Every year I set a New Year’s Resolution and by February I’m thinking, why did I do this to myself? So instead of falling into the pattern of basic and unattainable goals, I decided to be sweet and simple this year: Read more books.
I’ve actually had people tell me that as a mother who writes from home, I should have plenty of free time on my hands but contrary to that belief, I don’t. No one has free time on their hands these days. We are so busy with our jobs, our families, our friends, our houses, and on top of all that there’s the self care hurtle. It’s overwhelming. But I’m a firm believer that a good writer is a good reader. The best way to become a more balanced writer is to write and read a lot. A LOT. Every single day.
I started off with some books from my shelves that I hadn’t gotten to yet. An older YA vampire series from my younger days. The last three books of the series sat there and whimpered to be loved for far too long, so I loved them. They were wonderful. But it wasn’t until I flew back home to California for a long weekend a few months ago that I turned to GoodReads to see what I was going to download and read next. As I skimmed through the lists of the best books of 2019, one really stood out to me.
I’m a sucker for a good romance novel. As a hopeless romantic, there’s nothing my heart swells over more than two people who defy all odds and obstacles to be with one another. It’s been a long time since I read a book with such a unique plot or two characters that I would die for, but Red White and Royal Blue but Casey McQuiston just floored me.
If you have been searching for a refreshingly new love story and haven’t read this book yet, you need to. I first picked it up back in February and I’ve already reread it about five different times. No shame.
Alex Claremont-Diaz is the biracial son of the first female President of the United States (woot woot!). He is passionate to better his country and he’s completely relatable on a personal level, especially to anyone who has gone to college. Up until four o’clock in the morning. Color coded binders and notes. Constantly pushing yourself to be better. It’s like someone was spying on me back in my university days.
Henry Wales is a Prince of England, a seemingly unimpressed and bland heir to the throne. If you ask Alex, Henry is completely insufferable. He hates him. He can’t stand the way he presents himself, or how tall he is, or how dreamy his ocean blue eyes are.
The two start off as nemeses who go from talking shit to each other to causing dramatic public scenes which forces them to mend the bridge between their two countries by pretending to be friends. And shockingly, the more time they spend together, the more tolerable they find out the other one is. A little too tolerable when, much to Alex’s surprise, he realized he isn’t quite as straight as he had spent his life convincing himself he was.
My heart literally melted the deeper I got into this story, as the layers of each character were pulled back to reveal how raw the pain was that both of them had buried deep in their souls. Not only do they fully accept one another for who they are and their baggage, but they also inspire the other to be better versions of themselves for themselves. And if that isn’t the kind of relationship we all strive to be part of and see our loved ones in, what kind of human being are you?
Not only does Red White and Royal Blue have two of the sweetest protagonists, but the secondary characters are just as loving and supportive with their own colorful stories all woven together in a thick tapestry of new adult relatability. The book touches on relevant political issues and conflicts within the way the people running our country maneuver through politics to meet their agenda, both for the good of their people and, unfortunately, the good of themselves.
It’s the debut novel writers like me dream about publishing and I couldn’t be more proud of McQuiston for the success and creativity she shows. It’s easy to get competitive as authors when we see others succeed, but as artists we have to celebrate one another for our accomplishments and support each other in our stumbles. At the end of the day, all any of us want to do is write great books that people can relate to and escape from their troubles. This was a hundred percent one of those books for me.
Check it out for yourself: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41150487-red-white-royal-blue
Book and Coffee Cup photo by fotografierende on Pexels.
RWRB Cover art photo from Spectrum South