Review | Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

Date Me Bryson KellerDate Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye
Standalone
Contemporary YA, LGBTQ
Random House | May 19, 2020

About the Book:

What If It’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this upbeat and heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance that feels like a modern twist on a ’90s rom-com!

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.

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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.


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

9 Responses

  1. Rr

    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but they really published this? The premise was plagiarized from a famous Japan BL manga called Seven Days, published back in 2007-2009 (JP). The blurb is practically the same, they just changed the race. (Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Days-Monday-Sunday-Venio-Tachibana/dp/1974709272)

    Please don’t support the book. Please support the original creator instead. Thank you.

    Also, FYI, sorry if it disturbed you, my dropping a comment like this. It is gaining traction now in the bl and asian fandoms and communities that’s how I found your post. I just want to inform you and other people that might find your blog about the truth.

    Regards, R

    Like

  2. Birdie!! Thank you for the thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed this.
    If it helps, I have also heard the same about the plagiarisation. Van Whye has gone on record saying that the story was inspired by the graphic novel, and while I am yet to read the original (I have ordered it, but waiting for international postage), I have read other graphic novels by Takarai. While the main plot (the dare of dating for a week) might be similar, I have no doubts that the rest of the story is Van Whye’s original work (including the mixed race and religious sub-plots, and friendships and family relationships). I’ve read 6 volumes of Ten Count, and apart from the two main characters, I think there are only two others in it.Takarai’s work (in my opinion) is very heavily focused on the sexuality component of the relationship, and less on character development.
    Of course, I may retract this after reading Seven Days, but until then and based on my current knowledge of both authors I think it’s likely a pretty loose inspiration.

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