Well, this was an interesting read right before the 2020 U.S. Presidential election! There are parts in this that are hilarious, heartbreaking, and harrowing. You have a romance story involving politics, and in both the book and in real life, the election of 2020 is super stressful! (In the book, if the incumbent president loses, she steps down and a gross white man takes her place. In real life, if the incumbent president wins, thousands more people will needlessly die. A bit more stressful for us!)
Alex is the First Son of the President of the United States, his mom. She’s kind of rad. Alex has a sister, June, and a best friend in Nora, the granddaughter of the Vice President. They are the White House Three, and are not afraid of getting into trouble now and again. Alex has obsessively hated His Royal Highness, Henry, Prince of England for years, the hating part starting from the day they met. The basis of the hatred? He was rude, and Henry is perfect. Shocking, I know!
Anyways, the two have an “altercation” at Prince Philip’s wedding, and both sides decide that Alex and Henry need to become media best friends. Both boys are well entrenched in politics, so they do as they’re told for the cameras. But hey, this is a romance, so the fake friendship obviously becomes real! And then it becomes more than friendship, and it becomes more than real.
The problems arise from politics. If Alex comes out right before the election, that could cause problems in his mom’s reelection campaign. There are plenty of homophobes in the United States, and you bet your butt they would run to the polls to get a bisexual boy out of the White House. Alex’s newfound sexuality and change of image could ruin both his mom’s and his political aspirations. As for Henry, he doesn’t see coming out as a real option. He’s the spare heir to the British throne, and a lot comes with that. (His grandmother, Queen Mary, isn’t my favorite.)
We get to see a little of what a presidential campaign looks like from the inside. I’m from a blue state that has voted blue for the past 7 presidential elections, so I’ve never really seen what it’s like to be courted like people are in swing states. They just don’t really bother.
There are a lot of bits in here that made me laugh. I’m very much not cool enough or rich enough or political enough to party with these people, but it sounds like it would be fun!
I also like how the boys really aren’t doing anything wrong. They hide their relationship, yes, but that’s for political and personal reasons. They aren’t cheating on anyone and they aren’t using government funds to travel to see each other. So the haters can just f*ck off.
So, I’m using this for my 2020 Bingo “Red” square, because it’s right there in the title, and I picked it for that square before I read it. But after finishing it, I kinda want to use it for “I Wish.” (But I won’t, because I already did that square!) On one hand, in this world Trump wasn’t elected. That’s a big win right there. Instead, we elected a strong woman. One of the lines that stuck with me was right toward the end on election night. “[He] looked into eyes upon eyes of women who were old enough to have marched on Congress for the VRA in ‘65 and girls young enough never to have known a president who was a white man.” Can you imagine that? It’s going to take longer now, we broke that streak, but to have two presidents in a row who aren’t white men would be groundbreaking for the U.S. Hopefully we’ll get there one day. (Also, it’s 2020 without a worldwide pandemic, so that is also a plus in its favor.)