THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER that is a *MUST-READ BOOK* for US WEEKLY, VOGUE, NPR, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, OPRAHMAG.COM, and more!
What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, geniushis image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.
Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic.
"I took this with me wherever I went and stole every second I had to read! Absorbing, hilarious, tender, sexythis book had everything I crave. I’m jealous of all the readers out there who still get to experience Red, White & Royal Blue for the first time!" - Christina Lauren, New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners
"Red, White & Royal Blue is outrageously fun. It is romantic, sexy, witty, and thrilling. I loved every second." - Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Jones & The Six
|Publisher:||St. Martin''s Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Casey McQuiston is the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue, as well as a pie enthusiast. She writes books about smart people with bad manners falling in love. Born and raised in southern Louisiana, she now lives in Colorado’s Front Range with her poodle mix and personal assistant, Pepper.
Read an Excerpt
On the White House roof, tucked into a corner of the Promenade, there's a bit of loose paneling right on the edge of the Solarium. If you tap it just right, you can peel it back enough to find a message etched underneath, with the tip of a key or maybe a stolen West Wing letter opener.
In the secret history of First Families — an insular gossip mill sworn to absolute discretion about most things on pain of death — there's no definite answer for who wrote it. The one thing people seem certain of is that only a presidential son or daughter would have been daring enough to deface the White House. Some swear it was Jack Ford, with his Hendrix records and split-level room attached to the roof for late-night smoke breaks. Others say it was a young Luci Johnson, thick ribbon in her hair. But it doesn't matter. The writing stays, a private mantra for those resourceful enough to find it.
Alex discovered it within his first week of living there. He's never told anyone how.
RULE #1: DON'T GET CAUGHT
The East and West Bedrooms on theb second floor are generally reserved for the First Family. They were first designated as one giant state bedroom for visits from the Marquis de Lafayette in the Monroe administration, but eventually they were split. Alex has the East, across from the Treaty Room, and June uses the West, next to the elevator.
Growing up in Texas, their rooms were arranged in the same configuration, on either side of the hallway. Back then, you could tell June's ambition of the month by what covered the walls. At twelve, it was watercolor paintings. At fifteen, lunar calendars and charts of crystals. At sixteen, clippings from The Atlantic, a UT Austin pennant, Gloria Steinem, Zora Neale Hurston, and excerpts from the papers of Dolores Huerta.
His own room was forever the same, just steadily more stuffed with lacrosse trophies and piles of AP coursework. It's all gathering dust in the house they still keep back home. On a chain around his neck, always hidden from view, he's worn the key to that house since the day he left for DC.
Now, straight across the hall, June's room is all bright white and soft pink and minty green, photographed by Vogue and famously inspired by old '60s interior design periodicals she found in one of the White House sitting rooms. His own room was once Caroline Kennedy's nursery and, later, warranting some sage burning from June, Nancy Reagan's office. He's left up the nature field illustrations in a neat symmetrical grid above the sofa, but painted over Sasha Obama's pink walls with a deep blue.
Typically, the children of the president, at least for the past few decades, haven't lived in the Residence beyond eighteen, but Alex started at Georgetown the January his mom was sworn in, and logistically, it made sense not to split their security or costs to whatever one-bedroom apartment he'd be living in. June came that fall, fresh out of UT. She's never said it, but Alex knows she moved in to keep an eye on him. She knows better than anyone else how much he gets off on being this close to the action, and she's bodily yanked him out of the West Wing on more than one occasion.
Behind his bedroom door, he can sit and put Hall & Oates on the record player in the corner, and nobody hears him humming along like his dad to "Rich Girl." He can wear the reading glasses he always insists he doesn't need. He can make as many meticulous study guides with color-coded sticky notes as he wants. He's not going to be the youngest elected congressman in modern history without earning it, but nobody needs to know how hard he's kicking underwater. His sex-symbol stock would plummet.
"Hey," says a voice at the door, and he looks up from his laptop to see June edging into his room, two iPhones and a stack of magazines tucked under one arm, and a plate in her hand. She closes the door behind her with her foot.
"What'd you steal today?" Alex asks, pushing the pile of papers on his bed out of her way.
"Assorted donuts," June says as she climbs up. She's wearing a pencil skirt with pointy pink flats, and he can already see next week's fashion columns: a picture of her outfit today, a lead-in for some sponcon about flats for the professional gal on the go.
He wonders what she's been up to all day. She mentioned a column for WaPo, or was it a photoshoot for her blog? Or both? He can never keep up.
She's dumped her stack of magazines out on the bedspread and is already busying herself with them.
"Doing your part to keep the great American gossip industry alive?"
"That's what my journalism degree's for," June says.
"Anything good this week?" Alex asks, reaching for a donut.
"Let's see," June says. "In Touch says I'm ... dating a French model?"
"I wish." She flips a few pages. "Ooh, and they're saying you got your asshole bleached."
"That one is true," Alex says through a mouthful of chocolate with sprinkles.
"Thought so," June says without looking up. After riffling through most of the magazine, she shuffles it to the bottom of the stack and moves on to People. She flips through absently — People only ever writes what their publicists tell it to write. Boring. "Not much on us this week ... oh, I'm a crossword puzzle clue."
Following their tabloid coverage is something of an idle hobby of hers, one that in turns amuses and annoys their mother, and Alex is narcissistic enough to let June read him the highlights. They're usually either complete fabrications or lines fed from their press team, but sometimes it's just funny. Given the choice, he'd rather read one of the hundreds of glowing pieces of fan fiction about him on the internet, the up-to-eleven version of himself with devastating charm and unbelievable physical stamina, but June flat-out refuses to read those aloud to him, no matter how much he tries to bribe her.
"Do Us Weekly," Alex says.
"Hmm ..." June digs it out of the stack. "Oh, look, we made the cover this week."
She flashes the glossy cover at him, which has a photo of the two of them inlaid in one corner, June's hair pinned on top of her head and Alex looking slightly over-served but still handsome, all jawline and dark curls. Below it in bold yellow letters, the headline reads: FIRST SIBLINGS' WILD NYC NIGHT.
"Oh yeah, that was a wild night," Alex says, reclining back against the tall leather headboard and pushing his glasses up his nose. "Two whole keynote speakers. Nothing sexier than shrimp cocktails and an hour and a half of speeches on carbon emissions."
"It says here you had some kind of tryst with a 'mystery brunette,'" June reads. "'Though the First Daughter was whisked off by limousine to a star-studded party shortly after the gala, twenty-one-year-old heartthrob Alex was snapped sneaking into the W Hotel to meet a mystery brunette in the presidential suite and leaving around four a.m. Sources inside the hotel reported hearing amorous noises from the room all night, and rumors are swirling the brunette was none other than ... Nora Holleran, the twenty-two-year-old granddaughter of Vice President Mike Holleran and third member of the White House Trio. Could it be the two are rekindling their romance?'"
"Yes!" Alex crows, and June groans. "That's less than a month! You owe me fifty dollars, baby."
"Hold on. Was it Nora?"
Alex thinks back to the week before, showing up at Nora's room with a bottle of champagne. Their thing on the campaign trail a million years ago was brief, mostly to get the inevitable over with. They were seventeen and eighteen and doomed from the start, both convinced they were the smartest person in any room. Alex has since conceded Nora is 100 percent smarter than him and definitely too smart to have ever dated him.
It's not his fault the press won't let it go, though; that they love the idea of them together as if they're modern-day Kennedys. So, if he and Nora occasionally get drunk in hotel rooms together watching The West Wing and making loud moaning noises at the wall for the benefit of nosy tabloids, he can't be blamed, really. They're simply turning an undesirable situation into their own personal entertainment.
Scamming his sister is also a perk.
"Maybe," he says, dragging out the vowels.
June swats him with the magazine like he's an especially obnoxious cockroach. "That's cheating, you dick!"
"Bet's a bet," Alex tells her. "We said if there was a new rumor in a month, you'd owe me fifty bucks. I take Venmo."
"I'm not paying," June huffs. "I'm gonna kill her when we see her tomorrow. What are you wearing, by the way?"
"Uh, the royal wedding," June says. "Of England. It's literally on every cover I just showed you."
She holds Us Weekly up again, and this time Alex notices the main story in giant letters: PRINCE PHILIP SAYS I DO! Along with a photograph of an extremely nondescript British heir and his equally nondescript blond fiancée smiling blandly.
He drops his donut in a show of devastation. "That's this weekend?"
"Alex, we leave in the morning," June tells him. "We've got two appearances before we even go to the ceremony. I can't believe Zahra hasn't climbed up your ass about this already."
"Shit," he groans. "I know I had that written down. I got sidetracked."
"What, by conspiring with my best friend against me in the tabloids for fifty dollars?"
"No, with my research paper, smart-ass," Alex says, gesturing dramatically at his piles of notes. "I've been working on it for Roman Political Thought all week. And I thought we agreed Nora is our best friend."
"That can't possibly be a real class you're taking," June says. "Is it possible you willfully forgot about the biggest international event of the year because you don't want to see your archnemesis?"
"June, I'm the son of the President of the United States. Prince Henry is a figurehead of the British Empire. You can't just call him my 'archnemesis,'" Alex says. He returns to his donut, chewing thoughtfully, and adds, "'Archnemesis' implies he's actually a rival to me on any level and not, you know, a stuck-up product of inbreeding who probably jerks off to photos of himself."
"I'm just saying."
"Well, you don't have to like him, you just have to put on a happy face and not cause an international incident at his brother's wedding."
"Bug, when do I ever not put on a happy face?" Alex says. He pulls a painfully fake grin, and June looks satisfyingly repulsed.
"Ugh. Anyway, you know what you're wearing, right?"
"Yeah, I picked it out and had Zahra approve it last month. I'm not an animal."
"I'm still not sure about my dress," June says. She leans over and steals his laptop away from him, ignoring his noise of protest. "Do you think the maroon or the one with the lace?"
"Lace, obviously. It's England. And why are you trying to make me fail this class?" he says, reaching for his laptop only to have his hand swatted away. "Go curate your Instagram or something. You're the worst."
"Shut up, I'm trying to pick something to watch. Ew, you have Garden State on your watch list? Wow, how's film school in 2005 going?"
"I hate you."
"Hmm, I know."
Outside his window, the wind stirs up over the lawn, rustling the linden trees down in the garden. The record on the turntable in the corner has spun out into fuzzy silence. He rolls off the bed and flips it, resetting the needle, and the second side picks up on "London Luck, & Love."
* * *
If he's honest, private aviation doesn't really get old, not even three years into his mother's term.
He doesn't get to travel this way a lot, but when he does, it's hard not to let it go to his head. He was born in the hill country of Texas to the daughter of a single mother and the son of Mexican immigrants, all of them dirt poor — luxury travel is still a luxury.
Fifteen years ago, when his mother first ran for the House, the Austin newspaper gave her a nickname: the Lometa Longshot. She'd escaped her tiny hometown in the shadow of Fort Hood, pulled night shifts at diners to put herself through law school, and was arguing discrimination cases before the Supreme Court by thirty. She was the last thing anybody expected to rise up out of Texas in the midst of the Iraq War: a strawberry-blond, whip-smart Democrat with high heels, an unapologetic drawl, and a little biracial family.
So, it's still surreal that Alex is cruising somewhere over the Atlantic, snacking on pistachios in a high-backed leather chair with his feet up. Nora is bent over the New York Times crossword opposite him, brown curls falling across her forehead. Beside her, the hulking Secret Service agent Cassius — Cash for short — holds his own copy in one giant hand, racing to finish it first. The cursor on Alex's Roman Political Thought paper blinks expectantly at him from his laptop, but something in him can't quite focus on school while they're flying transatlantic.
Amy, his mother's favorite Secret Service agent, a former Navy SEAL who is rumored around DC to have killed several men, sits across the aisle. She's got a bulletproof titanium case of crafting supplies open on the couch next to her and is serenely embroidering flowers onto a napkin. Alex has seen her stab someone in the kneecap with a very similar embroidery needle.
Which leaves June, next to him, leaning on one elbow with her nose buried in the issue of People she's inexplicably brought with them. She always chooses the most bizarre reading material for flights. Last time, it was a battered old Cantonese phrase book. Before that, Death Comes for the Archbishop.
"What are you reading in there now?" Alex asks her.
She flips the magazine around so he can see the double-page spread titled: ROYAL WEDDING MADNESS! Alex groans. This is definitely worse than Willa Cather.
"What?" she says. "I want to be prepared for my first-ever royal wedding."
"You went to prom, didn't you?" Alex says. "Just picture that, only in hell, and you have to be really nice about it."
"Can you believe they spent $75,000 just on the cake?"
"And apparently Prince Henry is going sans date to the wedding and everyone is freaking out about it. It says he was," she affects a comical English accent, "'rumored to be dating a Belgian heiress last month, but now followers of the prince's dating life aren't sure what to think.'"
Alex snorts. It's insane to him that there are legions of people who follow the intensely dull dating lives of the royal siblings. He understands why people care where he puts his own tongue — at least he has personality.
"Maybe the female population of Europe finally realized he's as compelling as a wet ball of yarn," Alex suggests.
Nora puts down her crossword puzzle, having finished it first. Cassius glances over and swears. "You gonna ask him to dance, then?"
Alex rolls his eyes, suddenly imagining twirling around a ballroom while Henry drones sweet nothings about croquet and fox hunting in his ear. The thought makes him want to gag.
"In his dreams."
"Aw," Nora says, "you're blushing."
"Listen," Alex tells her, "royal weddings are trash, the princes who have royal weddings are trash, the imperialism that allows princes to exist at all is trash. It's trash turtles all the way down."
"Is this your TED Talk?" June asks. "You do realize America is a genocidal empire too, right?"
"Yes, June, but at least we have the decency not to keep a monarchy around," Alex says, throwing a pistachio at her.
There are a few things about Alex and June that new White House hires are briefed on before they start. June's peanut allergy. Alex's frequent middle-of-the-night requests for coffee. June's college boyfriend, who broke up with her when he moved to California but is still the only person whose letters come to her directly. Alex's long-standing grudge against the youngest prince.
It's not a grudge, really. It's not even a rivalry. It's a prickling, unsettling annoyance. It makes his palms sweat.
The tabloids — the world — decided to cast Alex as the American equivalent of Prince Henry from day one, since the White House Trio is the closest thing America has to royalty. It has never seemed fair. Alex's image is all charisma and genius and smirking wit, thoughtful interviews and the cover of GQ at eighteen; Henry's is placid smiles and gentle chivalry and generic charity appearances, a perfectly blank Prince Charming canvas. Henry's role, Alex thinks, is much easier to play.
Maybe it is technically a rivalry. Whatever.
"All right, MIT," he says, "what are the numbers on this one?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Red, White & Royal Blue"
Copyright © 2019 Casey McQuiston.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
READ. THIS. BOOK. I so wish I could live in this world that is created in this story. I immediately fell in love with all of the characters, especially Alex and Henry. Throughout the book, I was discovering that Alex and I are more alike than I thought! This is such an amazing book and I was dying to read it! I honestly wish I could read it for the first time again so I can re-experience everything I felt. It is such an incredible, sexy, steamy, funny, heartwarming, and important book that will make you feel ALL of the feels. You will cry, or if you are like me you will cry more than once both happy and sad tears. I can't wait to read more by this author, the writing was phenomenal. I literally cannot put into word how much I love this book and it's characters. This is a novel that could most definitely change the world and how people treat each other. This book ended on a perfect note but I still hope we get to see more of Alex and Henry in the future, I just love them both so much. One of my favorite reads of 2019 so far! Read this book, you will love it and you will not be disappointed at all.
This book is like warm hug from the future we deserve, where smart, reasonable and fair woman is the president of USA and all is well. The president’s son is forced to become fake friends with his mortal enemy, Prince Charming of England. And of course there is love in the air :) It took me a while to get into this book, but once I was hooked, I couldn’t put it down. Alex and Henry were so cute and adorable, I couldn’t get enough of them. It was so nice to read something like this, I just kept smiling on all the goofiness of the boys and their relationship development. I loved that I got to see a bit of USA politics in play, even if sometimes I had to google some things which I didn’t understand. I am sure this book will be wildly loved. And author's note at the end almost made me cry. Thank you so much St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for granting my wish and letting me read this amazing book sooner. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I loved this book so much!! I couldn't put it down the first time I read it. It has such a good romantic story. I loved all of the characters in the book. Being the mother of a gay son I can only hope he finds someone like this in the future. I loved Alex and Henry's chemistry, wit, and the emails written to each other showed so much love.
Such a sweet, beautiful novel of love. I couldn’t put it down!
I think , the Urban Dictionary , should from now on, describe the feeling of Delight . Happiness . Joie de vivre . Cheerfulness as RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE ; because that what I felt reading this amazing and utterly entertaining book. I just reviewed Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. #NetGalley [NetGalley URL]
Funny, smart, terrific main characters. The premise sounds so unbelievable---First Son of the first woman President, and a prince of England, fall in love---but this book makes the romance feel genuine, at times heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting. Alex and Henry are so beautifully written, so textured. The politics are sharply done. It is our world, just a slightly more hopeful version of it. I hope this becomes a movie!
Well written! Made me feel so many emotions and laugh at the same time.
4.5 stars I absolutely loved this book and cannot say enough good things about it! I think the best thing about this book for me was that I could actually picture this being a relationship that happens. And I kept picturing Henry as Prince Harry. For some reason I could totally see him as being in this relationship (don't get me wrong I love him with Meghan, and I would never change them, but I could also see him like this in an alternate world.) Alex is the president's son, his mom being the president that took over after Obama left office. I love the real story lines that were happening. I love the dynamics of his family, and even the politics, which is generally not my thing to read about. There was a little bit of a mystery mixed in there, but overall it was really just about the love story for me, and that was perfect. I can't wait to read more from this author in the future.
I absolutely loved this book. Five stars, all the stars. I was so into this book that I forgot to mark any of my favorite lines or passages. I started looking for quotes to use and accidentally started rereading it, that’s how much I loved it. To be honest, I don’t really have words to describe how much I loved this book, so I’m just gonna talk about some of my favorite parts. Like the banter. Interactions between Alex and Henry had me laughing almost immediately. And let’s be real, banter is the best part of any enemies to lovers story. I really liked that Alex and Henry became friends before becoming more. I love friends to lovers almost as much as enemies to lovers, so having it all in one book was wonderful. The first and second kisses between them were amazing and quite literally what romance books are made of. Now, for Alex. What can I say, I love my bisexual disasters Something that I really connected with in this book was the chapter solely dedicated to Alex figuring out his sexuality. It’s an extremely important part of the book, one that I really appreciated. One that I think a lot of others will connect with. Because sometimes you haven’t “always known” and sometimes you figure yourself out later in life than people feel you should. But it doesn’t always work out that way and seeing that in a book was wonderful. I’m recommending this book to everyone. I adored it and I want everyone to gush about it with me.
Title: Red, White, and Royal Blue Author: Casey McQuiston Pages: 432 Genre: YA Romance, fiction Series or Stand-Alone: Stand-Alone Stars: 5/5 LGBTQ?: Yes! Bechdel Test? (Depiction of Women): Strong women portrayed! Trigger Warning: Definitely lots of sex! I received a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This sounded like a sweet romance (which it was!), but this book completely sucked me in! I couldn’t put it down. We follow the “First Son” (the POTUS’s son) who loves politics and plans to run for office. While in college, he works for his mother’s reelection campaign and spends a great deal of time working with other politicians. One person he hates interreacting with is Prince Henry from Great Britain. After a wedding debacle, they are forced to spend time together and take photos, proving to the world that they are on great terms. Things get romantic. I just love them and how adorable they are together! There are all kinds of amazing and hilarious pop cultures references as well. This book made me laugh so many times. It was fun and a definite purchase and reread for me! I’ve already recommended it to several people!
I don't know what else to say but "read this book!!" I am Mexican American woman and it made me gush with pride at the representation. I'm also a sucker for a well-developed romance.
I was so happily surprised by this book! It was an impulse buy for me, because it is not in the genre I usually buy sight unseen, but it was so worth it. It is written in a fun, modern way, and perfect escapist fiction. I was laughing and worried along side all of the characters. Not going to lie, I hope the author does more with these characters.
I did not know I needed this until I saw it at my local B&N. The cover was so cute and I decided to pick it up on and it's the only book I bought that day that I have read. I loved how honest, hopeful, and fun Henry and Alex are but the "side" characters are such important players here. This makes me hopeful for 2020 and I know I will be rereading this for years. (And NY that, I mean as long as humanly possible.)
Cute, good. Mostly awe-inspiring and hopeful.
I have just two things to say. 1. This book makes my heart happy. 2. I wish this was, “based on a true story.”
Many cute and funny moments
Where do I even begin with this review? I had the chance to read this book in two days and absolutely fell in love with the entire novel. I'm a hopeful romantic where I adored Alex and Henry's love story on where they go from hating each other to falling in love throughout the entire novel. Everyone deserves a happily ever after! I also want to add that it was awesome to have a female president running in 2020 (it goes to show anything is possible and can succeed even in the world of politics) where even though there were scandals, betrayal, and media gossip, Ellen Claremont does the impossible. Alex's quote "Never tell me the odds" described how him and Henry's love story evolved from their first kiss, spending the weekend with Alex's dad, and overcoming the obstacles to the public. Henry started to show confidence when he stood up to his older brother and grandma that all he wants to be is himself not a poster boy the media has him portrayed. I adore June, Nora, Pez, and Bea being supportive of Alex and Henry's romance and everyone wants to have a group of friends like them. In addition, I love how both of Alex's parents were fully supportive of him coming out as a bisexual (which most of the parents who have children that are LGBT aren't fully supportive or disown them) which is an important trait to have and still love Alex no matter what. There is one quote I love when Henry and Alex send emails they end it off with a quote with historians who were/maybe LGBT, this quote is from 1933 Eleanor Roosevelt to Lorena Hickock (pg 297): "I miss you greatly dear. The nicest time of the day is when I write to you. You have a stormier time than I do but I do miss you as much, I think . . . Please keep most of your heart in Washington as long as I'm here for most of mine is with you!"
I just can't get over how wonderful this story was, from the lovely characters to the star- crossed love story to the sense of hope and joy it gave me for the future. I'm so glad that I got the chance to read this. alsoAlso, Casey McQuiston give us your AO3 account! I refuse to believe a book this good wasn't written by a fanfic author!
O.M.G. This is one of the CUTEST novels I have ever read!! I was living for Alex and Henry. I will say though, Henry is real close to Harry, so for about half the book I thought his name was Harry. Oops. I loved all the characters. I instantly fell in love and cared about them. I wanted them all to do well in their chosen careers and in their personal relationships. There was just enough political intrigue to keep me interested without being too political-y. There was backstabbing and switching sides PLUS some royal politics. It was amazing. I loved how the book ended. It left me wanting more, but it was all tied with a pretty bow. I just loved Alex and Henry SO MUCH I wanted to keep hearing about their day to day lives. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves YA contemporaries, LGBT romance, political intrigue, and just a good time. Red, White and Royal Blue had me laughing and crying. I could definitely see myself re-reading this book in the future.
I really struggled with this being written in the third person present tense - like, to the point where I almost DNF'd it in the first few chapters because the writing style was just too hard to connect with. In the end, I'm really glad I pushed through because this is a fabulous book. It really reads like it should have been written in the first person present tense from Alex's POV (and I just kept switching it in my head so that's how I read it in the beginning). Had that different style choice been made, this would have been a solid 5 star read for me. That being said, I DID manage to get used to it (if not actually LIKING it) by about halfway through the book, so if you're also finding the third person present tense off-putting, just stick with it! It's worth it.
I haven't been giddy like this over a book since I was a teenager (granted, not that long ago, but a lot changes after high school -- which this book covers beautifully) and I am extremely hopeful that this jaw-dropping piece will set a standard for LGBTQ YA novels. It was absolutely enthralling and has reignited a love for reading that I haven't seen in so long. Please pick this up, you won't be able to put it down. And don't forget to leave a review, tell your friends, etc. I desperately want to see more like it - especially from McQuiston!
Didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Kind of hoping we get a sequel!