“Red, White & Royal Blue” book review


Yness Martinez

“Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston

Yness Martinez, Editor

The “Red, White & Royal Blue” novel is an outstanding work of nonlinear love. The first published work by Casey McQuiston was released in May 2019. The story follows 22-year-old Alex Claremont-Diaz, the first son of the United States. His mother, Ellen Claremont, won the presidency back in 2016 after the two terms of the Obama Administration. After a public dispute with Prince Henry of England, Alex is forced to make public appearances with Henry as friends. As the friendship becomes real, the two notice an undeniable bond between them. In a story of incredible wit, drama, sarcasm and love; the two come to terms with their strong attraction to each other, as well as what the relationship means for their countries. 

Oh the incredible wit of this author! McQuiston blows it out of the water for her sarcastic drama style. Nothing can compare to the teary laughter this book can draw out. The combination of bizarre circumstances and the mind of a millennial on the brink of mental instability is something to be enjoyed by the masses. While a member of the First Family being written as relateable is comical, McQuiston plays up the typical stresses of young people like lack of sleep, lack of friends, lack of confidence, and lack of coffee. Furthermore, the oddity of the situation. A seemingly impossible world to make believable, McQuiston shocks all with the typical political challenges the characters face. The increasingly ludicrous twists of the plot continuously catch the reader off guard.

Now, praise for technology markers. Although many books take place in the 21st century, sometimes that’s easy to forget. The constant use of text messages, emails, tweets, and Instagram posts make this book incredibly realistic. While acting as a scene reminder, technology also provided a surprising humorous twist to the already witty banter between Alex and Henry. 

While the book was composed of many hysterical chapters, it didn’t forget to touch base on the issues in America. While this imaginary America looks like bliss compared to the past four years, it doesn’t completely heal all the typical ills like racism, sexism, and homophobia specifically. On the side of sexism, it can be said that the female characters of this book obviously run the show. Whether it’s smoothing over international relations, or babysitting Alex’s emotions, these women were written to impress and inspire, and so do they.

As far as moving displays of support go, the overwhelming force of the LGBTQ community in the novel did not disappoint. The representation alone makes the story all the more captivating, where people aren’t measured in percentages, but rather the worth of their personality. The character’s depths are brought down even further as more about them are revealed, both redeeming and damning. The tidal wave movement near the end of the novel drew actual tears, creating such a sense of peace and love for the whole world McQuiston has created. 

The typical fiction YA novel consists of a man or woman presented with challenges, but eventually finding love together. However, the risks of Alex and Henry’s relationship paired with the possible negative publicity it would cause made their future unstable. Coming out is a difficult decision on its own, but when compounded with the pressures of royal and political life; a true nightmare. The tangible stress, whirlwind of emotions, and captivating wit make this an absolute delight to read again and again.