Red, White, and Royal Blue is an enemies-to-friends-to-lovers new adult LGBTQ romance novel by Casey McQuiston. It follows Alex Clairemont-Diaz, the biracial Latino/Caucasion Texas-native First Son of the U.S. president who has a rivalry with Prince Henry of Wales. This rivalry comes to head when their fighting leads them to knock over a cake at the wedding of Henry’s sister, Princess Beatrice. To solve the scandal of this incident, Alex and Henry must pretend to be friends. But after playing friends it seems like they are becoming friends in real life, or maybe more than friends? But Alex is straight and Henry is a prince. They couldn’t possibly pursue an actual relationship with each other. Or could they? They begin to pursue a relationship in secret.
I loved Red, White, and Royal Blue. At first I was worried that it might be too much of a slow burn since Alex and Henry start off as enemies, but they quickly become friends, and quickly become lovers from there. This might make it seem unrealistic, and maybe it is. It is a romance novel about the First Son and a British prince falling in love after all, but the events do follow some logic. If you are forced into pretending to be friends with someone, then you have to get to know that person quite well. This creates a feeling of closeness. Alex and Henry learn that their first impressions of each other might have been wrong after all.
I also indentified with the McQuiston’s (who is bisexual themself) description of Alex’s discovery of his bisexuality (spoiler alert: he’s not actually straight). As well as enjoying the humour in the book as Alex and Henry navigate some some very awkward situations. McQuistion also manages however, to address the very real issues of racism, classism, homophobia, grief, pedophilia, sexual assault (the last two are not graphically in the novel, but they are mentioned, so that’s my trigger warning there.) There are some parts like I said earlier that a bit unrealistic, but sometimes it is very enjoyable to consume media that is unrealistic especially for LGBTQ media. I’ve expressed my view in the past that I’d rather have happy LGBTQ media that is slightly unrealistic than realistic LGBTQ tragedy. So, I’d definitely recommend Red, White, and Royal Blue!