying to brighten up that wardrobe, sunshine.
HRH Prince Dickhead: I hope this gross miscarriage of campaign funds is worth it to you. My security thought is was a bomb. Shaan almost called in the sniffer dogs.
Alex: oh, definitely worth it. even more worth it now. tell Shaan i say hi and i miss that sweet sweet ass xoxoxo
HRH Prince Dickhead: I will not.
Henry: I think he's cute.
Alex: that's because you can't hear all the menacing gobbling.
Henry: Yes, famously the most sinister of all animal sounds, the gobble.
Alex: "You know what, you little shit, you can hear it for yourself and then tell me how you would handle this -"
Henry: "Alex? Have you really rung me at three o'clock in the morning to make me listen to a turkey?"
Alex: "Yes, obviously."
He glances at cornbread and cringes.
Alex: "Jesus Christ, it's like they can see into your soul. Cornbread knows my sins, Henry. Cornbread knows what I have done, and he is here to make me atone."
Henry: "Let's hear the cursed gobble, then"
Alex: "Okay, brace yourself."
He switches to speaker and gravely holds out the phone
Nothing. Ten long seconds of nothing.
Henry: "Truly harrowing."
Henry: "So what are you going to do now? Are you going to stay up all night with them?"
Alex: "I don't know! I guess! I don't know what else to do!"
Henry: "You couldn't just go sleep somewhere else? Aren't there a thousand rooms in that house?"
Alex: "Okay, but, uh, what if they escape? I've seen Jurassic Park. Did you know birds are directly descended from raptors? That's a scientific fact. Raptors in my bedroom, Henry. And you want me to go to sleep like they're not gonna bust out of their enclosures and take over the island the minute I close my eyes? Okay. Maybe your white ass."
Alex: yo there's a bond marathon on nd did you know your dad was a total babe.
HRH Prince Dickhead: I BEG YOU TO NOT
Alex: "Numbers on me being into dudes?"
Nora: "Seventy-eight percent probability of latent bisexual tendencies. One hundred percent probability this is not a hypothetical question."
Alex: "I seriously hope you die. Yes, he was a good kisser, and there was tongue."
Nora: "I fucking knew it. Still waters, deep dicking."
Nora: "Prince Henry is a biscuit. Let him sop you up."
Alex: "I'm leaving."
Alex: "Can you get Henry away from his table?"
Nora: "Is this a diabolical scheme of seduction? If so, yes."
Henry: "Should we -"
Henry: "I mean, er, should we, I dunno, slow down?"
Henry says, cringing so hard at himself that one eye closes.
Henry: "Go for dinner first, or -"
Alex: "We just had dinner."
Henry: "Right. I meant - I just thought -"
Alex: "Stop thinking."
Henry: "Yes. Gladly."
Henry: "I'm going to die."
Alex: "I'm going to kill you."
Henry: "Yes, you are."
Henry fumbles with his shirt tail, eyes wide, and starts humming "God Save the Queen" under his breath.
Alex: "What are you doing?"
Henry: "Christ, I'm tryin to make it -"
he gestures inelegantly at the front of his pants
Henry: " - go away."
Alex: "You are gonna go be, like, five hundred feet away from me for the rest of the night, or else I am going to do something that I will deeply regret in front of a lot of very important people."
Henry: "All right ..."
Alex: "And then,"
He grabs Henry's tie again, close to the knot, and draws his mouth up to a breath away from Henry&