Another London read! Which seemed appropriate for this romance between the president’s son and the Prince of England. And it was a really good read y’all. Seriously, I was impressed with McQuiston.
But as usual, you need some context. I stay pretty up to date on book trends. That’s what Goodreads, Bookstagram, Browsery, and Twitter are for. So I’d heard about this book coming out and some people were really stoked for it. I also saw that it wasn’t YA but it was New Adult. I didn’t know what that was actually so I looked it but and it sounded like a thing.
So between trips to St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Divinity School in Oxford, I picked this one up. And omg, it was so good. Especially for a debut, McQuiston nailed it.
The first son of the United States, Alex, has a sister, a best friend, and a frenemy. The frenemy is Henry, Prince of England. And when Alex accidentally pushes Henry into the giant cake at a royal wedding , all hell breaks loose. Alex’s Mom is about to run for a second term and Henry’s Grandmother, the queen, is very strict. So the two PR teams come up with a plan, act like the two are BFFs and have them make some public appearances. Neither are excited by the prospect. But when Alex figures out he might not be totally straight, the real drama ensues.
Ok, that summery seems woefully inadequate. I’m not doing McQuiston justice. But I’m trying hard not to give anything away! The story is sweet and well developed, the book is 400 pages, with lots of social commentary, complex relationships, politics, family drama, and love. And what was most surprising for me, hope.
Truly, at certain points I felt it but the end was just really hopeful and positive in a way I wasn’t expecting. Especially in the very modern setting, it was very encouraging to read.
I did have a few issues but I always do. There were a ton of pop culture references and some of them were so on the nose they took me out of the story for a minute. I think the Mom/President was good but not quite as fleshed out as I would have liked. Henry’s family seemed like they were able to snap back from difficulty (drugs, grief, surprise Henry is gay) really quickly. Which kinda made the Queen’s concession in that one chapter seem out of place compared to how McQuiston shaped the Americans. But, those were all minor issues. Not enough to keep me from totally recommending this book!
It was so good, there were a few instances were I kinda chuckled out loud. That never happens. When I think something is funny, I kinda smile to myself and that’s it. If that’s not a ringing endorsement I don’t know what is.
Part of it may have been that I was literally just in England (where I also read Ready Player One). So when they mentioned specific places, say Buckingham Palace, I was able to visualize it. Or it might be that I’m from Texas, like the first family, and have spent a great deal of time in Austin. But I don’t think that’s it. I think with this story McQuiston did an incredible job making people real and creating a story that everyone can appreciate, regardless of where they come from.