As a fan of contemporary books, I knew I needed Date Me, Bryson Keller as soon as I read the synopsis. Before I start my full review, I can tell you that this book was everything I wanted and more. It’s everything I need from a contemporary and left me with a smile on my face. That being said, let’s continue to my full review.
Also, a big thanks to Penguin for providing me with an e-ARC on Netgalley! I’m so glad I got to read this one early!
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.
“That’s the thing with labels: they tend to stick to you like unwanted gum.”
When I read that this book was pitched as What if it’s Us meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, I knew I needed it. Especially if it feels like a ’90s romcom. I went into this book expecting a fun contemporary that made me laugh and and left me with a happy feeling at the end. I got that and more. Date Me, Bryson Keller really hit me in all the feels! Kevin van Whye made me connect with these characters and I honestly wish there was more to come!
Our main character Kai has known for awhile that he’s gay, but hasn’t come out yet and he’s not sure how. His parents are really religious and being mixed-race and this makes it so much harder for him to want to announce this. How will his parents react? At school there are some students already out, but it’s still not easy. I loved Kai so much. He loves his family and friends and in many ways he’s sick of living a lie, but he doesn’t know how everyone will accept the news. Kai is creative, sensitive, caring, passionate and shy (he constantly blushes). And Kai is incredibly brave, more so then he thinks!
“I know that my family loves me, but I’m a puzzle that’s incomplete. If they ever see the full picture, will they feel the same way?”
Bryson is your typical high school jock (star on the soccer team) or so it seems. Except there’s so much more to him than meets the eye! He has a bright and bubbly personality, is kind, doesn’t even think twice to help someone out and will stand up for what he believes in. His home life isn’t perfect, but he loves his mother and sister. Dating isn’t something he does (when you read the book you’ll understand why), so he go into a bet to date someone every week for a few months. There are rules and he has to be asked out! This has been going okay so far, no big deal.
Fake dating is one of my favorite tropes and makes me laugh. I loved that Kai asked Bryson out in a moment of frustration, because he never expected him to say yes. The whole week of seeing them dating and getting to know each other was so sweet! As they go on dates, it’s fun to see them connect and feelings grow. I kept on wondering how this would end, because as far as we know at the start, Bryson is straight. That was an interesting point made in this book as well, sometimes you don’t question your sexuality or think you need to until you start feeling something. It all felt so natural.
“The people who matter to me the most accept me for who I am – 100 percent. And there is power in that. It is my shield and my armor.”
That being said, this book isn’t all smiles and fun! There are also some serious subjects talked about. One being, that when people come out they’re still harassed, rejected, treated differently, etc. Someone even says in the book, why is this still happening? We shouldn’t still be treating people this way. Love is love! Everyone loves who they love and there’s nothing wrong with that. This book had me in tears quite a few times, because I really hurt for our main characters. When you read the author’s note, it hits you in the feels even more. Date Me, Bryson Keller is an own voices story and it feels that way.
Besides this amazing story, we also get a cast of amazing side characters. Bryson’s sister and mom made me laugh and I wish we saw more of them. Kai’s sister Yazz is amazing and definitely deserves her own story, I would love to know more! She’s the sister everyone should have. Also, Kai’s best friend are the perfect squad to have at school. The only thing I wish we learned more about it what happens with the play? And Kai’s writing! I wouldn’t say no to a book with these two in college, haha. All in all, an amazing read and I won’t be forgetting this one anytime soon!
This was a hard review to write, because I loved this book so much and didn’t want to spoil anything! I will say it again, definitely pick up Date Me, Bryson Keller if you love contemporaries. It hit me in all the feels and I won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. I know this will become I book I reread every once in awhile!