Alex is the son of President Ellen Claremont and Congressman Oscar Diaz. He’s America’s heartthrob, and one of the White House 3 – the power trio of First & Second Families. He also has a long-standing feud with the Prince of England, which is usually easy to avoid, except for when his mother sends the trio to the Royal Wedding. After a very public altercation, Alex and His Royal Highness must convince the world that they’re best friends, have been for years, and definitely don’t want to kill each other. Eventually it becomes less about convincing everyone else and more about hiding their secret romance.
Holy hell. First of all, I borrowed this book from the library on accident. I thought it was another book with the word Royal in the title and a startingly similar cover. However, I was not disappointed (well, I’m a little disappointed that I have to wait 4 weeks for the book I originally wanted, but I’ll get over it). This book was really good! I was shocked it was McQuiston’s debut. It was really well-written, easy-to-follow, quick-paced and quick-witted.
The characters really were the crowning jewel of this novel. There was such a diverse group of people in every possible way. It featured a Latino protaganist and several Latino lawmakers. They were diverse in sexual orientation – from Nora, the decidely not-straight BFF; to Henry, the very gay love interest; and Alex, who waves the bisexual flag proudly. Oh, and did I mention? A FEMALE POTUS! It was really refreshing to read stories from these perspectives, and it really differentiated this book from others that I’ve read recently.
It was a really character-driven story. Instead of being pushed forward by different things happening to them, Alex and Henry really drive the story. Their joy at being together created an environment where they both could find comfort in their respectively difficult lives. Alex’s determination and boldness pushes Henry to find his own strength. Henry’s self-awarness and assuredness helps Alex figure out what he wants and reach for it.
This book also featured a lot of politics, which I’m sure we’re all tired of by now. But really politics isn’t just law-making and dirt-throwing, it’s how people live their lives. Alex gets it, and his passion is helping people. It’s refreshing to read that perspective.
One of the biggest criticisms that other people have voiced for this book is that it views its politics through rose-colored glasses. Everything and everybody is too nice, there are too few consequences for their actions. But honestly, do you pick up these books because you’re expecting a realistic view of current US Politics? I’m not. I’m looking for something nice and fun to escape to. Anti-imperialist prince and diverse characters with power? Gimme all you got.
This is definitely a New Adult book. There are sex scenes in it, most of them are fade-to-black style, but it’s still pretty obvious that they’re having sex. Beyond that, it’s definitely targeted to a more liberal audience. Those politics I talked about up there? You’ll likely disagree with them if you’re more right-wing. What I read as a hopeful story about love and overcoming adversity, may come across differently through your lens.