Disclaimer: I received this finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: Kiss & Tell
Author: Adib Khorram
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Gay MC, M/m romance, Gay characters, Black character, Iranian American gay character, Iranian American characters, Brazilian character, Indian character, Vietnamese character
Recommended For…: young adult readers, contemporary, romance, LGBT, boy band, music
Publication Date: March 22, 2022
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Age Relevance: 15+ (Language, Sexual content, Homophobia, Death threats, Alcohol consumption, Panic attack, Gore, Romance, Racism, Attempted Sexual Assault)
Explanation of Above: There is cursing in the book. The book discusses sexual content such as masturbation and sexting. There is homophobia and racism shown in the book and mentioned. There are death threats mentioned in the book. There is alcohol consumption mentioned and I am unsure if this is underage. There is a panic attach shown in the book. The gore in the book is vomiting but it is a very brief scene. There is a brief scene where an older person who is an adult attempts to have sex with our MC who is a minor. There is romance in the book as well.
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: Hunter never expected to be a boy band star, but, well, here he is. He and his band Kiss & Tell are on their first major tour of North America, playing arenas all over the United States and Canada (and getting covered by the gossipy press all over North America as well). Hunter is the only gay member of the band, and he just had a very painful breakup with his first boyfriend–leaked sexts, public heartbreak, and all–and now everyone expects him to play the perfect queer role model for teens.
But Hunter isn’t really sure what being the perfect queer kid even means. Does it mean dressing up in whatever The Label tells him to wear for photo shoots and pretending never to have sex? (Unfortunately, yes.) Does it mean finding community among the queer kids at the meet-and-greets after K&T’s shows? (Fortunately, yes.) Does it include a new relationship with Kaivan, the star of the band opening for K&T on tour? (He hopes so.) But when The Label finds out about Hunter and Kaivan, it spells trouble—for their relationship, for the perfect gay boy Hunter plays for the cameras, and, most importantly, for Hunter himself.
Review: I really liked this book! It was a fun read with the fake dating trope used and it reminded me of If This Gets Out. The book utilized the mixed media format and I loved seeing the blend of what people were saying about the MC and what the MC was saying. The mixed media format also adds a level of panic in how the MC is receiving criticism for his every move. The book did very well discussing intersectionality in the queer community. While our MC faces criticism and certainly deals with homophobia, a separate character who is Iranian American and queer also faces that backlash plus racism. The book did well to discuss that and to make the MC, who is white, understand it as well. The book has great character development and world building. The book is also well paced and very well written.
The only issue I had with the book is that I would have liked for the mixed media format to be better designed artistically to better separate it from the rest of the book.
Verdict: I highly recommend this one! Loved it so much!