Thank you to Penguin Random House International for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye
Release Date: May 19th 2020
Tags: Contemporary | Young Adult | LGBTQ+ | Homosexual
Trigger/Content Warnings: Homophobic jokes and comments | Bisexual Erasure | Unsuportive Parents | Public Outings
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?
I rarely read contemporary for review but Date Me Bryson Keller really interested me. I will admit to quit liking the fake dating trope and cutesy reads. So I had high hopes for a book that is marketed as one. Except it is not.
Bryson Keller has been dating another girl every week on a dare. Two months in and Kai on a whim asks him out for the week before anyone else can. But Kai isn’t out as gay and doesn’t want to be so they date in secret. The whole explanation, the whole set up just didn’t work out. And its not an actual fake dating plot. But hey if we were going to get the cute moments I could forgive that.
There were some cute moments but Date Me, Bryson Keller still didn’t quite work. The downfall is the writing. There is a certain lecturing tone that happens in the conversation between our character that makes it feel like this book is all out to teach us and that is why things are happening in the book. Preaching. It’s not about the characters. And it means this isn’t a light hearted cutesy read as it has been marketed as.
I would like to point you to the own voices review of Anna who explains this much better than I do.
Adding onto that is that I feel like we are getting a little bit of bisexual erasing here. It doesn’t once occur to Kai that Bryson could be bisexual instead of gay. Bryson has dated girls and genuinely seemed to like that. So he could totally be bisexual. But that never gets mentioned. Not the once.
As for the characters, they were mostly fine I guess. I liked Kai’s sister but I feel like she was just there to tell their parents they were being shit parents for Kai. That is never a good thing. And I could go rounds with the other characters as well. I wish we’d gotten more light hearted thing between Kai and Bryson. Sharing the big things is important too but you also have to connect over other thing.
All in all this is not a book that could quite sell me over.