Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Lovers of fanfiction, rejoice! For those of us craving published books that read like AO3 stories, Red, White & Royal Blue is the novel we’ve been searching for all these years.
We follow First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz, who has been forced into faking a friendship with his sworn nemesis, Prince Henry of England, after an altercation at the royal wedding. Over time, as their friendship grows, Alex finds that Henry is not as bad as he seems and that his feelings are changing in ways he cannot explain.
If you are an avid reader of queer fiction, you know how the genre can feel so heavy at times. Red, White & Royal Blue is a breath of fresh air for those sick to death (pun intended) of the Bury Your Gays trope.
There’s no death here to be wary of, no bad news that can’t be overcome by the combined brain power of Alex and Henry. A love story featuring a First Son and a royal prince can’t be without its trials and tribulations but McQuiston manages to cover serious LGBT+ issues realistically without veering into angsty territory.
I had read this book over the span of a week, devouring the first half during a two-hour-long reading session. When I set the book down, I couldn’t stop thinking about our two leads, pondering over what would happen next. The big obstacle in this book is the re-election campaign of Alex’s mother — the sitting US president — and no matter the obstacle du jour, McQuiston always circles back to that, raising the stakes with every flipped page.
For those looking for a gritty story with blood and gore, Red, White & Royal Blue will not be your cup of tea. But if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted romance — with moments so sweet your teeth will ache — Red, White & Royal Blue is a book that you can come back to, time and time again.