Red, White & Royal Blue
I finally read a book. Congrats to me, I know. I heard about Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel from TikTok, of all places, and as soon as I read the words: "Basically written like a ...
- Emotional Trauma5.0
I finally read a book. Congrats to me, I know. I heard about Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel from TikTok, of all places, and as soon as I read the words: “Basically written like a fanfiction- but, like, a good fanfiction,” I was sold.
This story is told from the perspective of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the son of the President of the U.S., and his tumultuous relationship with the Prince of Wales, Henry. We’ve got enemies to lovers, we’ve got representation, we’ve got BANTER. I LOVE BANTER. YES, give me totally unrealistic bickering between characters, I don’t CARE if it’s Gilmore Girls-esque, it’s my JAM.
Every time I get sad about American politics- and I get sad about American politics a lot- I read this book.
It’s probably unsurprising that I’ve read this book four times in the past two weeks.
… Anyway, here’s the review. Excuse me while I go stress.
Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel
In this fictional timeline, it’s election year for Alex Claremont-Diaz’s mother, who is running for reelection against Jeffrey Richards, an all-around sleeze ball. Because of this, public opinion is more important than ever. Alex, his sister June, and his best friend/ex-girlfriend (it’s a whole thing) Nora, are the subject of a lot of scrutiny and adoration alike from the American public.
In a series of foreign policy parties and events, Alex causes national disaster after national disaster because of his immense hatred for Prince Henry of Wales.
I would go into detail about appearances and such, but I don’t think it’s worth it. Everyone in this book is hot. They’re all so hot I didn’t know what to do with myself. Trust me.
Long story short: ENEMIES TO LOVERS. Fake friendship turns into real friendship and then there’s an unspoken attraction that culminates to a breaking point and then BAM! SECRET RELATIONSHIP! All the best tropes, in my absolutely perfect and correct opinion.
Dealing with mounting social pressure, keeping secrets from the world, and falling in love, the reader follows Alex and Henry’s relationship as the battle between duty and desire commences in a beautiful catastrophe of guerrilla warfare.
Also, side-note: I’d recommend Red, White & Royal Blue for anyone over the age of 16. A lot of mature themes are dealt with and I wouldn’t recommend this novel for younger audiences. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, onto characters!
They’re all perfect. Alex and Henry, of course, take center stage as their antagonistic dynamic creates an energy to the story that’s basically unmatched, but the supporting cast is wonderful.
Alex is whip-smart, outspoken, and a total hoe. I love him so. The ‘roguish’ American ideal he sets forth is so interesting to contrast to Henry’s reserved, straight-laced persona. I LOVE HOW SMART THEY ALL ARE. All the characters have talents- Alex’s public speaking abilities, Henry’s narrative writing, June’s persuasive writing, Nora’s math GENIUS; they’re all perfect.
Henry is my love. He and Alex compliment each other so well; they’re both equally horrible and confused and in LOVE.
The novel deals a lot with personal identity, whether it be sexual orientation or race, and the Claremont-Diaz family is such a light throughout the story. Despite being the President, Alex’s mother is warm and puts her children first. Despite the parents being divorced, neither parent is villainized and both are endless wells of support for June and Alex. Everything is handled so WELL. YES.
Henry, stifled by royal protocol, is expected to be this White Knight caricature, which allowed for some great commentary about pretending to be someone you’re not, and his grief over the death of his father is real and raw.
This book, above all, is hopeful. The outpour of support and love from every single character in accepting each other despite their differences makes me SOFT.
And it’s FUNNY. All of the characters are terrible little trashfires and I LOVE THEM. This book is charming and lovely and fun and PLEASE READ IT.
I derive so much joy from every single plot element in this book.
There’s the media aspect, the novel including segments from talk shows, speeches, and Instagram, which makes the severity of Henry and Alex’s hidden relationship all the more apparent. There’s the personal aspect, too, of wondering whether their loved ones will accept them and dealing with internalized misconceptions about relationships and what matters in life.
Not to mention, Henry and Alex’s bodyguards are hysterical. They’re stoic and mean but in, like, a nice way? It works. I don’t know how they were able to just *not* react to watching their charges sneak around together, but it was funny regardless.
The careful balance of politics and their relationship is perfect and wonderful and I have NO COMPLAINTS. Their e-mails? Kinda made me gag, but in a nice way.
Read it. That’s it. This is my new comfort book.
I place this book in the same tier as Mamma Mia, which proves the vast extent of my feelings for this wrenching, wonderful, uplifting, chaotic trainwreck of a novel.