Oh my God I loved this book. I waited forever to get it on audio and I totally recommend getting on your library’s hold list right away if you have not yet read it. It is so smart and funny and sweet and snarky. Casey McQuiston had one hell of a debut.
Alex, his sister June, and their best friend Nora (granddaughter of the VP) have spent most of their teenage years in the White House. Now Alex and June’s mother (the first female president) is up for re-election, and Alex is wanting to take more of a role in her campaign. Unfortunately, his formerly quiet rivalry with Prince Henry of England becomes very very noisy when he accidentally destroys a cake at Henry’s brother’s wedding. Now the PR machine is forcing Alex and Henry to play nice for the media in order not to wreck the president’s chances at re-election. Of course while doing so, they eventually form oa friendship that turns into a lot more. I know that this sounds like the sort of crazy setup you only see in fanfiction, but really, don’t a lot of great modern romance novels starts at way? The trick is what the author does with it. And this particular author blows it out of the water.
“As your mother, I can appreciate that maybe this isn’t your fault, but as the president, all I want is to have the CIA fake your death and ride the dead-kid sympathy into a second term.”
Alex and Henry, along with Nora and June and Henry’s sister Bea as supporting characters, are incredibly well fleshed out. Each of them has their own distinct personality and goals and fears. I was in love with Alex and his family by the end of this novel, and unlike a lot of other books where two characters start out fighting end up falling in love, I can really see in this book why Alex loved Henry and why Henry loved Alex. They’re both people you’d want to fall in love with.
“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.”
The incredibly realistic political climate that would McQuiston sets her book in makes it even richer. There’s just so much more than the romantic storyline here. Alex’s own political aspirations and the way he wants to help people could be a novel on its own. McQuiston, who’s from Louisiana, brings Texas to life — all the good and all the bad about being from the south. And the writing is so, so funny.
“The phrase ‘see attached bibliography’ is the single sexiest thing you have ever written to me.”
I mean, come on.