I just finished Casey McQuiston's Red, White and Royal Blue and while most of my thoughts are all over the place, I still had a good time reading this book. 

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I listened to this on audiobook, and it was a better experience than had I read the book by itself. Narrator Ramon De Ocampo did a great job playing every character, especially the female characters; they were so funny.

If you've been living under a rock the past year and a half, you should know about this incredible enemies-to-friends-to-lovers romance story that involves two very well-known young men --- Alex Clairmont-Diaz, the First Son of the first female President of the United States; and Prince Henry of England. Read the summary below:

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic.

This book was so adorable, so funny, the characters were incredible, and the LGBT representation was amazing. Keep in mind, I am not of the LGBT community; I'm a straight, cisgender black female. Alex is bisexual and Mexican, and Prince Henry is gay. While I don't identify with either community, I'm a huge supporter and I stand fully with them. However, even though I can't say if the representation is accurate or not, but to see/hear it was beautiful. 

Witnessing the progression of Prince Henry and Alex's relationship was so pure, realistic and perfect. They had known each other for years and Alex had always had issues with Prince Henry. I won't spoil why Alex never liked Henry, but their explosive connection happens after they collide with a cake at a wedding!! From then on, it's a strategic formula to make them best friends for damage control. But then it becomes more of an actual friendship then a romance. Their connection was probably the most genuine I've ever read in young adult literature. Sure, they had their problems with each other, but when they slowly became friends, those problems became minor issues.

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Additionally, the side characters were awesome, as well. Alex's sister June is a budding journalist who is obsessed with media jargon and helps her brother with the frenzy of not only being the First Son, but his controversy with Prince Henry. Her moments with Alex were both very touching and you could tell there was a special connection between them. As well as their best friend Nora, who is a technical genius. She's all about data and numbers and strategy to the nth degree. There is a moment at the end of the book between Alex and Nora where they just strip down everything and talk emotionally, which was a sight to see. (Or in this case, hear.) They're called the White House Trio for a reason. 

One critique I do have on the story is the politics behind Ellen Clairmont-Diaz's presidency. I'm not very politically savvy, nor do I pretend to be. So when it came to the drama behind the re-election and everyone worrying about whether or not Ellen and family would get those 4 More Years, I found myself zoning out. Not because I didn't care, but because I'm not one to pay that much attention to politics as a whole, so a lot of the information went over my head. The family's advisor Raphael Luna who was also Alex's mentor was a significant character in the story, but I felt like he wasn't needed as much.

But back to gushing about Henry and Alex!! I just love their connection so much. There are so many good and hilarious moments, but the best ones are during their private emails. Alex calls Henry by the moniker "HRH Prince D*ckhead poop emoji*, which was hysterical every time the narrator said it. Henry had started off as a stuck-up, prudish English d*ckhead, but he'd come back as a sweet, funny, charming, handsome character. The same for Alex; he had begun as a confident, kind of cocky, know-it-all, and an earnest young man who wasn't as confident in his bisexuality as he should have been. But in the end, he had learned to stand firm in not only his sexuality but also himself as an aspiring politician. 

Casey McQuiston's writing was very easy to follow and descriptive. I'm not a huge fan of authors using the third-person perspective. However, McQuiston's w
riting helped me follow along with every character's perspectives. It also helped with the outside environment of the story, if that makes sense. The writing was very descriptive and precise, while also being comical and having many touching family moments. This story has a lot of themes of family, friends, and letting go of expectations and assumptions. 

Final Takeaway: I loved this book so much, and I hope you enjoy it too, if you haven't read it. If I could read it over again, I would! 

Rating: 4 stars

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