Next up on my Diverse Romance reads is Red, White, & Royal Blue. McQuiston wrote Red, White, & Royal Blue with the intention of making it queer, and making it queer in the way she wished she had read for herself as she was finding her own identity. Her care shows in every step of the novel and its going to be tough for another book to be better than this one this year.
Red, White, & Royal Blue has a great premise – what if the son of the first female president of the United States fell in love with the grandson of the sitting Queen of England? Better yet, what if they go from enemies to friends to lovers. What’s more is that we have one coming to the realization that he is bisexual and the other living deeply in the closet.
“Straight people, he thinks, probably don’t spend this much time convincing themselves they’re straight.”
This book leans into being a political, queer, new adult romantic comedy. McQuiston finds room in her story for all of it, the realities of the American political system aren’t obliterated by her changed 2016 election, a wide variety of queer characters exist in the depths of this story because while its very specifically the story of Alex and Henry, their world is fully fleshed out with a variety of people, and is just downright funny. Basically any scene with Alex’s mom elicited a laugh from me – she’s absolutely brutal in her brand of mom humor and this book contains the single greatest use of PowerPoint ever.
The characters are infused with hope and joy, even when battling depression and addiction. We get to watch as McQuiston unpacks what they see in each other and why would this person love that one through their emails and texts, spending large portions of the back half of the book creating a modern epistolary novel. I loved watching them fall in love and deal with the weight of what their choice to choose love meant to their realities. I’m not doing a great job reviewing it, but this is really a great book.
“The phrase “see attached bibliography” is the single sexiest thing you have ever written to me.”