REVIEW: KEVIN VAN WHYE – DATE ME, BRYSON KELLER

REVIEW: KEVIN VAN WHYE – DATE ME, BRYSON KELLERDate Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on May 19, 2020
Genres: YA Romance, YA, MM Romance
Tropes: Homophobia
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley, Random House Books for Young Readers
Buy on AmazonBuy on Audible
Narrator: Vikas Adam
Length: 7 hrs and 54 mins
Cliffhanger: No

Goodreads
four-stars

Everyone knows about the dare: Each week, Bryson Keller must date someone new--the first person to ask him out on Monday morning. Few think Bryson can do it. He may be the king of Fairvale Academy, but he's never really dated before.

Until a boy asks him out, and everything changes.

Kai Sheridan didn't expect Bryson to say yes. So when Bryson agrees to secretly go out with him, Kai is thrown for a loop. But as the days go by, he discovers there's more to Bryson beneath the surface, and dating him begins to feel less like an act and more like the real thing. Kai knows how the story of a gay boy liking someone straight ends. With his heart on the line, he's awkwardly trying to navigate senior year at school, at home, and in the closet, all while grappling with the fact that this "relationship" will last only five days. After all, Bryson Keller is popular, good-looking, and straight . . . right?

Kevin van Whye delivers an uplifting and poignant coming-out love story that will have readers rooting for these two teens to share their hearts with the world--and with each other.

DATE ME, BRYSON KELLER

by Kevin van Whye

I was excited to read this YA MM story – I saw the the comparison to a manga and the controversy around it and I admit it does sound very similar to what I read here. I just can’t say how similar they really are since I never read the graphic novel people refer to. Fact is, this world needs love and more books that teach tolerance and acceptance and Kevin van Whye’s story definitely does that.

There are still people who have to fight just to exist, just to love. Just as there are still people who will go out of their way to make that very simple human right something unattainable.

These two boys are cute beyond words. Bryson is a wonderfully kind, young man with a heart full of love. I liked that he was open enough to explore his feelings for Kai, that he wasn’t ashamed but embraced them. It may not be completely realistic to be so accepting of your own “otherness” since people are scared of being an outcast, which is a high possibility, still, in this time and age, however, I’m sure there are some unicorns out there who may be just like Bryson.

“I feel like everything finally makes sense now. You. Me. Us.”

Kai is the a little awkward guy, still deep in the closet. Not even his parents know about his homosexuality. He wants to come out on his own terms which, I think every member of the LBGT community has a right to. Every attempt at forcing this on someone is a huge dealbreaker and should be harshly condemmed so it was satisfying to see how all the culprits and those who hurt Kai got what they deserved.

The writing feels very much the way it’s supposed to for the YA genre. These kids talked like teenagers, sometimes awkwardly, but they also acted quite maturely.

The last 25% of the book stirred up some anger and sadness for how Kai was being treated. It became pretty emotional and I actually felt that sting in my nose that is the precursor for tears.

DATE ME, BRYSON KELLER wasn’t just cute, it was also educational, heartwarming and honest. It is tangible that the author draws from his own experience and shows that homophobia is still very much a big issue, even though the world has become a little more accepting. It’s just not enough. It shouldn’t matter who you love. Love doesn’t hurt anyone so why the hate?

Gay means happy, too, you know.

four-stars

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