How often do you stay up a little too long past your bedtime to finish reading a book?

While there was a possibility I may fall asleep at my desk at my day job the next day, this particular book was worth it. The book in question was Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.

Basically, the son of the female President of the United States and a prince of England get together, much to the chagrin of their respective countries. Chaos ensues and, throughout it all, both young men are trying to figure out their place in the world and with each other.

I obviously enjoyed the story, sacrificing a couple of extra hours of sleep for it, but the acknowledgements in the back of the book also caught my eye. This book was published in May 2019, but it has existed with the author since 2016 which, she admits, did not turn out as she — and much of the U.S. — expected. As she states in the acknowledgements, “Suddenly what was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek parallel universe needed to be escapist, trauma-soothing, alternate-but-realistic reality.”

American and English politics, sexuality, race, immigration, they’re all touched upon in this book. They’re mostly in the background of the story, true, but these aspects of the real world drive the main characters as they try to figure out how to be true to themselves despite their public lives. The drama kept me reading, but the real world issues hit home.

Keep fighting, keep making history, keep looking after one another. It’s crucial now more than ever.