Ok so I was super hesitant to pick up this book (or download a kindle copy). Why? Well, a cheesy title, fan-fiction-y plot line, and overall something that seemed like it had to be poorly written. But I read it in only a couple of days. I just subscribed to Book of the Month to get a physical copy (hardcover!!) So moral of the story is don't judge a book by its plot line, apparently. Because this was
Like????? What??? It made me cry and only like 3 books have ever made me cry before.
(So Much I Want to Tell You: Letters to My Little Sister by Anna Akana, one of Jodi Taylor's Chronicles of St. Mary's, can't remember which one, and Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassidy when I was 7.) And now this. And I need to talk about it. Because I'm sure it will become a movie soon (and I have a desire to play Nora. Hello production people I can act and will be the best choice for Nora, not to sound biased) and I want more people to be excited about it. There's so much to talk about as well.
If you have no clue what this book is about, here's the tag line:
When his mother became President, 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 the 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.
So basically, without spoiling anything, Red, White, & Royal Blue is about this dude named Alex who thinks he hates the prince but he kinda sorta loves him. And I've read so. many. books about a girl who thinks she hates a boy but they fall in love (in fact I just read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and it was exactly that) but this story covered so many topics from politics to race, to gender and sexuality and ISN'T CRINGEY! (but it definitely PG-13 or higher) And I would like to gush about it, thank you. (No spoilers)
1. My guy Alex is like haha the Prince of England (Henry) is annoying but hot,,, anyway
You know what's gonna happen, they fall in love. But it's so much more than that because this 21 year old boy thinks he's straight but for some reason is obsessed with the Prince and is like, 'weird, anyway' after thinking some pretty gay thoughts, if I do say so. And you read about his thought process of coming to terms and accepting himself.
2. Lots of diversity!!
About half the cast is LGBT and a lot of POC characters. You get excited when you listen to a new character's description. There are so many authors who sprinkle in diverse characters that aren't relevant to the story and only appear once or are subtly referenced in order to make you forget there's no diversity. But bam, you have Alex, Henry, Nora, Amy, Rafael are the LGBT cast. Alex, June, Oscar, Rafael, and Percy are all POC. Fantastic, amazing, and I need more of this diversity, thank you.
3. Well developed characters
You are given just the right amount of description for all the characters. Opposed to *cough* Becky Albertalli *cough* who *cough* needs to let you know that everyone loves Harry Potter all the time for some reason *cough*, McQuiston ties everything in at some point. Which is kind of a writing tip. Give your characters 0 background and add on as you need someone to have a special skill. Tie quirks into those skills. Boom.
You get just enough of Alex and friends' backgrounds. Their goals. Their attitude. All important to understanding him and the story. And not shoved in your face all at the beginning. It comes up naturally though conversation and the plot. You get a glimpse into the White House and his family without it seeming like it was overwhelming. Each character played an important part. There were no toss-away characters at all.
4. Believable dialogue
You can feel Alex and Henry's frustration through the dialogue and descriptions. Literally, the anger they felt, I felt. And it made me spend hours reading and wanting them to kiss and make up. Zero cringe. No going zero to one hundred just to further the story. Every argument and trope was completely understandable and backed up by series of events. Every word was cute and they are in love and you know it. Like this could 100% happen in real life and I'd be like yeah this is happening. I'm questioning if Casey McQuiston is from another universe where she was Alex and this is all real.
5. Thorough Plot
God, I wish the description on the back of the book said more about what this book was really about. It's not just two boys falling in love and oh no there's an ex!! or something that is generic. It's about coming to terms with sexuality, unrequited love, family support, misinterpretation, government scandals, inequality, career, following your dreams, following your heart, presentation, reputation, race, gender, legacy, and so. much. more. No plot holes and a good ending. Amazing writing and overall an incredible story (that made me cry)
Like if you have not decided you are going to read this book by now, I don't know what to say. Like please read it I have never read a better book and I have read a lot of books.
Thanks for listening and here's a link to get it on Amazon because I so desperately want you to read this book and talk to me about it. Not sponsored, but oh how I wish I was.