FICTION

Date Me, Bryson Keller

Random. May 2020. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593126035.
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Gr 9 Up–The “Me” of the title is Kai Sheridan, a closeted gay teen and droll narrator. Certain he could have any girl he wanted, popular Bryson Keller doesn’t care all that much about dating in high school. Then he accepts a dare to date a different person every week for the rest of the school year. The catch? Bryson has to go out with the first person who asks him every Monday morning. The challenge is going exceptionally well until Kai makes a risky move, upending everything Bryson knows about himself. This incredibly bold move also inadvertently outs Kai even as his secret becomes fodder for the school paper. Thanks to two supportive best friends and a sister who is wise beyond her years, Kai is able to realize happiness as his true self. Van Whye does a wonderful job tackling multiple relevant topics for high schoolers; through Kai’s first-person narration, readers glimpse his struggles of being mixed race and gay.
VERDICT A fun, feel-good story that shows the importance of having a strong support system, that love is love, and that everyone deserves to love and be loved. With wide appeal for those who favor stories tackling teen struggles of identity.

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