Cover Image: Nate Plus One

Nate Plus One

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Member Reviews

Nate Plus One was the cute, fun and SQUEEE, allll the feels moment I needed. The characters were sweet and adorable, but I would have liked to see a little more character development. The plot was a little predictable but what rom-com isn't nowadays. Super easy quick read and I'm looking forward to reading more from Kevin van Whye.
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It’s a quick read! It’s certainly YA! It’s friends to lovers, it’s a romance, both main characters are Black musicians, it’s very sweet. It’s good! It’s just not that deep. Four stars.
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*3.5 stars
This was a cute friends-to-lovers story that never really reached past the surface, I think due to its shorter length with the amount it's trying to tackle. While I liked it, I didn't love it like I did his first book, [book:Date Me, Bryson Keller|52739801] because I didn't feel especially pulled to the characters or their relationship. It's not the first m/m romance I'd recommend, but it's definitely not the last!
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'Nate Plus One' is a super quick and sweet YA queer romance. The friends to lovers trope is in full force here which I adored! I loved how both of the characters were Black musicians. The parts about that are very entertaining as well. The romance feels easy and realistic and I loved followed the main characters..
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When Nate's mom cannot attend a family wedding in South Africa at the last minute, his best friend--and secret crush--Jai volunteers to go. Jai is there to support Nate during his first visit to his father's homeland and as Nate encounters his ex, who is also a guest at the wedding, for the first time since their breakup.

This YA queer romance is a quick read full of sweet friends-to-lovers pining and stolen glances. Since they are both musicians, there are charming moments centered around songwriting and performing as well. The two boys have sparks, and there is a fade-to-black scene. I enjoyed reading the book, and once Nate and Jai arrived in South Africa, the story really picked up for me.

CW: homophobia, discussions of racism and apartheid, divorce, deceased parent

Thank you to Random House Children's and NetGalley for the ARC of this book. Review opinions are my own.
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I did not like this book. The writing was clunky and I didn't feel attached to any character at any point.
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This was a very cute LGBTQ+ read. This was a best friends to lovers read. I love to read YA books but I am 27 so sometimes I run the risk of them feeling very young for me. I felt like i was a little to old to be reading this one. But I think younger people might like this one. Overall I thought this was cute and I would suggest.
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I really enjoyed this book! I loved getting a little look at South African culture and this precious Friends to Lovers story about 2 boys of color going to a wedding was top tier! I'll definitely be getting a physical copy for my shelves!
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I enjoyed this book that was incredibly sweet and two boys of color could (mostly) exist and fall in like/love throughout the course of the story. I loved how they connected and clearly saw each other. I honestly wished that the book was a little longer but I appreciated that it was a book that I could be fully present with from beginning to end!
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Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for the arc of this book!

Nate Plus One is a sweet YA romance set against the backdrop of South Africa that explores what it means to move on.

I really enjoyed this book for a few reasons. While this is at its very heart a queer YA romance that may have some of the same tropes/ideals as other queer YA romances, I actually really loved that this took place in South Africa. We see our MC Nate navigate the massive crush he has on his best friend Jai, and we also see him try to come to terms with the way his last relationship ended and the closure he never received. But seeing all this interspersed with visits to the apartheid museum and other places and recognizing the region's fraught history and how it relates to his family was unexpected and welcome. 

Sometimes breakups are their own type of trauma, and Nate's still dealing with the fallout of his previous one despite wanting to move on with Jai. I really loved how this book recognized that it's okay to want answers for yourself and it's okay to not just get over it. People deal in their own ways and in their own time, and the characters in this book were exceedingly mature about that. The romance between Jai and Nate is so sweet and the build-up is worth it. I really loved the side characters too, Nate's family dynamic was super interesting to read.

All in all a nice, quick read for anyone looking for something sweet and not too heavy.
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I will give you top 5 reasons to read this story -

1.  This is queer story comes with such adorable characters. Nate and Jai will make you smile, laugh and go all lovey dovey eyes.

2. It had South African culture and history which I enjoyed knowing about since I haven't read any book set in South Africa.

3. Friends to Lovers trope with a wedding plus one is well written. The romance is sweet.

4. This one is specifically my favourite - this had lyrics and songs which were really good.

5. This is quick and easy to read book with realistic touch to it and had diverse characters. I liked how homophobic attitude was treated and how supportive Nate's Mom and grandmother were.

Overall I totally recommend this one since I liked reading this young adult contemporary romance.
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Thank you so much, NetGalley, Random House's Children and Random House Books for Young Readers, for the chance to read this book in exchange of an honest review.

Nate Hargraves doesn't like spotlight. He prefers writing songs and not singing them, he's more of a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, but when his best friend, and crush, Jai, needs a new singer for his band, he's willing to help. Now, he's ready to fly to South Africa, to visit where his late father lived and to partecipate to his cousin's lavish wedding, but nothing goes as planned. His mother isn't able to go with him, his (secret) ex boyfriend will be there with his new girlfriend and when Jai proposes to go with him and help him buffer against his ex, Nate accepts. What could go wrong in going two weeks in Johannesburg with your own crush?

I loved reading Date me, Bryson Keller, so I was over the moon when NetGalley accepted my request to read Kevin van Whye's new book and I totally loved it!
Nate Plus One has an adorable cover, amazing character and a swoony-worthy rom-com. How could you want more?
I loved this book so much! Nate is such a relatable character in his insecurities, thoughts and feelings and I adored reading his crushing on Jai, freaking out about his ex, loving his mother, discovering things about his father during this trip.
The story is sweet, I loved the mix of love and music, trips and memories and how strong is and becomes Nate and Jai's bond. I absolutely recommend this book! It's funny, joyous and a brilliant read! I devoured it!
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Can we please get more LGBTQ+ books with Black leads please? I feel like most of the books I read with gay characters are white and I'd love to see more diversity. I also appreciated that since this book partly takes place in South Africa, the history of apartheid is addressed and explained pretty well.

This is a cute story, featuring best friends to lovers, a band competition, and a super fancy and fun wedding. I liked the awkward flirting between Nate and Jai and that their relationship had history backing it up. There's the requisite drama scene, but it doesn't go on for too long and leads into a nice happy ending.

There were some parts of this that seemed to happen quickly and we just got a couple sentences explaining what happened instead of seeing things unfold. I would have liked to have this be a bit longer so we could see things play out more. I also thought we didn't know much about the characters and wanted to see their development go deeper.

I thought this was an easy read and got through it pretty quickly. There are fun and sweet moments and I'm always up for a lighthearted story.

I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All opinions are my own. Thank you to Random House Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for the copy.
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This clean YA romance is a quick and easy, feel-good read. Nate and his best friend, Jai, both have a secret crush on each other and it's heart-warming to see how much they care about and support one another. When Jai joins Nate on a trip to Nate's father's homeland, the change of scenery gives them each the freedom to be honest with each other and to take action on their crushes.
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another one that I really loved! I hope I can carry on with these quick reads that I really love. This one was a heartfelt, sweet read about two friends falling in love.

As I’ve said before, I’m just not really a fan of the friends-to-lovers but I think it’s due to how it’s normally written. Luckily it wasn’t the case in Nate Plus One. I very much enjoyed the trope and definitely would’ve liked the book to have been longer. Even if it would just have been more South African things to fill the pages.

Speaking of South African things, I loved seeing all the nods and little things – even if they didn’t come down to Cape Town (I live near Cape Town and I don’t remember Durban very well).

I laughed when they heard ‘robots’ and were very confused because, yes, we do call traffic lights robots. (don’t ask why, I don’t know why). I loved they included a braai (like a barbeque, but just better) but I would have loved the braai to be longer – both as in more written and chronologically longer. It’s a running joke that braais take forever. You could go to a friend’s house at 2pm and only eat the cookd food around 11pm. I’m quite serious 😂.

There was a point where the aunt explained a Hadeda to the boys and I laughed because they’re absolutely awful and I hate them. On another ‘South African note’ the book mentioned Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu can be seen walking around with his wife. Tutu passed away last year, and so did Leah (his wife)… But also we don’t know which year the book is set in so they might still be alive?

The plot was unfortunately a bit over the place and confusing. The synopsis made it seem like there would be fake dating? And even as I read, I kept waiting for them to start up their fake dating agreement, but it never happened?

And when they got to South Africa the plot also fell apart a bit? It’s like it didn’t know what part of the plot to work on. That didn’t deter me from loving the book, so I’m glad about that!

While I loved what we were given, I do think the book would be better if it were longer. Even 50 pages would’ve been very helpful. Either more adventures in South Africa – them eating rusks, them eating biltong. Or even more bonding with Nate’s family (except for the homophobic uncle. YOU, I hope loadshedding hits you at every turn).

I loved the close friendship of Nate and Jai and the way it quickly turned into a sweet relationship! It felt natural, super sweet, like they’ll have cute moments with each other in the future! They also treat each other like equals and that’s a favourite thing of mine to see in relationships.
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ARC copy provided in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changes my rating or review.


Three Minute Thoughts:
This wasn’t as well-written as I expected. The romance was quite sweet, and I liked the individual characters and the brief flirty banter between them, but sections of the book felt quite stilted or disjointed, and the book seemed to dip between showing and telling. Some of the story seemed quite realitic in the stupidity of the teenagers, but other sections seemed a little too ridiculous, and I wasn’t fully captivated by this.

The Extended, Long, and Very-Possibly-Messy Review:
Good things first! Nate Plus One did have some really cute romance, and I did enjoy the relationship that built up between the mains – it was flirty and over the top and romantic and adorable. They were both reasonably well fleshed-out characters, and they had some top-notch flirting that made me giggle, plus who doesn’t love the blatant head-in-sand attitude of a teenager refusing to believe their love may be requited?

“And the more I think about it, even liking Jai Patel was totally accidental. It was totally unavoidable too.”
(This quote may not be in the published version of this novel, it was copied from the advanced reader’s copy.)

There were also a couple side characters who I loved with all my heart and soul – I can’t help but wish we got more of Gemma and Meghan!

“Gemma nudges me with an elbow. ‘That’s what best friends are for. We’re here to inflate egos and bash the competition. Two things I do very well.'”
(This quote may not be in the published version of this novel, it was copied from the advanced reader’s copy.)

Now the less-good things. The writing style seemed to vary between being extremely childish and well-suited to the mind of a teenage boy, and being mature and adult. I feel that if the author had simply stuck to one style or mood it would’ve been much improved – both were perfectly decent styles, I simply didn’t enjoy the constant changes and variation running through the book. I also felt that the timing in the book was a little strange, as there would be long (possibly too long) sections leading up to some important event or other, and then the event would happen incredibly quickly and be over in a whirlwind, which me left scrambling behind, trying to catch up and work out what was going on. All round, I simply felt this book was hasty, and not particularly captivating because of that.

Nonetheless, I definitely did enjoy some aspects of Nate Plus One, and I thank the author, publisher and TBR & Beyond Tours for providing me with a copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Nate Plus One lacked the magic of van Whye's debut "Date Me, Bryson Keller," but it was a pleasant enough read with a fairly straightforward romance, marred by a silly Big Misunderstanding.

High school junior Nate has been crushing on his friend Jai for a while, and then several events take place that make him think the universe wants them to be together. First the vocalist in Jai's band deserts them for a rival group, and Nate becomes the default lead singer. Then his Mom is unable to accompany him to a family wedding in South Africa, so Jai becomes his "plus one." Nate is thrilled, especially because his ex is now dating the bride's best friend. Nate wants to show the guy who ghosted him that he has moved on.

Things progress pretty much the way you would expect. The chapters set in South Africa are interesting for their portrayal of the culture and history. Like Trevor Noah, Nate is bi-racial and "born a crime," although his family left South Africa early in his childhood. He is strongly affected by the trip because it allows him to learn more about his father, who died when Nate was only five years old.

The romance between Nate and Jai was meh. They flirt a lot, they almost kiss a few times, then they admit they have feelings about each other. And then they fall victim to one of the most cliched Big Misunderstandings, and Nate has to make a Grand Gesture to get Jai back. I didn't necessarily feel the love or the heartbreak, but I didn't mind going along for the ride.

ARC received from Net Galley in exchange for an objective review.
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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

Rating: 4/5

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

Pages: 256

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.
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I really enjoyed this book. It’s the kind of book that feels light but makes an impact on your heart, and leaves you feeling like you accomplished something right along with the main characters.

Nathan Hargreaves might be in love with his best friend. Jai is a member of the band Infinite Sorrow, and is everything Nate has ever wanted. So, when the lead singer betrays the band, Nate steps up. And when Nate’s mom isn’t able to go on the trip of a lifetime to Nate’s cousin’s wedding in South Africa, Jai steps up. So the two of them take a two week trip together to visit Nathan’s family, attend the wedding, and hopefully write a new hit song.

The romance in this book is so sweet and fun. Jai and Nate balance each other so well and have good chemistry and communication, and the evolution of their relationship never felt forced and was always enjoyable to follow. A large part of this book is spent with them being domestic and adorable and writing songs together, which made it feel like a comforting read even though it dealt with some heavy topics. 

The different characters in this book were really great. Nathan’s mother and grandmother were both different types of strong and powerful women, which was very nice to see, and overall I found all of the strong female characters in this book to be well written and compelling. Jai and Nate were really the only two male characters who stood out to me, but I truly did like them and their relationship.

This book really flew by for me. It felt like a short book, although I read it online so I couldn’t really tell just how long it was - just what percentage of it I had left. It’s one of those classic YA novels that just feels comfortable and like you could sit on the couch and read it and just feel good. I wouldn’t call it revolutionary, but I enjoyed it!

Huge thanks to NetGalley and to Random House Children’s for sending me an advance copy of this book for review!
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Can we talk about how cute this book was? It was such a fun read and I love for the friends-to-lovers trope (like seriously, I cannot get enough of it🥺). 
     Nate, song-writer with a fear of audiences, volunteers to be the lead singer in his best friend (and crush) Jai’s band. That right there shows how much he loves him. But wait, it gets better! After Nate’s mother is unable to attend a family wedding in South Africa, Jain volunteers and my heart SOARS! Like, you can just imagine to the feelings and the magic that is going to happen on this trip. 
     I loved the setting of this book. I don’t think I’ve read many YA books that take place in South Africa but I really have to change that. The author perfectly illustrates the landscape, variety of scenes, languages, and people, oh and let’s not forget the usual tourist attractions that safari rides. 
      There is one thing that I would’ve loved a tad more information on, which is the bits that would provide more connection to the characters but then it wasn’t really mentioned again. For example, Nate is a history buff (I mean, so am I so l really liked this!) But it was only really mentioned in the one chapter😕 
      Overall I really enjoyed this read. It’s about overcoming your family’s judgements, move on in your life, and learning to take what you deserve. Oh, and let’s throw in a once-in-a-lifetime trip to wrap it all up? Yes please!
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