Reviews

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

arogers159's review against another edition

Go to review page

2.0

I was excited for this book because gay rom-com type books can sometimes be cathartic for me since I didn’t get any when I was a younger teenager. I also love fake dating. But this was not actually fake-dating and was barely a rom-com?
This book was basically written to point blank tell you many many times and with no subtly that homophobia is bad and still exists. The writing was weird and totally felt like it was trying way too hard to get that message in the most unnaturally written way ever. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind stories where coming out/homophobia are the main. I actually usually enjoy them a lot. But this book was very tell not show and just very cheesy and over the top in the way it got its message across.
The romance between the Kai and Bryson was weird and rushed and it felt a lot of times like there was literally no conflict in the story other than the vague threat of homophobia.
And Bryson was the most boring unrealistic character ever. Did he have any flaws?? Any moment where it looked like he might mess up or do something interesting he does the perfect and most boring thing. He felt even less like a real character than the rest of the characters.

florienvdc's review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful lighthearted sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

franvs's review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful fast-paced

4.75

amberdlewis's review against another edition

Go to review page

hopeful lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

tracie's review against another edition

Go to review page

3.0

3.5

monkeyrainbow13's review against another edition

Go to review page

fast-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

4.0

lenis_shelves's review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional fast-paced
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

_fathimanourin1234_'s review against another edition

Go to review page

emotional funny hopeful lighthearted reflective relaxing fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? N/A

5.0

This is the best. Really this book feels so good. From the beginning to the end I was rooting for Bryson keller and Kai Sheridan. The way they explore each other. They are very excited to know each other more deeply. And the way they both assuring each other. Awww!!!! I love both of them.
And ofc the thoughts and insecurities Kai feels, I know how disturbing it is in his POV. Sometimes while reading this story, I was very grateful that I am straight, because I don't have to go to these kind of shits. I know there are worse shits going on in homosexuals life. 
This story is mostly in Kai's POV. I really need a sequel that tells the story in Bryson's POV. I really need it.
This book is actually my 3rd favourite book of all time. I'm glad that I found this book. This is a must read book actually. This is a beginner friendly book.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings

deepower7's review against another edition

Go to review page

1.0

I really wasn't going to rant about this one but what in the name of sweet Simon Spier did I just read? Was it an after school special? Was it a fever dream? Who can tell? (Full disclosure, I didn't know anything about any plagiarism until after I'd finished so that didn't affect my reading.)

I feel like every time the author came across a choice between a logical, carefully thought out development in the plot, and doing something utterly senseless and baffling, they went with door number 2. Never have I struggled so much to suspend my disbelief in a contemporary ya.

But also, execution wise I felt like I've read fanfic with writing less amateurish, someone needs to tell the writer about this thing called NUANCE.

makes no damn sense. does NOT compel me tho.

kaikai1618's review against another edition

Go to review page

4.0

***SPOILERS****

It’s been so long since I’ve read a book this quickly. I have to say that I don’t normally have two fantastic books in a row, but somehow, I am surprised.

FIRST THOUGHTS
Going into this book I read it as an escape. With the world is shambles, I wanted to cute summer read to make me feel better. What this book did was more than that. Date Me, Bryson Keller may have a cheesy looking cover(after reading it this makes sense), but it delivers more than you’d expect. It takes you into the life of Kai, who is the most adorable nervous wreck I have ever seen in a book. His awkwardness is very clearly stated multiple times by those around him, and his constant blushing around those he liked is a futile weakness I can sadly relate to. It’s easy to see how personal this book is, even if you didn’t read about the authors beforehand. Kai embodies a lot of the experiences that the author has. In his author’s note, Whye talks about how he implemented his own queer experiences, music taste, mixed race representation, and religious family aspects into Kai’s life. There are ways all of this is shown throughout the books that is done so well.

MENTAL HEALTH
Being in Kai’s head, you can empathize with his overthinking and anxiety over situations constantly throughout the book. Though I don’t have anxiety myself, I can understand and relate to Kai’s patterns of overthinking since I have ADHD. When it comes to mental health, it isn’t always a big thing, it can also be the quotes, small things battling in your head. Kai’s struggle with anxiety doesn’t magically go away. And even when it isn’t the focus of the story, it’s still an important part of Kai’s life. Though he gets more confident and his nervousness lessens, he still struggles, he’s just brave enough to try more.

RACE
Another aspect I thought was well done is the way Kai’s race was portrayed. Since Kai is mixed race, there are times his culture comes up or is mentioned. It is done in a way that acknowledges the way culture is consistent in ones life without making it the focus. When it comes to many YA books, the focus is often on the hardships and tribulations of being queer or a person of color. In this book, there’s a focus on a queer person’s journey who also happens to be mixed. Even with such a heavy focus on Kai being gay, his personality isn’t his sexuality. It’s an important factor I look for in books with this kind of representation. I’m glad that it was done right for this novel.

RELATIONSHIP
When it comes to the story itself, Date me, Bryson Keller made me MELT and sigh, on the verge of happy tears from how heartwarming and adorable these two were as a couple. Bryson Keller is so swoon worthy I really couldn’t Blame Kai for falling for him. Instead of a narrative where Bryson is a terrible person in public or acts really uncomfortable with some kind of internalized homophobia, he is accepting and open from the beginning. Seriously people, this guy is tangentially related to Kai getting coffee spilled on him, and he offers to wash his blazer, then lends Kai his own when it’s not ready for school (strict dress code). That’s day one . Bryson is the kind of guy who’s popular because he’s genuinely liked, not because he holds some kind of synonymously agreed upon position in the naturally developed high school hierarchy. He was such a breath a fresh air, though, he’s so perfect and lovable, I know he’s fiction. He is possible to exist, but a rare gem indeed (Where can I find one??).

INTIMACY
This is a story that was handled with care. It didn’t even have any sex in it, and it didn’t need it. Sometimes the sex in gay YA book is unnecessary and I appreciated that this was more about their emotional connection and growth with one another (not that you can’t have both, sex positivity is good too).

PACING
Normally, I have an issues with a short time span in books like these. This takes place over a very short amount of time, and though I do think some things seem a little fast in retrospeact, like Bryson’s comfort with himself and his sexuality, I didn’t find it to be a huge issue. The way each day was spread out made the relationship feel like it naturally progressed. Everything flowed really well and there was so much romantic tension I could have cut it with a freaking butter knife. Also, they didn’t dramatically profess their love or anything in a week. They only said they really liked each other, a more realistic progression for such a short timespean.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
I liked how every though Bryson was so perfect, he was given of depth (considering the time span) and core traits that made me really respect him. Not only was he dealing with his own family problems, he was empathetic, neat, mature, fair, moral, and honest. Kai was messier, nervous, caring, brave, and creative. Together they had such a healthy and emotionally honest relationship. I loved it.

When it came to the side characters, I loved the roles that family and friends played. Dustin and Priyanka were developed character who were witty, interesting, and distinct. Kai family was also open, able to joke freely and feel comfortable with one another. I appreciated this dynamic and development. In many books, the family and side characters are either cardboard or barley show up at all. Time was taken to show the relationship Kai had with those he loved. Developing those side characters makes their acceptance or denial all the more emotional. You can empathize with a character when they are faced with the disapproval of a parent. You can understand even more when you see how close and comfortable a family was, and the way that the character fears to ruin that dynamic.

CHEESE
This book was cheesy as hell. Somehow though, I loved them so much I found myself liking the cheese. It's nice sometimes for gay relationships to have that cheese too. Also I know some the cheese is purposeful from how this book was modeled after 80s and 90s movies with a modern twist.

ISSUES
I had very little issues with this book. I think the only thing I questioned was how comfortable Bryson was with himself. I understand he grew up in an accepting home and he's a generally confident person, but I think when anyone is confused about who they are, it can take some time to figure things out. Coming out so soon didn't seem that realistic to me. For a guy who doesn't like change and eats the same thing every morning, I found it a little hard to believe that Bryson would not only be okay with coming out so soon, but would also react so maturely. Though he has been consistently a mature and put together character, I didn't see that much hesitation or fear for himself. In times of fear, we aren't always that well spoken or we don't say the right thing. I found that Bryson always said and did the right thing.

When it comes to nuance, this book wasn't exactly very strong on this, with blatant statements about the hardships of being gay.

One other issue I had is that I kind of wish there was an epilogue. This is more of a sad fan who wants more content thing, but really, I wanted to see Shannon floored, and Bryson and Kai happy together at college when they meet up at a cute NYC coffee shop or something