In a world closely mirroring our own upcoming election, Red, White, and Royal Blue is a deeply compelling romance.
Red, White, and Royal Blue is a realistic fiction piece that takes place in the year before the 2020 election. It follows Alex Claremont-Diaz, the son of the president, and Henry Windsor, prince of Wales. It’s a fast-paced tale of enemies to lovers and political scandals. The plot closely mirrors our own timeline, just with different presidential candidates.
Romance is not my typical genre. I usually stick to thrillers or true crime novels- I need a story to be compelling enough that I am excited to read it. So, when I was recommended RWRB, it did not immediately catch my eye. The only thing that made me interested to read it was the LGBT representation, something lacking in the media. However, this story was a pleasant surprise with the main romance being believable and the storyline being enticing enough to make the reader want to continue reading. It was not a predictable tale and one that kept me intrigued throughout the entire novel.
The characters themselves are deeply relatable. While being the son of the U.S. president is not exactly a shared experience, Alex was a main character which many could identify with. This also applies to the side characters, each are written with their own individual traits and make the story more enjoyable for the reader. Nora and June, Alex’s siblings and closest friends, create another layer of storytelling. While they have their own side stories, it only adds to the main storyline instead of detracting from it.
The main romance is a between Alex, a bisexual male, and Henry, a gay man. I unfortunately do not have the opportunity to read a lot of LGBT-led books. Speaking as someone who is in the process of coming out, reading books with people like me is a way for me to feel more comfortable with myself. Alex’s struggles to accept himself closely mirrored my own, giving me a rare character I can relate to. Being an LGBT teen is an isolating experience, and literature that includes us makes navigating life easier. Overall, Red, White, and Royal Blue is absolutely a book I would recommend. The story itself is compelling and deeply enticing, and while it’s a 400-page book, it never drags or falls flat. It is an easy story to get invested in, with a range of emotions. I am not a person who cries when reading, but I did find myself tearing up at multiple instances. Reading this book was an enjoyable and often emotional experience, when I do not find in many books today.