Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye
Bryson Keller is the hottest guy in school but, much to all the girls’ chagrin, he doesn’t date. Bryson Keller doesn’t “see the point in high school relationships” but admits he’s sure he could date a new girl every week if he wanted to. He’s dared to prove it. The rules of the dare: 1) he will date the first person to ask him out each Monday until the final bell on Friday, 2) he is forbidden from asking anyone out himself, and 3) if someone fails to ask him out, he loses. He agrees to do it for three months and if he loses, he has to quit driving his beloved Jeep to school and has to start riding the bus (he’s a Senior, the stakes are HIGH). Kai is in a MOOD. It’s been one thing after another all morning and now he’s just landed himself in lunch detention when he was planning on using that time to finish writing his script that’s due tomorrow. So he’s not feeling overly sympathetic toward Bryson Keller when he starts bemoaning the fact that it’s Monday morning at 9:10 and no one has asked him out yet. In fact, Kai becomes downright daring and confident (who is this guy???) and HE asks Bryson out himself! What?? Kai is gay but no one knows that and he is nowhere near ready to come out. Why in the world did he ask out Bryson Keller? It turns out to be the scariest and maybe the best(???) decision of his life.
I am happy to give Date Me, Bryson Keller my cherished label of TOTES ADORBS. It’s a sweet rom-com and it’s LGBTQ. Yes, there’s quite a bit of coming out drama but there’s also just a bunch of sweet, young love. Kevin van Whye is an #ownvoices author, being both gay and bi-racial himself. Whether or not you choose to read this book (you totally should), van Whye’s Author’s Note is well worth a read. In it, he reminisces over his coming out experience and lauds the importance of there being more than one gay love story. This especially resonated with me. Long ago, I was guilty of thinking, there’s already this gay love story and that gay love story, do we really need more? What a closed-minded view! How many cis love stories are out there? Millions? Probably. The more gay love stories, the better. Thank you for articulating this, Mr. van Whye. The author also gives a nod to some of his favorite creators. He acknowledges that their stories (Simon v. the Homo Sapiens’ Agenda, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Seven Days, She’s All That) are “woven into the tapestry” of his novel. I just love that. A final note: the audiobook is very good, narrated by a great one - Vikas Adam.