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New Release Review! RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

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I absolutely loved this book! Alex’s cluelessness about his sexual orientation was adorable (I might have snort laughed a little when he started going through all the in-his-face clues he’d had about his orientation over the years…I mean, really, Alex!) and his frenemy ‘tude toward Henry made their relationship just as inevitable as it was delicious. Seriously, I loved those two so much that I almost didn’t notice the entire book is written in the present tense (sigh…after a while I barely even noticed it).

If you have certain political leanings, there will be parts of this book that make you sad and parts that make you wistful, but other parts will make you so gosh darn hopeful (I kept wondering, how much of this was written when? Before 2016? After? So many things happen here that speak directly to current events…)–TBH, though, there is quite a lot of politics here, so if that’s going to bother you, you might want to give it a pass.

I’ll be eternally glad I didn’t though, because reading this was so much fun.

The characters are lovely, their banter (via text, email, and in person) is beyond lovely, and their romance is just delightful. I’m sure a whole lot of what happens here is completely unrealistic (all that sneaking around, for two such high profile people?), but honestly, the whole story is so darn cute I just couldn’t find it in me to care all that much.

OMG, so much snort laughing. A close second only to the swooning.

The audio version was delightfully read by Ramon de Ocampo, who did a great job with the various accents–I’d definitely listen to something performed by him again.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what else Casey McQuiston has in store for us!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

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