Red, White and Royal Blue
Take a Shot: Alex Diaz Claremont is the first son of the United States. Henry is the Prince of England. The two have always had a rivalry that comes to a head when they are both at the royal wedding of Phillip, Henry’s older brother, and it involves a royal cake ending on the floor. After this public debacle both men are forced to fake a friendship by their respective press teams. Their friendship however quickly becomes more than that as they begin to realize that their feelings may be more difficult to hide and their relationship even harder because of their public statuses.
I have recently been reading more books in the LGBTQ+ genre to help diversify my reading repertoire. I really loved reading this title and it definitely lived up to the buzz I have been hearing. My favorite part was the world building. There were a lot of real details added to both Alex and Henry’s lives that truly helped immerse me in the story. I loved the debrief meetings that Alex, Nora and June were involved in showing that being a part of the First Family is a job even when you aren’t the President. Another nuance was the code names given to each member of the family used by their security details. It made the presence of responsibility feel so real and tactile.
However, despite my love of McQuiston’s world building, I really struggled with the lack of genuine problems encountered in their relationship. I really didn’t believe that there was an issue that wouldn’t be resolved at the end and that was hard to buy into. I find that it is a great way to look closely at your own life when it is reflected in literature and in real life there is never a guarantee that it will all work out in the end. That is also why I didn’t entirely love the characters. I felt they were genuine in their confusion about the person they were growing up to be, but again I never believed they truly were concerned about their actions like the plot dictated that they be.
Overall, it was a great novel with poignant and timely messages. It was a good read for me at this point in my life to see perspectives on the way to handle the expectations we hold ourselves to. Alex faces a bit of an internal crisis where his proposed path in life is not exactly what he thought it would be. This New Adult novel hits this right on the head and makes Alex’s story relatable even though not many of us are First Sons dating an actual Prince Charming.
"Jumping off cliffs is kinda my thing. That's the choice. I love him, with all that, because of all that. On purpose. I love him on purpose."
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