Audiobook Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal BlueRed, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex/Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of the family and state and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Stage a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. It raises the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to ben? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? , how will history remember you?

Warnings: homophobia, character is outed, discussion of racism, mentions of substance abuse

Note: This book is not YA

Oh this was cute and fluffy, and flirty and fun – and has the best tropes of the enemies-to-lovers niche. Alex and his sister June and ex/best-friend Nora are the White House trio, practically royalty, and quite influential and in the public eye; he has a contentious relationship with the actually royal British counterpart of theirs – Prince Henry, who had been rude to him One Time and he held a grudge for it since then. When they cause an uproar at Henry’s older brother Philip’s wedding, they are forced to fake a friendship to show that the relationships between the countries is totally smooth. As with any faked relationship, theirs turns real when they find a lot of commonality in their positions – having to be in the public eye, maintaining a certain image, etc, and then they also can’t resist their attraction to one another and embark on a secret relationship that has to be kept under wraps for the sake of both their positions.

Now, this book is against the backdrop of the 2020 US Elections, and Alex’s mom, the President, is running for Re-election against a racist alt-right candidate, and while his mom runs on a liberal queer-friendly platform, the fact that Henry is a political person of another country makes coming out with their relationship a tad risky, not to mention that Alex himself isn’t out as bisexual yet, and Henry’s family is a firm no-no on letting their gay member be openly gay to the public. There is a lot that goes into building their relationship – there is the snark and banter, the cute moments, the blatant flirting, but there is also a lot of understanding between them, which spares us unnecessary drama. Alex understands Henry’s problems, and vice versa – and while they start with a physical relationship, soon Alex realizes that he also wants to properly date him, which sets off its own problems as they can only make so many excuses to be in public together. There’s a lot going on, both with respect to their relationship and politically speaking, which fits for the narrator, Alex, as his life is defined by both those things.

As far as the audiobook narration goes, it was perfect! Alex’s voice comes out so well – his characterization with respect to voice is also so fitting with how he is written. Also loved the characterization for the mom’s voice, as well as Henry’s voice, though I found the dad’s voice to be a bit of a mismatch (he sounds like he is 60-70). Overall, it was quite enjoyable!

Is it diverse? bisexual and biracial main character; gay love interest with depression, gay minor character

View all my reviews


Buy links

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One thought on “Audiobook Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

  1. Pingback: Diversity Spotlight Thursday #99 | YA on my Mind

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