In this episode Julian Lejbman joins me to talk about our (super gay) feelings about Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue!
A few things we discuss in the episode:
- Avoiding things that are popular;
- Our theories on why straight women like content about gay men;
- Quintessential queer experiences;
- How straight people are very confused about bisexuals;
- Why books like this matter (even when their covers are bubble gum pink);
- Writing about an identity other than your own;
- Author’s we want to be friends with (and maybe date);
- Perfect nights with chosen families
A note on pronouns: McQuiston uses she/her and they/them pronouns, so we use both in our discussion.
About Red, White and Royal Blue
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, 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.
A note on the links throughout this page: Casually Obsessed is an affiliate with Bookshop.org, an awesome online bookstore that supports local bookstores (instead of Jeff Bezos). If you use one of my affiliate links and buy a book from Bookshop, I’ll make a small commission (at no extra cost to you).
For fans of Red, White and Royal Blue
Good Trouble on Freeform
To easily find the books mentioned in this episode, you can visit the Bookshop collection right here. It’s a special roundup of our recommended reads and other books mentioned in the episode.
Also mentioned in this episode:
LA Review of Books on Red, White & Royal Blue (re: describing everything as stupid)
Vanity Fair Interview (source for the quote about frothy, escapist fun)
This Bookpage interview (source for the quote about whether Casey always knew it would be a gay book)
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins & The Call Your Girlfriend episode discussing it
Things on the internet that might interest you:
Why ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ Author Casey McQuiston Loves Making Birth Charts For Her Characters (plus twitter threads 1 and 2)
If you’d prefer to read this episode, you can find the complete transcript along with timestamps on the transcript page.