Review: Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram

Posted April 15, 2022 by Angie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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Review: Kiss & Tell by Adib KhorramKiss & Tell by Adib Khorram
Published by Dial Books on March 22, 2022
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Young Adult Fiction
Format: eBook (384 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: AmazonIndieBound
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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.

four-stars

Proceed With Caution:

This book contains homophobia, diet/calorie talk, invasion of privacy, underage drinking, racism, and slurs.

The Basics:

Kiss & Tell is narrated by seventeen-year-old Hunter Drake, one-fifth of a popular boyband. He’s also the only gay member of the group and is propped up to be the posterchild of the “good gay.” At least until his ex-boyfriend publicly posts their private chats, shaking Hunter and his image.

My Thoughts:

I am a sucker for all things boyband, so of course I had to read Kiss & Tell. Plus, I’ve loved the author’s other books and knew I was in for something special. This one is completely different from the Darius books, so if you’re looking for more of that, this is not it. It is still a super worthy and entertaining and thought provoking read though, so don’t miss out!

The music industry is a mess! We all know that, but Kiss & Tell gives us a glimpse behind the scenes. Hunter’s image has been carefully crafted to be nonthreatening and digestable, so having his sexts out in the universe is a huge blow to him and The Label. I felt so bad for him! It’s hard enough being a teenager figuring out the sex and relationship stuff, and then to have to navigate that in the public eye? Not cool.

There is a pretty cute romance at the center of Kiss & Tell. Hunter starts dating the drummer from their opening act, Kaivan. It was suppose to be fake for publicity (I would have loooved that!), but the two genuinely liked each other so they jump in for real. There is quite a bit of drama between them as can be expected from two teenage boys, especially two teenage boys who have the added pressure of being celebrities. I do think it was all handled well and realistically. I never felt like it was over-the-top or drama for drama’s sake. These boys are dealing with things together and individually.

The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way and did fell like drama for the sake of drama was Hunter’s ex showing up about mid-book. There’s no clear explanation for this, other than his mom sent him to join the tour? Why though? Yes, his twin brother is in the group, but he has nothing to do with it. I just didn’t get why he was there other than to cause more trouble for Hunter.

In the end, I adored Kiss & Tell. It was fun going on tour with a Canadian boyband. There’s some touching moments as Hunter figures out how to be himself while not causing trouble for the band or The Label. He also wants to help people with the position he’s been granted, but also has to learn when to step back because it’s not his place. It was just a well-rounded read.

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