Casey McQuiston dazzles in her lively debut, Red, White & Royal Blue. With clever comedic timing and a self-possessed charm, she constructs rich sexual tension between two young men who ostensibly hate each other. Alex, the First Son of the United States, and Henry, the Prince of Wales, are forced into a chummy charade to mitigate blowback after an embarrassing scrap at a royal wedding. In private, however, they harbor petty grudges, sniping at one another until they eventually let their guards down, texting more and more. And more. Their growing bond is heartwarming and organic. Who understands the pressures and boundaries of their lives better than each other? And while Henry's sexuality has been stifled by family decorum, like so many before him, Alex's creeps up on him in the way these things can for those whose attractions are more fluid.
This is where Red, White & Royal Blue truly shines. Sorting out one's sexuality is hard enough without being under constant public scrutiny. Passion characterizes every moment of this smart, mischievous, gratifying and sensitive novel. The punch lines are deft, the sex is steamy and the romance is stirring. This rom-com has generated buzz all year long, with critics everywhere raving and a film adaptation already in the works. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness