Publisher: St Martin’s Press
Release Date: 14/05/2019
Book Depository: Paperback
I received a free e-arc of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
First son of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz, is a supportive sibling, successful socialite and budding political star. However, a confrontation between himself and long-term enemy Prince Henry, heir to the throne, at the royal wedding creates consequences Alex would never have imagined.
Whilst fighting at the royal wedding, Alex and Prince Henry destroy an absurdly expensive cake, causing rumours of international relation breakdown (mildly dramatic, but extremely exciting). As a result, Alex and Henry must forge a fake friendship in order to fend off the press. The question is, will this friendship remain fake? The answer is a big, fat, wholesome no.
The pair slowly begin to bond over late night/early morning phone calls and Star Wars. Friendship soon blossoms into a sexual relationship as Alex realises he is bisexual. He convinces himself he is not in love and that Henry cannot possibly love him, but he is promptly proven wrong on both ends and the reader gets to continue rooting for the happy ending they desperately deserve.
The diversity in this book is great – being bisexual, I don’t often see myself represented in books, and bisexual people are often stigmatised both in the heterosexual community, and in the LGBTQ+ community. Therefore, to see people of all backgrounds rooting for a bisexual main character felt fantastic.
There are a whole group of brave, intelligent, independent women who support each other regardless of what happens, which is especially refreshing to see. Females hating females is one of my absolute pet peeves in books, and I’m glad there was no sign of it here. Themes of race, gender, international relations and queerness are all discussed expertly and McQuiston essentially questions why on earth we aren’t all being accepted in 2019. It is a clever satire that scathingly criticises the Trump presidency, with there being a number of scary similarities between Trump himself and the Republican candidate in the book.
I’m not usually hugely fond of romance, but I saw how many positive reviews this book was getting, and took a chance in requesting it on NetGalley. I ended up loving it, which is definitely a lesson in picking up books that are out of your comfort zone once in a while.
There are quite a few explicit sex scenes within this book, so please bear that in mind before jumping in, it is definitely not for younger audiences. The author does a great job of highlighting through these scenes, the importance of consent, both outside of a committed relationship and within one. There is suggestion of coercion and attempted rape/sexual assault, so if any of these aspects would be a trigger for you, I would suggest avoiding. However, the topics are handled very well, and the perpetrator is challenged both by individuals and by media outlets in the book.
The writing had me thoroughly hooked from the beginning, and it did not feel as though the book was over four hundred pages. One qualm I did have was that the speech was occasionally borderline cringy and not wholly realistic. This meant I couldn’t give the book a perfect rating, but honestly, it was pretty close.
I would recommend this book a thousand percent, and I cannot wait to see what this author does in the future. I don’t often purchase physical copies of books once I’ve read them on e-book, but this might have to be an exception, as I would love to reread it in the future. If anyone has any recommendations for books that are in a similar vein as this one, please let me know, because I’m interested to see if I would like other books in this genre.
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