Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.
Book: Nate Plus One
Author: Kevin van Whye
Book Series: Standalone
Diversity: Gay Black (South African ancestry) MC, Black characters, South African characters, bisexual/queer characters, M/M romance
Recommended For…: young adult readers, contemporary, romance, travel ,school band, Wedding plus one trope, LGBT, m/m romance
Publication Date: May 10, 2022
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Age Relevance: 16+ (romance, underage alcohol consumption, racism, parental death, grief, homophobia, animal death, language, sexual content, apartheid, child abuse)
Explanation of Above: There is romance in this book, as it’s a YA contemporary romance. There is some small scenes and mentions of underage alcohol consumption. Racism is mentioned in the book and some slight homophobia is shown. There is a parental death mentioned in the book and grief is shown occasionally in the text. There is an animal death shown in the book and it’s a goldfish. There are a couple of curse words in the book. There is slight sexual content, with one fade to black sex scene. Apartheid is mentioned in the book and there is some exploration into what happened in South Africa. There are also allusions to child abuse in the book.
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: Nate needs a date to his cousin’s wedding. Jai is Nate’s best friend and secret crush. Could Jai be Nate’s plus-one–and only?
Nate Hargraves is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy. That’s why he dreams of being a songwriter instead of a singer. But things change the summer after junior year as Nate gets ready to fly to South Africa for his cousin’s lavish destination wedding. The trip is bound to be epic. Except–Nate just found out that his ex-boyfriend will be at the reception. Ugh. He does not want to face this one solo.
Jai Patel, Nate’s best friend (and secret crush), has his own problems. The lead singer of Jai’s band, Infinite Sorrow, quit weeks before a contest that promised to be their big break. But Nate rocks Jai’s world when he agrees to sing with the band. Even though Nate’s not one for the spotlight, he knows this is the kind of stuff you do for . . . friends. In return, Jai volunteers to be Nate’s travel buddy around South Africa, a buffer against his ex, and his plus-one at the wedding.
Maybe this summer will be epic after all. Now that Nate’s crush is on board, will love crash the party? Fall in love with this joyful, swoon-worthy rom-com by the author of Date Me, Bryson Keller.
Review: For the most part I really liked this book. It was a cute romance and it contained a lot of things I love: school bands, wedding plus one trope, and getting over an ex/reconciliation with your past. I thought the messages in the book were well done, especially in dealing with homophobic family members and exes who want to get back together. The book was sweet and it showed an adorable romance. I also really appreciate that this book showcases two BIPOC queer male characters and I hope to see a lot more in the future. Every reader should be able to see themselves in a multitude of books. The character development was good and the world building was great. I loved the premise of the book and it’s a book I could see myself rereading if I needed a pick-me-up.
However, I thought while the book was good, it really struggled with an overall plot. There were about 3-4 different plot points in the book and they weren’t that cohesive. The book would solve one and there would be an awkward lull until we got to the next one. The plot issue really hurt the book and it felt more like a collection of stories about this character’s dating journey than an overall novel.
Verdict: It was good! Highly recommend.
Nate Plus One by Kevin van Whye
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publishing Date: May 10, 2022
The gorgeous new feelgood LGBTQ+ romantic comedy from the author of Date Me, Bryson Keller!
Two boys. Two bands. Two worlds colliding.
Nate Hargraves – stage-shy singer-songwriter – is totally stoked for his cousin’s wedding in South Africa, an all-expenses-paid trip of a lifetime. Until he finds out his sleazeball ex-boyfriend is also on the guest list.
Jai Patel – hot-as-hell high school rock-god – has troubles too. His band’s lead singer has quit, just weeks before the gig that was meant to be their big break.
When Nate saves the day by agreeing to sing with Jai’s band, Jai volunteers to be Nate’s plus-one to the wedding, and the stage is set for a summer of music, self-discovery, and simmering romantic tension. What could possibly go wrong . . . ?
‘One of the most adorable, big-hearted, charming books in existence’ – Becky Albertalli, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, on Date Me, Bryson Keller!
About the Author:
Kevin van Whye was born and raised in South Africa, where his love for storytelling started at a young age. Kevin is the author of Date Me, Bryson Keller. He lives in Johannesburg, and when he’s not reading, he’s writing stories that give his characters the happy rom-com endings they deserve.