This book had been on my TBR for so long, and I’m glad I finally read it. It’s written by Casey McQuiston who is nonbinary and bisexual (so someone who knows what they are writing about). This is their debut novel written because of a lack of LGBT fiction in mainstream media.
The story revolves around Alex, the first son of the first woman president of the USA, and Henry, the Prince of Wales, who fall in love with each other. And what ensues is a fun rollercoaster ride for the reader that ends with a hope for a better world.
Issues such as realising one’s identity, wondering whether it would be better to continue living as per people’s expectations than living a genuine life, fearing people’s reaction upon coming out, and being outed are significant focal points in the novel.
Figuring out one’s sexuality and identity usually takes time. Here, Alex doesn’t realise he’s bisexual until Henry kisses him one night which prompts him to start realising his own feelings and sexuality.
Coming out to one’s friends and family, which can be (and is) hard in itself, becomes harder when there’s a possibility that your whole country may find out about it. And then God knows how people would react. For Alex, his mother’s reelection is at stake. For Henry, the royal family’s legacy is at stake. It feels like such a burden that he thinks it might be better if he keeps living his life pretending to be straight and carrying on the family legacy as is expected of him.
Despite deciding to take their time to come out slowly to people around them, Alex and Henry are thrown for a loop when they are outed in the news. Despite fearing the worst, things turn out okay. People come out in support of them.
Maybe we can expect such happy endings only in novels, but perhaps it is the fictional words that hold the power to change our real world.
Maybe, for now, it’s only in the fictional world of this novel that the conservative state Texas (where in the real world anti-trans laws are being passed) supports a bisexual FSOTUS and votes for a woman President to win the reelection, but even this fictional account is enough to give us the hope that one day it all might become a reality. And for that future, we dream on.