Red, White & Royal Blue #BookReview

Book: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston

I fell head over heels in love with the endearing premise of this book even before I read it. The love story of the First Son of the United States and the British Prince — the stuff of dreams. So we have two delightful protagonists, Alex and Henry, with some political intrigue thrown in.

The narrative goes like this:

Alex Claremont the charismatic FSOTUS has hated Prince Henry all his life, or so he likes to believe. Then one day the two meet at a wedding. After an embarrassing misadventure, the two are put together to repair their damaged reputations through a picture-perfect (though fake), instragrammable friendship. That’s when they begin to open up to each other, share the struggles of constantly being in the public eye and lo and behold! sparks fly.

However, as always, the path of true love cannot but be strewn with thorns. Given their positions, the thorns are pricklier than ever.

Alex dreams of a career in politics and the odds are already rather precarious since he is half Mexican. Plus, he has to come to terms with his sexuality.

Prince Henry has always known he was gay but coming out doesn’t seem like an option. Getting the British Royal court to accept that their most eligible bachelor, their Prince Charming is gay is no easy task.

My thoughts

Red, White & Royal Blue was the 2019 winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards. I was looking for a light easy romance and it seemed perfect. And yet it didn’t have me gushing as I’d thought it would.

The story is told in the third person, mostly through Alex’s perspective. He’s smart and witty with a quicksilver tongue. I loved how clear and focussed he was in what he wanted from life. That said, Henry remained my favourite. I loved every bit of his understated, rather geeky persona and his subtle, very British sense of humour. I loved how keyed in he was about queer history. McQuiston weaves it in beautifully in the back and forth conversations he has with Alex.

There are a host of side characters. The First Family McQuiston builds up is delightfully warm and mushy.

As far as the British characters go, she was a tad bit unfair, settling for caricaturish stereotypes in her attempt at getting to the quintessential British stiff upper lip. All apart from Henry of course, who I thought was quite perfect.

My major beef with the book, and this was a big one, was the over liberal use of swear words. Despite being pegged as Young Adult fiction, it was peppered with the f*** word. That rankled. I couldn’t come to terms with families talking like that to each other not just in moments of stress but even otherwise.

Also, the rendezvous of the two lovelorn boys seemed highly improbable. I cannot see how two such prominent people could just ‘slip away’ during public events. However, I’m willing to forgive that in the name of creative license.

Those two factors took away from my enjoyment of the book, however, I do see why a romantic young adult would find it quite perfect.

Last thought: A mushy read for romantic YAs.

13 Replies to “Red, White & Royal Blue #BookReview”

  1. What is it with the ‘f’ word in every book these days? Or am I being prudish? 😉

    That said, it’s interesting that there are so many nuanced stories coming out over the years across different genres. Romance, by itself, is not a genre I really follow, so will skip this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God Shailaja, I thought the exact same thing — whether I was just too old and prudish for YA. There was one bit where the father playfully/affectionately calls his son, ‘You little shit’. While I don’t want to take away from the many good things about the book, bits like those were just not me.


  2. How interesting that young adult literature is now covering gay romance – a big step forward I must say. I guess using the ‘f’ word is just a good representation of how a majority of young people speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah possibly. But it took away from the book for me. I totally second the thought that authors are coming up with such unique romances. For that at least the story must be read.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am not exaggerating, Tulika, but more than the books you review, it’s your review that I love to read! I am not sure I will pick up this book, but I am going to read your review again and hope I learn something from it.


  4. Oh I’m not much for romance too, but this book was doing the rounds on social media and got me intrigued. I did not know it was a same sex love story. While I would like to real the “royal” take on it, I’ll just leave this one on by TBR for now.


  5. Beautiful review. My book reading during the Covid Crisis have gone down so badly that I don’t even dare say that will add to my TBR 😦 But your review was as good as reading a book. FYI, I have a book give away on my blog. Please do visit. I would be happy if serious readers like you win the book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a lovely review Tulika- you balance it out so well. I have been hearing about this one since some time now though my curiosity is yet to e piqued by it. I am with you on the swear words in YA books- what is with that trend? I wonder if I am “old” to not get it 🙂


  7. Aw it’s a shame this wasn’t quite as enjoyable for you as you were expecting. I get what you mean about sneaking off during official appearances – that seems super unlikely! Especially knowing how continuously stalked by the press royals are here in the UK.


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