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Red, White & Royal Blue

A Novel
Narrated by: Ramon de Ocampo
Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Summary

"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)

What members say

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Profile Image for Ryan Logsdon
  • Ryan Logsdon
  • 14-05-19

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.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Regina W
  • Regina W
  • 21-05-19

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 .

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Robert Jackson
  • Robert Jackson
  • 31-05-19

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • H Price
  • 15-05-19

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.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Ana's Attic
  • Ana's Attic
  • 13-08-19

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

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bisan
  • 25-05-19

Perfection

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

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Megs
  • 15-05-19

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Keith G
  • 13-08-19

A charming start that loses momentum at the end

This is a cute story. In the beginning, the lead into the relationship and the early struggles of the relationship are the best parts. Like so many other stories of this genre, once the relationship is achieved the story suffers through a bit of a "what's next" issue.

Of course there is going to be a complication or two. The author's choice and creation of the pivotal complication is disappointing. As was unfolding, I got the sense that, gosh, this can be easily handled so why is the author making it so much more difficult than it needs to be?

Well, obviously it is being more difficult than it needs to be for the sake of where the author needs the story to go. At that moment, I was taken out of the story as I caught the writer writing. The best writers keep you so swept up in the story that you never notice the mechanics of story-telling.

Being able to create that late story complication that forces the issue of the relationship and causes the main characters to evaluate who they are and what's important to them is a challenging task. I wish this author had handled the tasks better. I really liked most of the story, but I just feel that the last third was a bit of a let-down.

The narrator was pretty good, but the way he chose to personalize the prince was a bit annoying and did not help my enjoyment of the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • averi54
  • 10-06-19

Twilight...

This book got tons of four-five stars reviews so I decided to chime in. This story made me feel like our current reality is the twilight-zone, what with all the bat-shit stuff going on with the current administration. This fictional political climate feels more normal than what we are living with at the moment that's for sure. Someday, I hope to see a female president. The rest of the story however is just all suspense of disbelief.

Due to the high reviews, I was expecting more. The story had its quirk and funny banters but it bored me along the line. A snooze-fest. I didn't really care for either characters. It wasn't that the characters were bad or under-developed, it was that they were fleshed out just enough to give them a faint shadow - like they didn't really have depths just a few strings of made up personalities. And the story was ever so predictable. If I'm not sitting on the edge of my seat anticipating the next moves then that story hasn't grasp my full attention and for me, it means "the intrigue factor" which in all story captures my curiosity, is missing. This story reminded me of the chick-flick movies about first daughters and princes that I've seen. Wasn't impress by them and this story left me with the same dull feeling. My mind started wandering off half way thru the book which was my brain's way of telling me it's time to call it quits. So at 60% I skipped to the last 15 minutes of the audio. And well what do you know, I didn't miss anything.

The writing was good, this author can definitely write a good setting. I just wasn't crazy about her story. So if you like cute tales about first sons and royal princes with a bit of chick-flick spin to it then this is the perfect book. The ending was cheesy, just saying. But this is a case of "it's not the book, it's me"...shrugs.

Regarding the narrator, Ramon de Ocampo, it was my first read from him and I thought he did a good job. Though he's not particularly the tone of vocal I listen to, I think if he can capture a character like he did here, I wouldn't mind listening to him again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chad W. Nixon
  • 23-05-19

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful