Red, White, & Royal Blue, the debut novel by Casey McQuiston, was published in 2019.
I downloaded it from The Seattle Public Library.
Alex is 21 years old. His family used to live in Texas. Now they live in the White House. Alex is attending Georgetown University.
Alex is staying in Sasha Obama’s former bedroom. His older sister, June, is staying in the bedroom across the hall.
Alex and June’s mother has been the President of the United States for almost four years. She’s starting her campaign for reelection in 2020. Their father is a California Senator. Their stepfather lives with them in the White House.
(The story takes place in a slightly alternate universe, in which a divorced woman named Ellen Claremont won the 2016 presidential election.)
Tabloids have been following the story that Alex is dating Nora, the granddaughter of the Vice President. Alex and Nora did try dating once, are now good friends, and are faking a romance just to have a laugh at the tabloids.
June enjoys reading tabloid articles speculating on who she’s dating. It amuses her. Finding inaccurate tabloid articles about her or Alex or Nora is like a hobby for June.
Tabloids refer to Alex, June, and Nora as The White House Trio.
At the start of the story, Alex and his family are flying to England for a Royal Wedding. Alex thinks the whole idea of a monarchy is repulsive.
(In this alternate universe, the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is named Mary.)
The big story in the British tabloids is that Prince Henry will be attending the wedding without a date. Alex is not surprised. He finds Prince Henry repulsive.
Alex, the son of the President, and Prince Henry, the grandson of the Queen, have been rivals for years.
At the wedding, an altercation breaks out between Alex and Henry, and ends up in the destruction of the $75,000 wedding cake.
President Claremont and the Royal Family reach a diplomatic agreement. The official story will be that the incident was an accident and a misunderstanding, and that Alex Claremont-Diaz and Prince Henry are, in fact, close personal friends.
Alex is given a fact sheet to memorize about Prince Henry. He’s going to have to spend a weekend in England, with a full schedule of public charity appearances, press interviews, and television appearances, all with his good friend Henry by his side.
The weekend shouldn’t be too difficult for Alex. He’s used to living a slightly fabricated life in the public spotlight. For instance, it’s true that he and June and Nora are best friends, but the nickname “White House Trio” had been carefully invented and marketed by the White House staff before giving it to People magazine.
It becomes apparent (to the reader, at least) that the animosity Alex and Henry feel for each other is actually masking the mutual affection they feel.
(That’s the end of the two-chapter preview I read while I waited for my library hold to come in. Then I read Do You Dream of Terra-Two? In a convenient bit of timing, Libby informed me that my hold had come in while I was finishing the blog post for Do You Dream of Terra-Two? When I downloaded Red, White, & Royal Blue, the Libby app opened to the end of Chapter Two, remembering that I’d read the sample!)
The weekend goes exactly as planned. American and British tabloids forget about the wedding incident, and are thrilled by this new bromance. Social media is trending photos of these two handsome young men giving each other fist-bumps and high-fives. BuzzFeed calls it “the best bromance ever.”
Before he returns to America, Alex gives Henry his phone number. He jokingly tells him, “No booty calls.“
Meanwhile, President Claremont decides that it would benefit her public image if the White House Trio took jobs in her reelection campaign. Her ex-husband, Senator Oscar Diaz, volunteers to help, but she turns him down. Her popularity is damaged somewhat by her being a woman, and she doesn’t want to remind her detractors that she’s also a divorced woman. She doesn’t want to give Senator Richards, her conservative opponent, any more mud to sling.
Alex and Henry begin exchanging text messages. The messages contain gentle mocking. It’s almost as if they’re flirting with each other. Nora and June ask Alex who he’s texting, but Alex won’t say. They wonder why Alex has that smile on his face whenever he receives one of those mysterious texts.
Alex and Henry fall in love.
Red, White, & Royal Blue is a romantic comedy. The couple at the center of it is the First Son of The United States and the fourth in line for the British throne. There are obvious complications.
This book is heartwarming and sweet. I laughed out loud and wiped tears from my eyes. Really.
It’s erotic and graphic.
It’s a story of political intrigue and private email servers.
It’s full of surprises.
There are a lot of unique and interesting characters in the story, but it never felt overwhelming.
Nora and June and Bea (Henry’s sister) are awesome. They’re smart and protective. They’re my favorite supporting characters.
Ellen Claremont is a great mother and president. She’s flawed, but she does what she believes is right.
Alex and June’s father is wonderful. Oscar and Ellen were never meant to be together, and they fight, but they support their children and each other.
Alex and June’s stepfather is just sort of there. I think he’s in one scene. I can’t remember his name.
I think it’s hilarious that Henry’s father was an actor, famous for playing James Bond in the 1980s.
Prince Henry’s family has its own unique drama. Queen Mary and Senator Richards are the two villains of the story.
I absolutely loved this book.