Cover Image: Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue

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Member Reviews

The fake-dating and enemies-to-lovers trope at their finest! Alex is the son of the President. Prince Henry is a prince. They've had their disagreements in the past but in order to tame some bad publicity, it is decided that the two should fake a relationship. There is so much greatness in this book. I recommend it to fans of The Hating Game and The Royal We.
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<strong>I’m Calling It: My #1 Read of 2019.</strong>

i just devoured this book and I have so many emotions about it that I hope to craft in a succinct review once i can collect myself from the insane amount of feels and joy rn (also because I have to board a plane in 6 hours)

But very quickly, I AM LITERALLY IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK.

I could not recommend it more. The characters, the story, the writing, the plot, the PACING (omg the pacing), the VOICE... I just I could go on forever (and I will very soon with an update).

I have a feeling I’m going to be updating this review a few times in my lifetime because the only thing I want to do now that I’ve read this book is to read it again.

I received an e-ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and also bought a kindle version and a paperback copy as well (yes, I love this book that much, worth it all, zero regrets!)

Lovers of Star Wars, witty banter, amazing representation, Hamilton lovers, book nerds, and epic love stories that span continents, will ADORE this book.
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I received a copy of this book back in 2019 in exchange for an honest review, but I ended up not picking it up until today, so here is my belated review:

I will start by saying that from the description and the cover, I had a completely different idea of what this story was going to be like. Not the major plot points, of course, but I think I misjudged the levity and the tone it would have. I thought it was going to be a wholesome, adorable little story about the first son and the prince falling in love, which is fine, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how much depth the author added to this story. 

I cannot imagine how stifling the lives of people like Alex and Henry are, but I think this book probably comes pretty close to what it actually is like, or at least it tries. It doesn't shy away from showing how not glamorous living in the spotlight can be, and the insane amount of pressure that comes with it. 

From the beginning, I think the author does a really good job of setting up the story and its characters. You immediately feel like you get who Alex, Nora and June are, and it's pretty clear (and hilarious) what Alex thinks about Henry. Their animosity at the beginning is so fun to read and I actually laughed out loud when they do their first photo op in London. The progression of their relationship feels so natural that you end up falling in love with their love. It's very sweet (and funny). And their dynamic is great. 

What I liked: 
- Alex and Henry's relationship and how they got together. 
- The secondary characters. Nora, June and Ellen were my favorite. 
- The ending, I mean, they are so sweet and they deserve a happy ending <3 
- The accurate description of what it's like to live with anxiety and depressive episodes. Both Alex and Henry struggle, each in their own way, and I liked that it wasn't glossed over. 

Things that made me give this 4 stars and not 5 stars:
- There were a few "woke" comments throughout the story, calling out both American and English imperialism, but in the end, it felt a bit performative. The author knows her audience, she knows people reading this book aren’t enchanted by royal families like they might’ve been once, or by the lavish lives off the rich in America, so there are comments here and there that reflect that, but in the end, it’s just that. Throwaway comments to appease the more liberal readers but it feels like these characters don’t actually do anything about it. They still fly private jets everywhere, attend ridiculously expensive events and willfully participate in this society they supposedly criticize. 
- As soon as the main conflict was resolved, I lost interest. I couldn’t care about the rest of the story and actually wanted to skip the last 20 pages or so. 
- I found Henry a bit boring and the letters… I just wanted to skip the letters tbh. 
- All the Harry Potter and Star Wars references, but that's just a matter of personal preference haha
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I will not be giving feedback on this book as I couldn’t really get into it but I think others may enjoy it.
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** I WAS GIVEN THIS BOOK FOR MY READING PLEASURE **
Copy received through Netgalley

~

Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston
★☆☆☆☆

#SorryNotSorry This book is so FAR removed from my taste that it's unreal.
I worried about reading this, almost from Day 1, when the HUGE mass online love-fest began. I don't generally do well with books that are mass-loved and raved about (see Heartstopper!) so I waited a long time for the hype to die down before reading it, hoping that I would be wrong to worry, this time. I wasn't.
I really don't understand the hype this book has gotten, although I will admit that I didn't read the whole thing.

After twenty pages ... 20 pages! ... of the longest, most excruciating first chapter, I'm calling it. I can't read any more.
Why?

If I had to sum up what I've read so far in one sentence, it would be - a pretentious take on royal fan-fic that tries too damned hard to be clever.
Though I loathe the term "woke" and its implications, this book is screaming so hard that it's the wokest thing to ever exist in book form, while simultaneously stomping all over anything that's not woke to be woke about.

There...I said it. After just 10 pages, it actually made me mad, rather than just disappointed that another "too perfect to exist" book has been a total let down. If I hadn't been given this for review by Netgalley, I probably would have DNF'd at about page 3-5. That's when Alex began grating on my last nerve. But, I always promise myself to give it one chapter to suck me in. Only, this one pushed me away with a shove hard enough to knock over a disgustingly expensive cake.
See what I did there? It's still funnier than the actual scene, IMHO.

Alex - the MC - is utterly disgusting as a main character, so far. Pathetic, entitled (despite the convenient "from a small town, has a hard working mother, and is so smart he could make it on his own merits" attempt to prove he's *not* actually entitled) and a general jerk. His crude jokes, arrogance and selfish nature come across instantly.
On p3, I literally rolled my eyes at the gag-enducing "his sex symbol stock would plummet" quote.
By p4, even Alex (and the author) openly admit he's problematic with "Alex was narcissistic enough to let June read him the highlights".
The "banter" between Alex and June is more like reading insults to see who can be more stuck up, while feeling unrealistic for people their age.

The very brief parts I saw of Henry show that he's a typical upper crust Brit. Not rude, not friendly, but overly polite. And somehow, this is the ONLY reason he and Alex are arch-enemies??? Because it's all one-sided, invented in Alex's head as a feud, when it simply comes across as Henry not giving a stuff about him and Alex being so selfish and self-centred that he can't bear it. So, now, every time they meet or Alex even hears Henry's name, he makes out that Henry is the ultimate of all evils. Really??? That's the big story?? Just because Alex needs to be the centre of attention AT ALL TIMES and he barely exists to Henry?
That's kind of pathetic, and a really weak plot point for an enemies-to-lovers story.

The disdain and sneering about the British monarchy is just...unreal. There's a teeny tiny attempt to have June remind Alex that the Great US have their dark history too, but it comes across weak and disingenuous. The constant repetition suggests this isn't just Alex's opinion but a deep rooted Author slip.
And, I'm sorry - but who allowed this to actually be published "'Archnemesis' implies he's actually a rival to me on any level and not, you know, a stuck-up product of inbreeding who probably jerks off to photos of himself."
No, June, that's not cause for a "Woof". That's cause for a lawsuit. Because, let's face it - are we really going to ignore the fact that this is about the "prince of Wales" (which is a title with NO real meaning, as there is no prince of Wales anymore) and that "Henry" is really just a substitute for Harry? Because it's not hard to see that this is a total fan-fic about Prince Harry in a not-great disguise. And, also, that the author hasn't got the first clue how Britain or the monarchy *actually* functions.
But, if this "anti-Britishness" is just some way to show how much Alex and Henry are/should/will be enemies, then don't. There are better ways to do this.

I'm sorry, but I don't care how patriotic a character is – to whatever country – don't stomp all over another country to make theirs look better. Because, that's how all this anti-Britishness from Alex came across. It felt like the British Monarchy was used for the “swoon-factor” of a romance with the not-technically-a-royal First Son, but that the British were generally treated like a caricature so archaic that it feels like someone hasn't cracked a history book in a while.
I'm Scottish, so I'm not pro-English or super-stoked for the Monarchy, but that doesn't mean it should be trashed like this. If you don't like it, then DON'T USE IT. Simple AF. Create a fictional country, like in Princess Diaries, but don't trample over one country just to make another look better, when we all know the world isn't as sunshine as daisies as it's portrayed here.

Overall, I think the main problem is a theme of superiority. It came across in Alex's opinion of himself, and in the general state of America vs Britain. It was a constant battle of who is better, and that's not how the world works. Neither the UK nor USA are perfect. We both have dark pasts. We all make mistakes. But the way it's portrayed here – and the way Alex and Henry are pitted against each other, in Alex's own POV – makes it feel like there can only be one winner.
That does NOT make me hopeful of a romance between the two. And considering the reviews I read – after I DNF'd – the fact that it's all physical and not one-ounce emotional, leaves me feeling like I'm not missing out on anything by stopping now.

~

Sorry, but I have better things to do with my time. Other people love this book, and that's great for them. I'm glad they love it and can see what I clearly can't. But it's not for me.
Sadly, I couldn't find anything to like in the pages I read, and I really don't feel like torturing myself by continuing with a book that plucks at my last nerve like an expert harpist. It would be a disservice to me and my time, and to the book and the author, for me to keep going.

If you want to read a great royalty YA romance, with strong characters and a clever plot, try The King is Dead, by Benjamin Dean.
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I will probably never be able to fully articulate how amazing this book is and what it means to me, but I will try.
McQuiston demonstrates an expert understanding of romantic comedies through their debut novel. She hits all the right notes and plot points, filling it with love, humor, chemistry, and the best tropes. Beyond that, the novel is imbued with so many expressions of queerness. I have never felt so seen or understood as I did when reading Alex’s scene of realizing his sexuality. RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE will make you laugh, cry, and sweat.
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I really enjoyed this story! I found the two high profile families very topical and appropriate with the present day society of the fascination with the royal family or first family. A refreshingly fun read.
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I was afraid of the high expectations, but it definitely delivered! It was funny, heartwarming, and dealt with serious topics! Can't wait to watch the movie adaptation!
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Absolutely adorable, had me squealing and incredibly hyped, hoping things would turn out in their favor. I did fantasy cast the story while reading and I can't wait to watch the movie when it releases
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This was my favourite book of 2019. I read it at the perfect time and it brought a certain amount of light to all of the chaos that was going on with the world and American politics.
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I wish I could read this book over and over again for the first time. I've gifted it to everyone and can't wait to meet new people to convince them to read it, too.
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I posted my review years ago when I originally got this ARC, but apparently didn't update here. I loved this book. The characters were amazing and the story enthralling. This was my first book with a LGBTQ+ main character and it was a great introduction.
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Book: Read in one sitting
My Brain: Obsessed
My Heart: Melted

I could tell half way through this that it'd be a favorite that I could re again and again.
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Loved the writing it was super engaging and super witty, the characters were relatable and easy to root for including the side character. Will definitely be recommending this
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This book was an absolute freaking delight to read. As someone who grew up in the early 2000s, this book really scratched an itch for media about presidential children and life as a royal. It gives serious My Date With the President's Daughter, Chasing Liberty, and Princess Diaries vibes, while also being saucy, queer, and affirming. I squealed "are you KIDDING me" so many times while reading because it was just that lovely, adorable, and funny. I highly recommend this book to pretty much everyone. All the love.
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amazing debut and wonderful execution with great quotes and character as well as the queer experience on a public level
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I tried really hard to get into this book and it's completely possible it was just my mindset at the time. I can see myself enjoying Red, White & Royal Blue at a later date but right now, it just wasn't for me. I've heard great things about this book.
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A heartfelt and wholesome romance. I adored the main characters and loved the alternate reality. Excellent.
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This novel is heart-warming, page-turning, and completely relevant. I love how a female president is portrayed as normal and that a gay relationship is celebrated. This novel is beautiful!
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Flirty and fun! Recommended for romance fans! I ended up recommending Red, White and Royal Blue to other librarians as well as patrons --- it's a fast read and a satisfying story.
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