Red, White & Royal Blue

A Novel
Narrated by: Ramon de Ocampo
Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
Categories: Romance, LGBT
4.5 out of 5 stars (2,764 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A 2019 NYPL Book for Reading and Sharing
One of Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of the Year for 2019
One of Shelf Awareness' Best Books of the Year for 2019
One of Library Journal's Best Books of the Year for 2019
A 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards Winner
A 2019 NPR Best Book of the Year
One of Amazon.com's Best Books of the Year for 2019
One of Vogue Magazine's Best Books of the Year for 2019

Goodreads Choice Award Winner for Best Debut and Best Romance of 2019

One of AudioFile Magazine's Best Audiobooks of 2019; an instant New York Times best seller; a Must-Read Book for US Weekly, Vogue, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Oprahmag.com, and more!

"Narrator Ramón de Ocampo brings out all the emotion in this tender, serious, funny, and warmly hopeful love story.... Listeners will be swept up as Alex and Henry face questions of identity and coming out amid familial duties and political machinations." (AudioFile Magazine)

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, genius - his 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, US/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.

Praise for Red, White & Royal Blue:

"Effervescent and empowering on all levels, Red, White & Royal Blue is both a well-written love story and a celebration of identity." (NPR)

"I took this with me wherever I went and stole every second I had to read! Absorbing, hilarious, tender, sexy - this 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 best-selling author of Love and Other Words and Roomies)

"Red, White & Royal Blue is outrageously fun. It is romantic, sexy, witty, and thrilling. I loved every second." (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Maybe in Another Life)

©2019 Casey McQuiston (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"I took this with me wherever I went and stole every second I had to read! Absorbing, hilarious, tender, sexy - this 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 best-selling author of Love and Other Words and Roomies)

"Red, White & Royal Blue is outrageously fun. It is romantic, sexy, witty, and thrilling. I loved every second." (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Maybe in Another Life)

“Effervescent and empowering on all levels, Red, White & Royal Blue is both a well-written love story and a celebration of identity.” (NPR)

Featured Article: 20 Best Romance Audiobooks to Lose Yourself In


There’s hardly a genre better suited for audio than romance. Whether it’s an innocent story of first love, a wonderfully torturous slow burn, or a whirlwind, passionate affair, listening to narrators at the top of their game carefully unspool the threads of a love story is our favorite way to consume these enchanting stories. In this list, you’ll find tropes of every kind, diverse and distinct characters, and remarkable, innovation audio recording and performances. Here are the 20 best romance audiobooks in our catalog.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Can’t Wait to Listen Again!

The narrator was incredible. The accents and character choices were spot on and added to the overall story. I listened to this in one sitting while reading along with the book. I was completely enveloped in the lives of all of these characters, especially Alex and Henry’s relationship.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The audio was a little tough to follow

4.25 Stars
*This review has no spoilers but if you like a quick review skip to the Down & Dirty*
Fresh and relevant, fun and unique, Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is blowing up with amazing reviews. I had to see what the hype was about, so I got the audiobook. If any book could benefit from an ensemble cast of narrators, it’s this one, despite the story being told in 3rd person. Ramon de Ocampo did an OK job, especially switching between the two men, but there were a lot of side characters, and I found the audio very hard to tell who was talking.

“I’m the son of the first female president. And I’m not white like she is, can’t even pass for it. People will always come down harder on me.”

First son Alex Claremont-Diaz is 21, half Mexican, and handsome. He, his sister and the VP’s daughter are all around the same age and make up “The White House Trio”, all working to get their ticket reelected in 2020. The beginning of the book seemed kind of slow to me, introducing all the characters as well as their security detail, and I had a hard time following the dialog between them in the audio version.

Prince Henry is about the same age as Alex but Alex can’t stand him and his stuffy British ways.

“‘Arch nemesis’ 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.”

When their rivalry causes a mishap, they need to smooth things over with the press, and they are forced to spend time together and pretend to be friends. But pretending turns into an actual friendship, and the two start keeping in touch across the continents. Oh, the e-mails! I loved them so much!

“But he thinks about Henry, and, oh. He thinks about Henry, and something twists in his chest, like a stretch he’s been avoiding for too long.”

When Henry and Alex kiss, Alex realized he was bisexual for the first time, and I really enjoyed reading his feelings about it. But Alex’s mom is trying to get reelected and the race is very close. What kind of problems would coming out cause the campaign and his own political aspirations? And as for Henry, would the Monarchy ever accept a gay prince?

"Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that.
History, huh? Bet we could make some."

My biggest problem with the book I think was when the 6 friends were all together, it was so hard to follow on audio, so I had to stop and make a list of the players. Here is a quick breakdown of the main characters.
•Alex: Mexican-American bisexual first son, going into politics himself.
•June: Mexican-American first daughter. More of the leader of the group.
•Nora: the VPs granddaughter and Alex and June’s BFF. She is geeky, bisexual, a hacker, and totally funny.
•Henry: The stuffy Prince of England. 100% in-the-closet gay.
•Bea: Henry’s sister, former drug addict (possibly bi too?)
•Pez: Flamboyant fashionista who seems gay but isn’t. Henry’s best friend.
•Rafael Luna: A Senator
•Cash, Amy and Zahra are all Secret Service or working on the campaign.
•Prince Phillip: the actual heir to the throne and Henry’s older brother.
•President Ellen Claremont: Democrat President of the US, Alex and June's mother.
•Leo: The President's 2nd husband and Alex and June's stepfather.
•Senator Oscar Diaz: Alex & June's Dad

Likes:
•Current, fresh and funny.
•Alex - it took a while for me to warm up to him, but when I did, I was hooked.
•I actually loved the political part of the story and wish it was really the way things are (I do not think most Republicans will like this aspect of the story).
•Wonderfully diverse and developed side characters.
•I was glad the sex scenes were fade to black because I think high-school aged kids who may be struggling with their identities should read this.
•Lots of sexual tension despite the sex scenes being fade-to-black.
•Alex’s family and their reaction to his news.
•I love correspondence in a book, and Henry and Alex’s emails and texts were wonderful.
•Happy and hopeful.

Dislikes:
•It didn’t translate well to a single narrator audiobook even though it was 3rd person but would have been phenomenal with a full cast.
•It felt a bit too long, especially the first half and it was hard to follow all the characters.
•Present tense.

The Narration:
I think the narration took away from the book and I wish I read instead of listened. There were too many characters with too much dialog to be able to follow easily. While Ramon de Ocampo did a pretty good job of switching voices and accents, I did notice several times that he used the wrong voice for a line here and there. If ever a book needed an ensemble cast this would be the one.

The Down & Dirty:
Red, White & Royal Blue has all the makings to be a hit. It's fresh and different. It's modern. It's relevant. It's fun. It has a wonderful message of inclusiveness with the understanding of the consequences. But I think the narration, for me, took away from the story. There were a lot of characters and I had a hard time following along with who was speaking. The beginning moved a bit slow for me, but the last third of the book was amazing. Though this is definitely an adult book with some sexual scenes, the actual sex is fade-to-black which I think works fine for this and will help it appeal to the more mainstream reader. I loved the characters and the storyline was just perfect. I see why everyone has been talking about Red, White & Royal Blue, but I think the narration held me back from being as blown away as everyone else.

*Note: while taking the photo I started listening again, and now that I know the characters I am enjoying it even more. Though the beginning is still a bit of an info overload - I can see why I had trouble following, because it's a lot even the second time.

Rating: 4.25 Stars, 2.5 Heat, 3 Narration

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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In a better world...

This story is just what I needed. If we could turn back time and if the good guys always won this is the America we'd live in right now. I felt deeply invested in these characters and I cared what happened to them; after all they belong to us. They are members of our first family. And of course there was that handsome prince from across the pond that felt so familiar. Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue let me believe again in what our country could be and in the power of love.

I thought the mix of the political and the love story worked well. I thought the length gave it the space needed to tell the story without getting bogged down with detail or side story.

The story is heart warming and hopeful and makes you dream of a brighter day. Add to that the narration of Ramon de Ocampo and it elevates this audiobook to new heights. de Ocampo's performance of Alex's American and Henry's British accent was brilliant. It's hard to believe they were done by the same person.

Give this book a listen and dream this dream with me. We deserve it .

16 people found this helpful

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Happy Crying

First of all, I want to warn you not to listen to the last 20% of the book in public. Unless you're not bothered by others seeing you happy-cry.

'Red, White & Royal Blue' is a love song to politics, equal love, and the world as we wish it would be. It's very much a 21st century version of 'The American President', complete with a version of President Shepherd's 'I've love two women' speech. Only this time it's delivered by Alex Claremont-Diaz, First Son.

The love story between Alex and Prince Henry is sweet, funny, and smart. I know I'll be listening to it again in the future.

A few notes:
1. The narration by Ramon de Ocampo is spot-on
2. The novel is written in 3rd person/present continuous tense. It was jarring in the beginning, but my ears finally got sort of used to it.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful. Bright. Bloody Brilliant!

THE NOVEL:
I must say I had no idea what to expect from this book. I accidently stumbled upon it, was intrigued, and thought I would give it a go. I was firstly impressed with the author's rich palette of words and their use, allowing her to paint a heartwarming and moving story. A tale disguised as a comedic look into the lives of powerful individuals... but in truth deeply bores into our core values, hopes, and dreams.

Second, I was touched by the realistic portrayal of the nature of family. Two families, both with public personas, as well as intimate, dynamic and sometimes heartbreaking relationships between parents, children, and siblings.

In the current political climate which I believe will be seen as the White House and congressional "reign of terror," I felt the warm and nurturing embrace gifted to us by the author. Someone who understands the true meaning of words like, compassion, love, and hope. Kudos to you Ms. McQuiston.

NARRATION AND VOICE ARTISTRY:
The success of an audible book absolutely hinges upon the skills of the voice artist. The skill, and perhaps gift of Ramón de Ocampo and his voice was and is amazing. I must say it was a privilege to listen to someone whose voice artistry almost made me feel as if I was eavesdropping in on real conversations between characters. I have listened to scores of audible books and this voice artist/actor is truly one of the best. I think perhaps he could narrate a telephone directory and I would pay to listen.

13 people found this helpful

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Perfection

You know it’s good when you’re thinking about when you’re going to reread it😍...So good.

6 people found this helpful

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Better than my wildest hopes!! History, huh?

The hype around d this book and it's story has been huge. When hype gets like that I worry I will be disappointed - instead I was blown away. The characters are real and human and mAke you laugh and cry. All of them pull you in, every single one. The humanity, humor and love in this story was astonishing and I am already listening to this a second time. I also pre-existing a physical copy and I so very pleased with that purchase as well. A fantastically told story that will have you cheering for Alex (when you aren't going 'oh noooo Alex..!!!') and wanting to just smoosh he and Henry together because....yeah. They deserve it. All of it.

Casey - thank you for this story. Thank you for these characters. Just...Thank you for all of it.

Now I have to dry my eyes and listen again. Because I can and have to get lost in this world again.

6 people found this helpful

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Magnificent

A romance of political proportions.
Masterful audio performance.
This book is so good I couldn't hardly put it down, and the narator gave the characters so much life I could practically feel them.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Skip the audio, read the book!

What can I say? I was feeling frisky and chose this on a whim. I love the story but they made a huge mistake in my opinion. The narrator is not right for these roles. The characters are 21 & 23; one British and one Mexican-American. No way does this dude sound any younger than 45. I’ve never recommended someone choose the book over audio. Nearly every book I’ve read on audio has completely elevated the story to another level; something that most readers aren’t even aware of. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me here. It disturbed me to hear him tell the story of these 2 young men. Especially when he voiced for Henry, the British prince.

I had a tough time figuring this one out. Is it a rom-com or a contemporary romance? The cover alludes to a rom-com but it is more insightful and deep than others in the genre. It felt to me like a modern day fairytale; a coming of age love story between the son of a US female president and the younger prince of England (think homosexual Prince Harry). A lot of the scenes felt manufactured and cliched but I’m completely on board with the message and I appreciate the hopefulness it provided. One thing to consider while reading is that this book is a debut and I believe it’s aimed at a younger audience (even though the narrator sounded like an older uptight accountant half the time). If you find yourself wanting to read this do yourself a favor and read the book, skip the audio.

7 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Don't understand the hype... lightweight, shallow.

I was hoping for a fairy tale, or an emotional romance-- all the fab reviews! But this was one of those books that make me wonder how completely off the zeitgeist I am. The main character's main attribute was sarcasm, and he and his supposed best friend and his sister never seemed to speak straight or openly to each other... it was always kind of labored ha-ha sarcasm and put-downs. Exaggerated and arch dialogue made this seem like the supposed friends didn't really know or like each other.

Then the romance. Well, I like good m/m fanfic, and this to me was bad m/m fanfic. Again, the relationship and conversations seemed so artificial... I didn't get much of a sense of real connection between them. Every encounter, they were both trying too hard to be what they were pretending to be-- sophisticated, super-intelligent, cool, whatever. They just didn't ever seem to CONNECT on any kind of soul/heart level.

I try not to leave negative reviews-- bad karma. But this gets so many rave reviews, and I felt empathy for those like me who read this and said, "Huh? What did I miss?" Sorry I missed it-- most readers seemed to have a wonderful time with this story. You probably will to. But if not, well, at least we're not alone!

1 person found this helpful