Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye
Contemporary YA, LGBTQ
Random House | May 19, 2020
Date Me, Bryson Keller is a book for anyone who wants to relive all the feels from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. The books aren’t the same, but I felt like it hit in the same sweet spot.
Kai is a young man. He loves to write. He loves his sister. He loves his friends. He’s gay. He knows which one of those will dominate his legacy if found out. So, he hides. Right at the start, it’s a tragedy. No child, ever, should feel like their sexuality will be what defines them.
Nevertheless, this is the reality children face.
In Date Me, Bryson Keller, the author is #OWNvoices so it felt pretty authentic, both in the blooming relationship between Kai and Bryson within Kai’s religious family, also in how it feels being mixed race. The author lent Kai a real voice even admitting how a lot of Kai was himself as a teenager. I felt that.
As fantastically written as all that was, the real joy in the story was in Kai and his friendships. Obviously I loved reading about Kai and Bryson, and I’ll get into that more next. It was more than that. One of my favorite relationships in the story was actually Kai and his little sister Yazz. Sibling relationships are everything. Seriously. It’s easy to write the feuding siblings, but the fact that Kai and Yazz had so much respect for each other was truly awesome. I also loved reading every second of Kai and his parents, both his mother and his father. Yes, there were worries about how they wouldn’t handle his coming out, but never once did it ever read like they didn’t love absolutely everything about their children, even in the worse moments.
The same was true for Bryson. He had great relationships with both his mother and his sister. There were almost no faulty families in this story, and that already gives it high marks from me. A family should always love each other, and I know that’s not always a truth, but I adore seeing more of that in stories.
Now, Bryson and Kai… all the swoons. Every step taken between these two felt natural. It wasn’t hurried, or angsty, or loaded. It was pure and precious. There was trust, and faith… it was everything I beg for in YA romance. I’m already looking forward to whatever Kevin van Whye releases next.
Date Me, Bryson Keller was amazing. Seriously.
Meeghan, Thank you.