This review is spoiler free.
“I choose to be happy.
Because I can be.
Because I deserve to be.
Gay means happy, too, you know.”
Published: 2020, by Penguin.
Format: eBook/ARC from Netgalley
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Young Adult, Romance, Queer
Contains: Racism, Strong Language, Bullying, Homophobia, Anger, Violence
I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House Children’s UK through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
‘Date Me, Bryson Keller’ is a heartfelt boy-meets-boy romance, following Kai Sheridan, a young boy in the closet. Everyone knows about Byson Keller’s dare: Every week he must date the first person who asks him out on Monday morning. He doesn’t care much for it, not having really dated before. That is, until Kai asks him out.
I’m not normally a contemporary person, usually sticking to more of my favourite genres. However, this one struck a chord with me, enjoying the upbeat and lightheartedness that the plot entailed. Needless to say, it gave me all of that and more.
Kai Sheridan was a wonderful protagonist, fulfilling the diverse roles within the story line and telling the story from a point of view that we don’t usually get to see; a mixed race teenage boy in the closet. Kai was curious and brave throughout the story, from beginning to end, and made for an incredibly interesting protagonist. He didn’t make mistakes per say, yet continued to move the story along and engage the reader in other ways.
Bryson Keller was another interesting character, not really being someone who I expected from the first page. Being the most popular guy in school you expect him to fulfil the stereotype, yet Bryson didn’t. He was friendly and heartwarming with his interactions with Kai and continued to impress. They were both characters you could easily route for, and I had no problem witnessing their story blossom. They made for wonderful characters and I didn’t want their story to end.
The writing itself is very engaging, written from Kai’s point of view and continuing to grip the reader in his clutches. He was an extremely relatable protagonist and made the story flow smoothly through the week with Bryson Keller. Whye has a beautiful talent for narrative, feeling as if you were right in Kai’s mind and understanding his struggles and anxieties, you empathised with him immediately and easily. There was no lack of connection between the reader and its characters.
Overall, this character driven novel is packed with substance. It makes you laugh, cry, and feel for those within it’s pages. It was a pure delight to read.