After seeing some glowing reviews for Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston we both new we had to request it on Netgalley. And we were both very lucky and were approved right away! This NA contemporary sounded super cute and we couldn’t wait to read it. So let’s see if it lived up to our expectations!
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…
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. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
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. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?
Isabelle This cover is super simple and it’s just the way I like it! I love the colors they used for the cover and the drawings of Alex and Henry. It would’ve been such a waste if they used photos of actual models for this. I’m happy I got to use my own imagination.
Candyce A lot of NA and romance books use actual models for the covers, but I’m so happy that didn’t happen with Red, White & Royal Blue. It would’ve been out of place with this story in my opinion. I love the colors and the drawings we get of our two main characters.
“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.”
Isabelle I don’t read a lot of NA books, and contemporary isn’t the genre I gravitate towards that much but I still really wanted to read this one! Red, White & Royal Blue is exactly the type of contemporary story I do love to read. Super cute and honestly the most swoon worthy romance ever!
You can typically tell where a story like this is going to go so the plot wasn’t that surprising to me. However, the way everything was handled, how most characters reacted, those things were pretty surprising to me. I don’t think I ever read a novel where the supporting cast of characters was actually this supporting. For me personally, this all read very realistic but also extremely comforting. I loved the sibling relationships and how supporting Alex’s parents were.
From the moment you get Alex and Henry in a room together you start shipping them. Their banter was definitely #goals and I adored all their interactions. Although their emails might be my favorite! I highlighted so much of them. The opening to their emails was usually hilarious (To: Alex, First Son of Off-Brand England), the P.S. was usually beautiful and everything in between was both heartbreaking and heartwarming.
I think that also sums up this story quite well, I laughed out loud, I cried quite some tears, my heart broke, and it was also filled with a shit ton of love. This has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary novels ever and not many get that much praise. The romance between Alex and Henry was incredibly swoon worthy, they’re the best couple of basically ever. I adore them so so much and I might be a little jealous of their relationship haha. The bar for a future bf is once again raised 😉 Oh! We also get a ton of references to pop-culture and I always love that.
“Straight people, he thinks, probably don’t spend this much time convincing themselves they’re straight.”
Candyce Unlike Isabelle, I actually read a lot of NA/Romance and contemporary is a genre I love. Before I requested this book, I had actually heard quite a few amazing reviews. So that definitely didn’t make it hard to decide to request this one on Netgalley.
Red, White & Royal Blue has a plot that isn’t really unique in the way you know how it’s going to end, but the way we get that story is. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance between the president’s son (and come on, we get a woman president in this book, that scores points!) and a prince. That’s just swoon-worthy to start with!
The characters in this story are in no way perfect and I loved that. Seeing both Alex and Henry figuring out how they feel, the characters surrounding them responding to that and on top of that, it wasn’t only romance. Alex really has to think about what he wants in life career-wise and I loved seeing that in this story as well.
From the start I wanted Alex and Henry to get a happily ever after. The banter and way they act with each other is hilarious and it only gets better when the romance gets going. I love how they communicated and the e-mails and texts were my favorite part of the book. I probably would’ve been completely okay with a book full of e-mails between these two.
I think the biggest compliment I can give Red, White & Royal Blue is that it gave me all the feels! While reading I laughed, cried, swooned and had a silly smile on my face. I really came to care for these characters and was actually really sad when the book was over.
I have a feeling Red, White & Royal Blue will be making my favorites list at the end of the year. It has amazing characters, swoon-worthy romance, humor, all the feels and to make it even more perfect, a ton of pop-culture references that made my heart very happy!
“Never tell me the odds.”
Isabelle The story was good, but what made it great and unforgettable were the characters. I adored every one of both the main and the secondary characters and I hope we get a novella of a companion novel with them haha.
Alex is our main, main character as we only read from his perspective. He’s the biracial son of the first female President of the USA and he’s figuring out that he made not be straight like he always thought. Alex was a great main character and I enjoyed reading about him a lot! Henry is our other main character and the Prince of England. Does it get any more romantic than that? He is a closeted gay to almost everyone and he’s the most precious thing ever. It breaks my heart that there are people out in the world who can’t be themselves because other people are assholes. And reading about Henry just made that really clear once again. I truly hope reading this book can be a source of comfort for a lot of (queer) people.
There is also the amazing cast of supporting characters. Most important are June, Nora, Pez and Bea. June and Nora are Alex’s sister and best friend and they’re the White House Trio. I adored their relationships and I think Nora was just the best. She was quite relatable for me! Pez is Henry’s best friend and Bea is his sister and I believe the only person in his family that knows he’s gay. I loved all of the sibling love in this novel! And Pez was one of the most colorful characters I ever read about haha. All of these characters are simply amazing and made this story so wonderful!
“First, you’ve been, like, Draco Malfoy–level obsessed with Henry for years—do not interrupt me—and since the royal wedding, you’ve gotten his phone number and used it not to set up any appearances but instead to long-distance flirt with him all day every day.”
Candyce Like I said before, romances can be pretty predictable and it’s the characters that really make or break a story. Red, White & Royal Blue has an amazing cast of characters and I need more. I wouldn’t mind at all if the author gave us more in the future!
Alex is our main character and the story is told from his POV. In all honesty, I think that’s the only little negative thing in this book for me. I would’ve loved to have more Henry as well! That is beside the point though, back to Alex. He actually goes through a journey in this book. Alex is the biracial son of the President of the United States and he’s starting to figure out his sexuality isn’t all what he though. Coming to the conclusion he’s bisexual is big for him, but I loved seeing this journey. Alex has always thought his life would go a certain way, but slowly realizes that things don’t always go as planned!
Henry, the Prince of England, is such a fun character. He’s genuine, smart, romantic and really funny. My heart really broke for him at times. Being a part of the Royal family really prevented him from being who he is. Henry has to fit a certain part and being gay wasn’t in this list of approved responses and that is so sad. Everyone should be able to be who they want to be!
What really completed this book was the amazing cast of supporting characters. We have the Whitehouse Trio: Alex, June (his sister) and Nora. For Henry it’s Pez and Bea (his sister). These characters support our main characters without question and they’re so much fun together. It’s been awhile since I read a book where the supporting characters played a big part in the book. I loved how they all interacted and how much support Alex and Henry could count on! Out of all of them, I think Pez is my favorite. He’s over the top, but so much fun!
“That’s the choice. I love him, with all that, because of all that. On purpose. I love him on purpose.”
We both really loved this book!! This one will definitely be getting a place on our shelves. What was the last ‘royal’ book you read?