Cover Image: Nate Plus One

Nate Plus One

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Member Reviews

4.5 stars rounded up

This was very cute gay friends to lovers romance! And a TRUE YA romance, not just a contemporary with a romantic subplot! (which is surprisingly hard to find)

Nate is a talented singer with stage-fright who is excited to attend his cousin's glamorous wedding in South Africa. But this will be the first time he sees that side of his family since coming out as gay. And then he finds out that his secret ex-boyfriend will be there too.

Jai is part of a successful indie rock band and Nate's best friend. When their lead singer bails right before a big competition, Nate offers to fill in and Jai offers to come to the wedding as a plus one to provide buffer with the ex. But Nate is secretly crushing on Jai and the feeling just might be mutual...

I really enjoyed this and loved how much it got into South African culture and history as well. The author is a biracial gay man from South Africa and you can see how that experience is woven into the story. The book touches on apartheid and how recent it really is among other things. There are some instances of homophobia though most of Nate's family is supportive and accepting of who he is. The book is also very sex-positive. While anything beyond kissing happens off page, it is clearly stated that condoms were used. Overall a great book! Definitely would recommend. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.
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When Jai's band loses their singer to a rival group, Nate steps in to help Jai win Battle of Bands. And when Nate needs a plus one to his cousin's wedding in South Africa, Jai volunteers.

Through their trip abroad and collaborating on the new song, the distance from home brings them closer together. Nate can't believe Jai, one of his best friends and a super talented guitarist, would like him back. But it's clear that Jai has feelings too. Jai's confident enough to pursue the relationship, but hurdles appear when it seems Nate has unresolved feelings about his secret-ex-boyfriend. 

I loved the bisexual representation, which was discussed positively in the book. I found Nate and Jai's relationship very endearing, while also modeling healthy levels of respect, communication, and boundaries.
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Thank you Netgalley for the e-ARC!

This was a cute romance with lovable characters! It had my favorite trope best friends to lovers which made me love it more!
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A huge thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book!
If you want a fast-paced, YA novel with a gay main character and bi love interest, this is the book for you! I flew through this book, partially because the chapters are short and the syntax is quick, but also because the plot never stops driving forward. Nate is a lovable character, and I wanted him to succeed in all of his dreams for the future. Jai is an interested love interest, with hopes and dreams of his own, and it is definitely a nice change of pace to have Nate's ex Tommy play a larger role in the book.
Both Nate and Jai are mixed race, which also plays a large part of the novel as they travel to South Africa to visit Nate's father's hometown for a family wedding. Van Whye layers in the history of apartheid that is not typically taught in American public schools, along with many cultural customs in South Africa. The book made me want to do some more research on the cultural differences that were brought up. I also loved that music played such a large part of both Nate and Jai's lives, though they both came to it differently.
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Needed a distraction from my anxiety, and this was a good fit. It was a very quick read, with a cute romance, and I loved seeing Nate go on a trip to South-Africa, to see his father's family. I was however hoping that music would play a bigger part in this book - it mostly took a backseat when the synopsis suggested otherwise. Also, I felt like the story was a little underdeveloped and I would have liked it to be fleshed out more.
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This book was absolutely fantastic. I've already added it to our list for order this year and will recommend it to students.
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I loved Nate Plus One! This is a great YA LGBTQ romcom. Nate is a dynamic main character, I loved watching his relationship with Jai develop. And I got to learn a few things about South Africa along the way! Will keep this one on the shelf for sure.
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This was fun, sweet, gave me all the feels, etc! It has best friends to lovers, one of my favorite tropes ever, and was done really well in my opinion. The plot was predictable as romances often are, but still so much fun to read. I finished the entire book in about 2 hours. 

Not a ton of character depth for any of the characters in the story which is why I was able to tear through it so fast, but I had a good time. I definitely wouldn't rate this book anywhere in the 5 star range due to this fact, but I think as far as YA romance goes this is a pretty good edition to the collection.
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*2.5ish rounded down
This book was just really lacking for me. I’ve read Kevin van Whye’s debut, and it was just significantly better than this one. This book is great in the sense that it’s about a teenager getting to explore his sexuality and his roots, but I didn’t love it otherwise. It really just seemed aggressively mediocre. The writing was really stilted to me and while it was fast, there was barely any conflict. This seemed more like a fanfic where the writer wanted to ditch it twenty-five chapters into a projected forty chapters so they stopped after thirty.
I didn’t hate this book, I just don’t really have any positive opinions on it. It’s readable, which is good, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. There’s some LGBTQ+ and BIPOC representation, which is great. Otherwise, it didn’t stick out at all from other books for me.
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A fun and light love story! Nate and Jai are sweethearts and I loved their story. The writing is simple but good, works really well. The South Africa setting was amazing and I enjoyed traveling with the characters. If you want a quick read, I totally recommend it!
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I got this earc from NetGalley there opinions are my own. I’ve been excited to read this ever since I read Date Me, Bryson Keller, which I loved! That’s actually the book that got me started on reading LGBTQ+ contemporary novels! And I was not disappointed by Nate Plus One! Nate is traveling to South Africa for his cousins wedding, the only problem is that is ex boyfriend will be at the wedding and his mom can’t go. Enter his best friend Jai who agrees to accompany him, but will this complicate Nate’s secret romantic feelings for Jai? On top of that Nate has joined Jai’s band as the lead singer but with his stage fright can he sing? I loved Nate and Jai and the book also had an amazing cast of supporting characters! Kevin wan Whye always creates realistic situations for the protagonist that really makes the reader relate! Nate’s meeting a bunch of his family for the first time since coming out, the nervousness and dreaded anticipation that comes with that is depicted really well! I also enjoyed that there is some history touched on in this book, as an American we don’t get a lot of history of other countries so it was interesting to briefly learn a little bit more. It is one of those endings that leaves you with a question, all the main points are wrapped up, but I’m not big on any ambiguity in the books I read! Though I will say that it makes sense in the context of Nate Plus One! This was an excellent book and I highly recommend it! I can’t wait to read it again when it comes out!
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Actual rating 3.5 stars.

Nate Plus One is a sweet and cute feel-good story for all of us who need some hours of distraction and love a best friends to lovers trope.

When I started reading Nate Plus One, I was confused. Simply because I read the blurb wrong. For those of you who might do the same thing, this story is about Nate, who has a crush on his best friend Jai, and at the same time, he still needs closure with his ex-boyfriend. I thought Jai was the ex-boyfriend … I thought Jai was in one band and Nate in the other … Wrong, so wrong.

Nate Plus One is very easily readable and a book to read in one or a few sittings. The writing is engaging, and those two boys were adorable together. It was palpable that they liked each other a lot from the first moment, and I rooted for them to kiss finally.

Whereas I misunderstood the blurb, it’s also a bit misleading, in my opinion. It talks of two boys. Two bands. Two worlds colliding. Yes, there are two boys. And somewhere far, far in the background, two bands are competing. But two worlds colliding? This probably points to the differences between Nate’s life in the US and his family’s life in South Africa. Kevin van Whye shows us his love for his home country, and I genuinely appreciate that. I loved reading about the South African way of life and how Kevin interwove apartheid into this story. Really well done! But somewhere in my mind, something kept gnawing. Because next to the chapter about apartheid, we only get to look at the richer part of the people. The very rich part! I think it’s a missed opportunity not to show us other aspects, the rougher, poorer parts of South Africa, the high HIV infection grade.

I also wanted to know more about Jai. I’d have loved to read his point of view, too, because I think his character is a bit underdeveloped and too one-dimensional. He’s sweet, he’s nice, and that’s about it.

Despite my criticism, I really enjoyed this book, and that’s why I rounded my rating up instead of down. Like I said, this is a feel-good story, above all. Read it when you want to relax with the spring sun on your face, or in South Africa with the fall sun when it comes out in May!

My review will be published on 26 May 2022 on Goodreads and Instagram.
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Thank you so much, Random House Children’s, for allowing me to read Nathan Plus One early.

I loved Date Me, Bryson Keller, and couldn't wait to get my hands on Kevin van Whye's sophomore. Like his debut novel, Nate Plus One is such a lighthearted and cute story, and I embraced those guys with all my heart. Nate was such a delightful character, and Jai was a cute cinnamon roll. I could feel Nate and Jai’s attraction to each other throughout the book, and the moment they finally admitted their feelings for each other was so precious. A lovely book that I will enthusiastically recommend to students.
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Nate Plus One follows Nate, a high school junior, who is excited to spend the first two weeks of his summer with his family in South Africa for the wedding of his cousin. Before the events of the novel, Nate had never been to South Africa and he is excited for the wedding so that he can connect with his deceased father and the family that lives there. The only hitch in this comes when he finds out that his ex-boyfriend who ghosted him will also be attending. When this happens, Nate's best friend (and current crush) Jai volunteers to accompany him and the two begin to tackle their respective feelings for each other over the course of the trip. 

Having loved Date Me, Bryson Keller, I was so excited to read Nate Plus One and for the most part it did not disappoint. Nate is instantly lovable and his relationships with his mother, best friend Gemma, and Jai all feel well developed and sweet. I especially loved following Nate as he connected with the memory of his father and the history of South Africa. The one thing I missed out on was Jai's point of view and emotions throughout a lot of the book. You get glimpses here and there but mostly Jai serves to be the ideal love interest without any faults of his own. I think that if we got more of Jai's POV, the story might have resonated more. 

Also there is a subplot involving a battle of the bands and Nate's stage fright that gets somewhat forgotten, which was a bit of a shame. But overall, I really enjoyed Nate Plus One!

ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This book was amazing! Nate, our narrator and main character, is going to South Africa for his (favorite & only first) cousin's wedding, but his excitement dims when he finds out that his ex who ghosted is going to be there. Enter best friend (and secret crush) Jai. Jai agrees to be Nate's plus one after Nate offers to overcome stage fright and become the lead singer of Jai's band: Infinite Sorrow. 

First off, I really wish Infinite Sorrow was real. These fictional bands are really too good to not be real. Second, I loved Nate, Jai, and Gemma's friendship! This trio is really awesome! And I would be remiss if I didn't talk about how great Jai and Nate's relationship is! Even at the beginning, it's clear that these two are something more than friends and it was great seeing their relationship develop.  

Also, this book also shows some love to the character's parents! Part of Nate's desire to go to South Africa is because he wants to learn more about his father, who tragically passed away when he was 5. I really loved the parts of this story with Nate's grandmother, Ouma Lettie! Honestly, she kind of stole the show. Nate's mom is also very present; she calls him and messages him a lot. And I just love their relationship! Even Jai's mom and sisters play roles. I'm just really excited when the main character's family is supportive and present.

While there are some parts that crush you, Nate Plus One is a charming rom-com that'll sweep you off your feet!

Special Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for the eARC of Nate Plus One! I really appreciate it!

TW/CW: racism, homophobia

Note: Review will be posted closer to release date.
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