Title: Red, White, & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: Fiction | Drama | Romance | Friendship | LGBTQ+
Content Warnings: Homophobia | Drug Usage | Sexual Assault Mention
Overall Rating: 10/10
Personal Opinion: Outrageously hilarious. The interactions between Alex and his friends will have you cracking up. But the steamy romance growing between Alex and Henry will have your heart melted into a pile of goo. There’s just no way to put this book down as you read the way Alex, son of the first female president of the US, and Henry, heir to the throne of England, fall in love with each other, creating the hottest international scandal in decades.
Couple Classification: Alex X Henry = Nerd/Prep X Prep
Do I Own This Book? Yes! It was one of multiple Christmas gifts that I bought for myself!
Spoilers Below For My Likes & Dislikes:
- First and foremost, this book is ridiculously funny. The witty and intelligent banter between The White House trio as well as Alex and Henry is truly top- notch. Zahra also delivers the best lines in regards to giving lectures to Alex. But one of my favorite pieces of dialogue has to be when Alex came out to his mother, Ellen, and she just made a whole Powerpoint to discuss the possibilities of international scandal when it came to him dating the prince of Wales. She even got some pamphlets on safe sex from Planned Parenthood! It killed me!
- Nora and her chaotic bisexuality is just beautiful. “I don’t know. I touched a boob. It wasn’t that profound.” “If you let me, I will show you one boob. The good one.” “You’re so hot when you get indignant.” Like babe, I just love you so much. She’s also so brilliant. The moment when she burst into the Oval Office after disappearing for two days with proof that Alex was set up to be outed by Republicans is just amazing. I loved her sleep deprived ass so much at that moment. I will also never forget how Alex went to London and instead of being worried about him, she just let June freak the fuck out before texting, “Hey, has anyone seen my Chuck Taylors?” She’s a comedy genius.
- The email and text convos between Alex and Henry were honestly so romantic. And so steamy too. You could feel the desire and yearning in their words. They have such distinct writing styles too. It matches their upbringings and overall demeanor. They opened up a lot more too in the emails than in person, in my opinion. I mean, they got really horny in each other’s presence and I do not blame them but that’s why I appreciate how much they just open up in their texts. But also, that first phone call will forever have me rolling. Thanksgiving, Alex persuaded his mother to let him keep the turkeys in his room, and he is terrified of the birds. He and Henry have such a cute conversation and Henry does an amazing job at just being there for him. Also their insults and jabs at one another are honestly so cute. Like, you can tell that they’re enjoying it and like each other’s company even when it’s poking fun at one another.
- The horny scenes were truly something else. They were so sexy and steamy and utterly captivating. From the moment Alex took Henry away from the dinner at the White House to furiously make out with him? I had to fan myself. Poor Amy, having to be dragged into it. I do love the inner circle of the ones in the know though.
- Alex being repressed is so funny because it’s not from any homophobic upbringing. He’s just stupid and it never even occurred him. He casually had thoughts about Shaan, Luna, and even Henry’s dad as these hot men and it just never once occurred to him that it was not admiration and in fact, sexual attraction. Then, when he does realize it, he’s flabbergasted as to how he never realized it. He was like the last one to realize it! Nora knew and June also had suspicions. His dad could tell right away when Alex and Henry were in close proximity to one another. His mom was not the least bit shocked by the coming out (only the fact that his “special someone” was the heir to the British empire). For God’s sake, Alex even made out with his friend Liam and it just never occurred to him that it meant more than just horny teens being horny teens. I truly think that this is the funniest form of repression.
- Bea and Catherine being in Henry’s corner is so fucking important to me. Especially as someone whose mother has been absent for most of his life. In Henry’s case, he knew what it was like to have a mom who wasn’t checked out. She was capable of it. But she shut down after the passing of his father to cancer. But as soon as he was in a crisis because he had been outed, his mother came back to him. She did all she could to protect him from Queen Mary’s iron fist and I’d cry tears of joy for her if I really wanted to. Because when her son was in trouble, she finally found the strength to stand up and that was just so admirable.
- The whole cast is so diverse and colorful. They all have such dynamic personalities even if they don’t talk much. Amy is an Asian trans lesbian (with a wife too!) with many confirmed kills and likes to knit. Cash is also a secret service member and he very casually comes out to the reader as pansexual with the flag stitched into his jacket, a gift from Amy. Rafael Luna is a Senator, he’s gay, he’s Latino, and he really infiltrated the guy running against Ellen to take him down from the inside. He’s a hero. Then we also have Pez who is black and rich and needed more screentime honestly. This book has sexuality, POC, women in positions of power, blended families, and even covers drug addiction. It’s such a wide range and I truly love and respect the hell out of it for that.
- Something else I love is the acknowledgment of so many queer historical figures. They did not shy away from the love letters passed between those of the same sex and calling the letters romantic. I especially love the reminder of the very blatant gayness of King James I and his romantic relationship with George Villiers. Henry, as a repressed gay, had to find all new avenues to explore his identity. And turning to history and living vicariously through his ancestors/people from his country is exactly how I do it too so that makes him very relatable to me.
- The last chapter is kind of everything to me. It was totally intense and enrapturing. I love Alex and Liam reconnecting after all these years. Especially after their last interaction when Liam was annoyed with him. But he was always on Alex’s side and he even has a handsome boyfriend to parade around. I truly loved it. Good for all of them, honestly. They deserved that happy ending.
- The pacing is kind of choppy in the beginning. From the moment they get into this arrangement of pretending to be best friends, it feels like the events of the day just zip by. Even when they were suddenly pushed into the closet because of supposed “gunfire” at the hospital. They also become rather used to each other kinda quickly. Although I suppose they hadn’t actually contacted each other afterward until much later. I am willing to let it pass though. Because once you hit a stride, it flows much better.
- Ayyyyy, fuck you Queen Mary and Rep. presidential nominee Richards. You’re both assholes for very different reasons but of course, they were meant to be asses. So this isn’t really a thing to hold against the book. It is very infuriating that Richards violated the privacy of the First Family and the Royal Family and still somehow managed to almost win the election. But I guess that also reflects reality in a way. Because oh my god, 2016-2020 in reality has been a nightmare. Not only that, but Richards also preyed on young interns in their teens! Also regardless of gender. And this guy is out here spouting fucking nonsense about the sanctity of traditional values and also saying the security at the White House is too lax. A hypocrite, a liar, and a complete douche. God, what a relief he fucking lost.
- I’m not sure how I feel about the nickname “H” for Henry. I mean, I get that the first letter of a name can be a nickname but H is such an unsexy letter to say. “Z” for Zahra is way better. But “H”? I mean, really? I thought it was just a nickname to use in the start of emails and texts but no, both Alex and Bea used it in person! I don’t get it. Personally.
- I think it was kind of a missed opportunity to not address June’s concerns about their family. She was right in the end. It really felt like their mother and father cared more about work than them as a family. But I do think Ellen came to the realization that she needs a better work-life balance with the conversation she had with Alex post-outing. I think it was meant to be this big revelation for June as well. That their mom would be there for them when it came to it and even the presidency or the election could be side-barred if need be. So while I think it works, I wish we saw more of June’s reaction to it rather than leaving it open-ended.
- Kind of wish we knew the fate of Pez and June. I also just want to know more about Amy and Cash. I just love them. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing to not focus on them. I mean, the story isn’t even about them. I just love them so much. Anyway, I’m basically out of complaints already. And most of these were barely complaints, in my opinion.