Let me lay the scene for you:
My birthday, 2019.
My present from Mr. Librarian: as many books as I want.
The locale: Politics and Prose in Washington DC.
Truthfully, I’m not one to just buy books. I’m only able to support my serious reading habit by checking out all the books I want to read from my public library (I am a librarian) and only buy books that I absolutely adore.
Since it WAS my birthday and Mr. Librarian did gift me with unlimited book buying, I decided to treat myself to a few new books. This one stood out to me immediately with its bubblegum pink cover and it had over 4 stars on Goodreads. I decided to take a chance.
Now, this is probably where I should tell you that because I usually check books out from the library, my priority list of reading is usually:
- Library books (especially the ones that are due in like 3 days)
- e-ARCs that I request for work
- Books I own
Needless to say that I bought my birthday books and proceeded to ignore them in favor of getting through my stack from the library.
One week later, I received this text message from my dear friend:
“Drop what you’re doing and read Red White & Royal Blue. Now! Seriously. Do it.”
This is my dearest friend and when she says things like that I pay attention.
But still, I dawdled, trying to finish the book from the library. Honestly. I should have just listened as I could not even tell you the plot of the one I refused to put down.
Then I read RWRB. Oh, what a mistake I had made.
Shame on me for not immediately dropping what I was doing and reading it. Shame on me for not starting it the minute I got home from the bookstore on my birthday. Shame on me for not starting it IN the bookstore before I bought it. This book is seriously one of the best books I have ever read and it turned into one of those books I COULD. NOT. LET. GO. I kept reading it and rereading it. And really, I’m still rereading it. I listened to it on audio. I made Mr. Librarian listen to it on audio with me (it was a long car drive and he kept complaining that he didn’t understand any of my current quotes/reference AND he was astonished that I kept laughing at this book no matter no many time I reread it… I digress…)
How to describe this book? Well the elevator pitch for the books is, “Imagine if the son of the US President fell in love with the Prince of England.” That’s it. Really.
You want more? Ok…
After a rip-roaring, hilarious run-in that causes the largest scene at the royal wedding of oldest royal child (and destroys a $75,000 wedding cake), Alex, the son of the American President and Prince Henry, the youngest royal prince are thrown together to fix their now damaged media personas. They must put aside their private long-standing feud, after they are thrown together in a series of public events to prove that they are the best of friends. Through their continued forced interactions (and later unforced), they are surprised to find that they share a unique circumstance in the world which makes them able to truly understand each other. That friendship which becomes so crucial and necessary to both of them blossoms into something more. Something that Alex hadn’t even realized he felt. Keeping their fledgling relationship secret is much harder than they expect. When another media fiasco threatens to expose their new relationship, they weigh the idea of coming clean and announcing to a possibly reticent public that they care for one another. Will they be able to overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them and find their happily ever after?
My favorite part of the book was the character development. You are able to see these characters very clearly and every one of them has a great story to tell. Alex questions his sexuality, his goals, his future while struggling to balance his relationship in light of his public persona. Henry alternatively seems to know who he is but isn’t secure enough to find the courage to break out of the public persona thrust upon him. Alex and Henry’s immediate circle comprises equally interesting characters which I would be so excited to read their spin-offs. (Nora’s story? PEZ!!!) Or better yet, A SEQUEL!!!!
This book is also hilarious and clever. It contained the funniest PowerPoint presentation of all time, the best karaoke scene (inspiring me to pick Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” as my new go-to karaoke song which has yet, by the publication of this post, been performed in front of actual people. Just the passenger seat.), the most insane Thanksgiving turkey mishap, and several text transcripts that left me crying because I was laughing so hard.
But at its core, it is a story about hope, kindness, and the goodness of people to accept those around them. All of these factors led me to name this book, “Best Book of 2019.”
What are you waiting for?
Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, published 2019
For extra awesomeness, check out:
Red White & Royal bot on Twitter- every four hours they tweet a random sentence or two from the book. If you’re like me, you won’t be able to wait to see what’s next!
Venessa Vida Kelley on Twitter/Tumblr – hands down, the BEST RWRB fan art! Every time she comes out with one, I am truly at a loss for words! (For those who read/love Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow series, she does amazing fan art for that too!!)