Kiss & Tell

Dial. Mar. 2022. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593325261.
Gr 9 Up–The popular boy band Kiss & Tell started out as a joke with a song about poutine. They quickly became a sensation, were picked up by The Label, and are headlining their biggest tour to date. Just a few weeks before heading out on the road, front man Hunter Drake and his boyfriend of two years, Aidan, break up. To make things messier, Aidan is the twin of band member Ashton. While drunk, Aidan tweets out screenshots of private conversations between the two where it’s clear that they have been having sex. It’s a PR nightmare, and in an attempt to smooth things over, Hunter’s publicist suggests that he fake dates Kaivan, a member of PAR-K, the other band on tour with them. The two have been hanging out, and Hunter has started to develop feelings, so it’s a no-brainer to go along the idea. Through Hunter, Khorram shows what it’s like to be queer and proud, while simultaneously living your life under a microscope. While this story is Hunter’s, outside perspectives intersperse the narrative via snippets of interviews, gossip column articles, emails, and text messages. However, the relationship between Hunter and Kaivan feels rushed and unrealistic in the fast-paced time line. The book touches on racism and homophobia in the music industry. Kiss & Tell has Vietnamese-, Brazilian-, and Indian-Canadian members; Hunter and Ashton present as white Canadian. Kaivan and his bandmates are Iranian American.
VERDICT An entertaining read that feels a bit like One Direction fan fiction.

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