A book about a boy band featuring a gay main character? Yes, please! When I first saw Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram I was so excited and just knew it would be a fun read, and while it absolutely was, it also dealt with a lot of heavy themes as well, such as homophobia, online harassment, and fetishization.
In Kiss & Tell we follow Hunter, one of the members of the band by the same name as the book. They’re a pop culture sensation hailing from Canada, and everyone knows their hit single, Poutine (LOL 😂). But right before they depart for a sold out North American tour, Hunter has a very public breakup with his long-term boyfriend, who also happens to be the twin brother of his best friend and band mate.
The story is told from the perspective of Hunter, and through text messages, emails, interviews, and magazine articles of the band. We see Hunter navigate celebrity culture, fame, his breakup, and a rebound, all while dealing with being the “stereotypical gay guy” in his boy band.
The book is 100% character driven and the plot is rather repetitive. They play shows, Hunter gets stereotyped or has bad shit written about him in the press, he (understandably) gets upset, etc. I would have loved to see these themes and conflicts explored more in depth, but instead they were glanced over and a romance plotline was pushed forward instead. I think the book would have succeeded more as a self discovery/personal growth story than a romance.
Overall, while it was fun and enjoyable while it lasted, it fell a little flat and I was left wanting more. Bonus points for all the sex positively, though! A solid 3 ⭐ read for me.
Thank you to Penguin Teen Canada for sending me a digital ARC of Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram. It came out on March 22, 2022, and can be bought wherever books are sold.