Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 11.37.33 AM.pngPublisher: Griffin (St. Martin’s Press)

Publication Date: May 14th, 2019

Page Count: 432

From the Jacket:

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.

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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.

There are so many things I could say about Red, White & Royal Blue. I could talk about the spot on American political commentary cleverly juxtaposed with the rigid tradition of the British monarchy. I could talk about how reading this book in 2019 with Donald Trump as president provides a sense of hope and a glimpse of what our world could one day look like. I could talk about the feeling of seeing myself in Alex, a boy who has grown up so deeply rooted in heteronormativity, he has trouble recognizing and reconciling the the same sex feelings he develops at a young age. I could talk about the way McQuiston captures the essence of a moment better than anyone I’ve ever read and how her descriptions are a completely tactile experience. Or the way she put into words the exact shape of the grief I felt when I lost my grandmother at a young age. I could talk about the romance between Henry and Alex, one that is at once tender, sweet, passionate, real, hilarious, sexy, and wonderful in every way. I could talk about this book forever, and likely will because it is my new all time favorite.

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The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 7.49.22 PMPublisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: May 28th, 2019

Page Count: 336

From the Jacket:

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.

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I haven’t had this much fun with a book since, Where’d You Go Bernadette! The Flatshare is hilarious and uplifting and full of characters that you cannot help but fall in love with. I was initially drawn to this one after reading the synopsis and seeing it was about two people who’ve never met and fall in love over post it notes. A premise like the one could have gone a lot of ways, but O’Leary absolutely nailed it! Tiffy and Leon’s banter is funny and awkward at first but quickly moves to explorative and tender and I could not stop smiling!!

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Miracle Creek – Angie Kim

Screen Shot 2019-03-15 at 3.58.05 PMPublisher: Sarah Crichton Books

Date of Publication: April 16th, 2019

Page Count: 349 pages

From the Jacket:

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far we’ll go to protect our families—and our deepest secrets

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

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It must be said that the cover of this book is absolutely stunning and is what initially caught my attention. While I came for the cover, I stuck around for Kim’s beautiful writing that held me captive from the opening lines:

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first. It was such a small thing, what he wanted.

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