Rating: 4.5 / 5
I have looked longingly from afar at the book boxes people receive, but I didn’t have the best experience with the one I did order last year. After only two months of shipping delays and other issues, the box went under. Still, seeing all those wonderful boxes out there, I vowed to make a better decision next time and Unplugged Book Box was definitely a good choice!
After stalking unboxing photos for a while, I finally signed up for a subscription and was thrilled to get my first box. The theme was quite appropriately Pride for June and the contents were lovely! When I unwrapped RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE (complete with a signature and letter from the author Casey McQuiston!) I had to move it to the top of my TBR after seeing all of the buzz about it on Bookstagram.
Now, on to the book itself…
RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston follows America’s First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz, a college student still living at home (at the White House) with his mom (the President of the United States). While attending a royal wedding in England Alex has a bit too much to drink and a run in with his nemesis Prince Henry leads to the destruction of a $75,000 wedding cake and an international publicity nightmare. With his mother’s reelection coming up and both the first family and royal family looking to salvage the situation, Alex and Henry are forced into a PR friendship which slowly develops into something more.
This book was a really fun rom-com and an excellent debut novel. McQuiston develops the relationship between Alex and Henry quite naturally from a slowly budding but strained friendship into a romance through text messages, emails and brief visits, complete with the complications of living a life in the spotlight.
The supporting cast of characters feel more real than they often are in such books and I especially enjoyed Alex’s sister and their best friend Nora (who also happens to be Alex’s ex and the VP’s granddaughter). They have a supportive and well developed friendship, showing unflinching loyalty while still giving Alex grief at every opportunity. President Mom is a woman who works to do the best for her country, but supporting her children does come first.
Henry also has a sister and best friend to add to the story, though we didn’t get quite as much from them as the narrative primarily comes from Alex’s side. Henry does have the biggest family hurdles to overcome with the ultra conservative Queen and an older brother concerned with continuing the family bloodlines and maintaining propriety.
The author speaks to this book being an alternate reality to the way our election went in the U.S. in 2016 and this definitely paints a much more positive picture of acceptance than we often see in the real world today. In a rom-com, we want the happy ending we can’t always get in the real world and this book delivers.
Having worked briefly in the world of politics and elections briefly many years ago (though on a much smaller scale than working on a presidential campaign), I enjoyed getting some glimpses of the political world at work. Who doesn’t love a good election night party where you’re running on coffee and adrenaline waiting (hopefully) for confirmation that your candidate has won?
I am glad that I had a chance to pick up RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE and I thoroughly enjoyed flying through the pages. I will definitely be looking to see what Casey McQuiston brings to the table next!